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Behind the Headlines-14

Us TOO FLORENCE - BEHIND THE HEADLINES
BY BOB HORNEY - PROSTATE CANCER SURVIVOR - Us TOO CHAPTER LEADER
(Published September 10, 2014, The Siuslaw News)

September is here, meaning it is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and, thanks to Mayor Nola Xavier's Proclamation, it is also Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in the City of Florence.
This is the perfect time to devote this space to a very special and courageous couple - the late Tim Daugherty and his wife Debbie. Tim was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May 2010 at the age of 52. He passed away from metastatic prostate cancer on August 21, 2014.
What Tim and Debbie shared with this community between those two dates should send a powerful message to men and their families in Florence. From September 2012 to April 2013, this courageous couple shared their metastatic prostate cancer journey with our community in the Siuslaw News (My Prostate Cancer Journey), on the www.ustooflorence.org website and in 3-ring binders (Personal Prostate Cancer Journeys) in about 20 locations throughout Florence. Their Journey remains available on the website and in the binders.
Tim and Debbie shone a very bright light on the very dark side of the disease by opening up their lives to the entire community. They hoped their experiences would help others who are dealing with metastatic prostate cancer and encourage men to be proactive in getting a baseline PSA test.
Tim and Debbie attended the Us TOO Florence meetings from July 2010 to July 2014, sharing their experiences as part of exchanging information with other members in the group. Even when their news wasn't what they (and we) wanted, there was still a sense of optimism and never a hint of giving up. Having Tim's urologist, Dr. Bryan Mehlhaff, present to share the medical aspect of Tim's treatment was a huge bonus. We knew on a monthly basis the treatments Tim had received, the success or lack of success of those treatments, how he dealt with potential side effects of those treatments and what Dr. Mehlhaff had lined up next in his efforts to stop the cancer.
Tim encouraged men to be proactive in his April 2013 Journey, "I would recommend to every man listening to those nay-sayers of PSA screening, to hook up with a urologist at Oregon Urology Institute (OUI) so you don't end up like me - depending on new treatments because I was diagnosed with advanced disease (at age 52). Detect it early, get cured and get on with your life."
Us TOO Florence supports the baseline PSA test at age 40 as recommended by Johns Hopkins Urologist Patrick Walsh. He likes that age because the man is young enough that his PSA number should be a true number unaffected by prostate issues of older men.
Prostate cancer needs to be detected while we feel as if nothing is wrong - young, vibrant, strong as an ox - asymptomatic. As Tim said about himself, "I had always been healthy and, like many, I rarely saw a doctor." Prostate cancer certainly wasn't a concern. Urologists have learned that if a man's PSA is above the median for his age,
(0.6 ng/ml for 40-49 age group), he is at higher risk for future prostate cancer and bears increased scrutiny. This risk continues even 20 plus years in the future and is life saving information in the hands of urologists.
We owe Tim a tremendous debt of gratitude for taking us along on his prostate cancer journey even as hope was fading. Debbie was an amazing pillar of strength and support throughout their Journey. Seeing Tim and Debbie join us at our meetings added a sense of completeness - they were a vital part of our Us TOO Florence Family. We REALLY cared about them!
Finally, in his April 2013 Journey, Tim had these words... "As I wrap up my Journey to this point, I want to emphasize how much I appreciated the personal care and compassion Dr. Mehlhaff has shown Debbie and me. He has always been 'right there' for us - thinking ahead - having the next step in his long-term plan for me always at the ready."
Men, you can make sure Tim's Journey wasn't in vain by following his advice and getting that all important baseline PSA test at age 40 or soon thereafter. If you want more information, I invite you to attend an Us TOO Florence meeting. We have two meetings each month - the second Tuesday at the Presbyterian Church of the Siuslaw from 5:00 - 7:00 with Dr. Bryan Mehlhaff and the third Tuesday at the Kozy Kitchen Restaurant from noon - 1:00 with Dr. Doug Hoff. You may also call me (541-997-6626) or email me (maribob@oregonfast.net).

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