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7, 17, 2024
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Each man's Journey is listed under his BASIC treatment. When you click on one of the names to read a particular Journey, you may see one or more different treatments in bold lettering immediately above the Journey text. You will see (Recurrence) if they are due to a recurrence. Otherwise, they will be treatments used in conjunction with the basic treatment, i.e. Lupron with External Beam Radiation or External Beam Radiation with HDRT/Brachytherapy, etc.

Active Surveillance
Gary Sanders
Len Lindstrom

Alternative (Natural) Therapy
Allen Titmus

Cryoablation - Freezing
Paul Niblock

Hormone Therapy
Arthur Case
Duke Best
Fred Thorngate
Guy Waller
Rick Lopez
Rommie Overton

Radiation - Brachytherapy
Denny Shields
Wayne Miller

Radiation - External Beam
Armand Chichmanian
Jim Wilkinson
Joe Henderson
Lance Stoddard
Rich Gordon
Rick Dancer
Rommie Overton
Tom Wilson
Warren Davidson

Radiation - HDRT
Clint Sherburne

Surgery - Open
Anonymous Part 1
Anonymous Part 2
Bob Hefty
Bob Horney
Bob Thorp
Debbie Daugherty
Jim Buch
Joel Peterson
Tim Daugherty

Surgery - Robotic
Anonymous 2, Part 1
Anonymous 2
Bill Force
Bob Peters
Christopher (Christo) Schwartz
Lowell Bublavi
Ray Barba
Roger Straus

Rommie Overton

My name is Rommie Overton and my wife, Laurie, will relate my Prostate Cancer Journey.
At Rommie's scheduled routine physical in June 2009, his doctor wanted him to get a PSA test because he was over 50. Of course, that has now changed as of April 2009, with the American Urological Association recommending men get a baseline PSA/DRE at age 40. Well, Rommie's PSA came back at 5.0. With the elevated PSA for his age, he was referred to a urologist for further examination. When the urologist performed the DRE, he told us Rommie had a slightly enlarged prostate, but nothing unusual for his age. Just to err on the side of caution, the urologist wanted Rommie to have a biopsy. Those results came back completely negative. The doctor put Rommie on Avodart to reduce the size of his prostate. It would also reduce his PSA by half. Rommie was told, "Everything looked good and he didn't need to come back for another 9 months." Ironically, the doctor also mentioned how great it was that Rommie wasn't having any of the typical urination or sexual dysfunction problems associated with many men at his age. We both felt good about the results and all of the information, never giving it another thought.
Through those nine months, there were never any symptoms. He was feeling great, nothing at all out of the ordinary. One day we remembered to make an appointment to go back to the urologist. Instead of 9 months, it was now June 2010, twelve months later. The receptionist told us the doctor wanted another PSA taken prior to his appointment so they could discuss the results when they met. We always go to doctor appointments together, so this appointment was no different, we were both there. The urologist came in and told us that the PSA reading had doubled, even with taking the Avodart. Rommie asked him, "What could be the reason for that?" The doctor looked at Rommie and said, "Cancer." He scheduled Rommie for his second biopsy.
We called the doctor on July 2nd, because it had been almost two weeks since the biopsy and we couldn't imagine going through the 4th without some word. He told my husband that they DID find cancer in his prostate and now he needed to get a CT and an MRI to find out if it had spread outside the prostate.
On July 6th, we were told the doctor had ordered a full Body Bone Scan (with dye) and a CT of the pelvis and abdomen, (without contrast). We rescheduled our appointment to discuss what to do next, because his X-ray results wouldn't be available until later the following week.
The first thing our doctor told us after we sat down to talk at our July 15th appointment was that Rommie had a very aggressive, fast growing cancer. This time, of the 12 core samples taken, all 6 on the left side of his prostate were completely cancerous with a high Gleason Score of 8. All I thought was, how did this go from being totally clear nine months ago to half of the biopsy now being full of cancer!? He went on to tell us that he wanted to start treatment in one week. He showed us the pathologist's report and gave us our copy, too. He told us that his MRI and the CT came back great, no cancer found in the bones, yet.
Yeah...this hit us both like a bolt of lightening. All I could think of was my husband's poor body. When did cancer decide to attack?
After the results from Rommie's second biopsy, the urologist told us that surgery should not be the preferred option, because he couldn't be absolutely certain that all the cancer was contained within the capsule. He told us if a cell has escaped, Rommie would need radiation on top of that invasive and expensive surgery. He felt it was best that he went on hormone therapy (Lupron) followed by external beam radiation and continue on Lupron for a combined period of two years. Then, after that, we would see if "we beat the cancer." His words were, "This is the best choice, given your situation, stage and grade of cancer."
Rommie had a 3 month shot of Lupron which was followed by 43 treatments of radiation. He has been on hormone therapy ever since. It has been over a year now that we started this wild journey with Rommie's prostate cancer.
I don't know if this is just me, but why do so many doctors fail to reveal ALL the possible side effects of hormone therapy? This should have been thoroughly discussed with us before Rommie began the treatment. With Rommie's Gleason 8, stage 3 diagnosis, we do believe the hormone therapy and radiation was his best choice. But, it would have been nice to have the side effects REALLY explained to us. I feel so badly for my guy. He still cracks jokes and has a full range of emotions (greatly enhanced by Lupron), but this is a transformation few men, or doctors really seem to talk about. We don't have access to a local prostate cancer education/support group where we could talk with men dealing with similar treatments, so I have spent time online at, an Us TOO International sponsored site, looking for information from men who have traveled Rommie's path. The response has made it clear that Rommie isn't the only man who suffers greatly from this treatment. Bob Horney, with Us TOO Florence, as told me he has a couple men on Lupron who are also at the point of stopping it to regain some "quality of life."
Hot flashes, increased appetite, mood swings, enlarged breasts are some of the side effects and yet there are many more. We have also found that the side effects have increased over time and were unprepared for that. This is especially tough after being told that he would have very few symptoms and they would be "very manageable." Just knowing that was a possibility before he started the treatment would have prepared us for the extreme changes we have encountered.
Lately I have noticed Rommie's memory is slipping, a problem he has never had before. He also seems to have chronic fatigue symptoms and seems to struggle with a loss of self esteem. Our kids have also been most concerned with these changes in Rommie. They are actually shocked to see the drastic difference in him from before. They, too, feel so frustrated with all the chemicals and treatments that have left him "worse off than before."
Rommie's body has been radically altered, all in the name of treatment, hoping to keep his cancer "at bay." There isn't enough quality of life left to convince us that this is the best treatment plan anymore. It has way too many negatives to live a better life. We feel we need to take a much needed break from all of the doctors, clinics and chemicals, at least for now.
Although his hormone therapy devastated him, as you have already read, Rommie never once complained.
But finally, toward the end of May, 2011, he came to me one night, riddled with some guilt and feeling a bit selfish, and said, "Let's talk about something important." After 43 rounds of radiation and in the last phases of ADT and witnessing too many side effects and changes to his person, I was prepared for anything. Rommie told me, "it's time to stop the shots; I can't do it anymore, honey."
I just sat there and listened. He went on to say, "...whatever the first shot did to keep my prostate small and prepare me for the radiation, probably did the best job it could. I think I have been zapped enough, for now." He explained, "I feel like I have morphed into something, someone that I don't know...something that doesn't feel good, that keeps shouting for the real guy to come back." He said, "I have been zapped, fried, targeted, and tattoo-ed. I have grown larger breasts than our daughters and my hot flashes rival all of your friends. I have coped with depression, taken the medication and still fall to my knees with a despairing feeling of remorse. I get foggy headed over nothing, and can't remember why because of the memory loss."
By that point, my tears started streaming down my cheeks. He held my hand and looked at me, really looked AT me and said, "I want, no I need, to live my life with you and for US, again, the best way I can, without the rest of these chemicals that deter me from living a better life." It's not that he doesn't believe in medicine, and its great power to heal, it's just that he believes in a chance to live a better life right now.
He asked, "Is it selfish of me to want myself back again?" He asked me if I would support this decision and still love him. I am his wife, partner, lover and friend. The quality of life for my husband and thousands of others, hanging on a thread of hope, promise, uncertainty, or faith in miracles is not for me to judge, but to pray and support their own decisions about their healthcare. I believe in greatness, and I have tremendous faith and hope that good will prevail. I am the glass half full person, and my husband has always been a believer of the glass half empty. So when Rommie decided to live his life with a "full glass" I cried for his courage, bravery and moment of reckoning. Men know their numbers, and that's what got to him after a while: Gleason 8, stage 3...he said "I am much more than that."
Rommie was already scheduled for his June Lupron shot and kept going back to the same conversation with me bout his fears, guilt and apprehension about continuing with the Lupron. We read as much as possible about the hormone therapy. We also went to the sites of chemistry and pharmacology, to better understand the whole picture. That's when he realized it wasn't a cure for him. Rommie was now ready to make the final decision and he felt strongly that changing his diet, biking, exercising more and being happier would bring him more joy and a healthier and stronger immune system, and of course, the quality to his life that he was so desperately missing.
Rommie's final Lupron shot was June, 2011. Though he had a couple weeks where he was riddled with guilt about discontinuing something that we were told could "help" prolong his life and keep the cancer "at bay," it is such a joy to see him happy and free from most of those debilitating symptoms. He is at peace with that decision, and for that, I am so proud of him!
Will this new attitude beat his cancer any better than continued treatment? Who really knows? But, what we do know is it will improve his chances to be happier, more productive, and live a more fulfilling life. He knows what is most important, and I support this great guy, for being true to his feelings.
I just wanted to share this to let others know they aren't alone with these thoughts. We don't recommend this decision for anyone else. This is what Rommie has decided for his own health and for our lives together. He wants to breathe in life every day and live it the best way he chooses. He says he feels so "free" for taking back his life again.
Now this update from Laurie (May 2012): Rommie is driving an 18 wheeler now for the post office, and so far, he is feeling very good. When he was on his hormone therapy and worked a full time job for GE, he was hurting all the time…aches, sluggish immune system, foggy headed, depressed, you know that story. He just struggled every day from the side effects of hormone therapy. Now he can't believe he landed this job, being older and all. He tells me, "I might not be jumping up to that cab like I could 5 or 10 years ago, but I'm doing it."
Rommie isn't on any prescriptions right now, he only takes Motrin for occasional aches and pains and, of course, all the vitamins he has always been taking.
He feels more positive and still stands by his decision to handle his cancer the way we are right now. Will that change down the road? Well, as all of our prostate cancer peers know all too well, tomorrow is another day. We can't predict too far into the future and really try to take this journey the way we always have: day by day.
And, for those who are wondering, yes, our intimacy has returned on a very (lol) regular basis. We have been asked by many people, "Don't you want the doctor's constant supervision? Don't you want to know if his cancer has gone farther, perhaps to the bones? Don't you want regular PSA tests?
Right now, our answer is, "NO." He has a dear friend who tallies all the numbers every day, or every week, and watches like a hawk, getting tested all the time. Rommie's theory is pretty basic. He says, "I can't live like that, wondering with every breath I take, have I beaten the odds or have the odds beaten me?"
He spoke with this friend, whom we love so much, and told him, "I need to live as if I am well, and I don't want to worry about what new place in my body my cancer wants to invade. So, I say to my cancer, you are just a visitor, but I LIVE here." I love that!
We don't recommend this decision for anyone else. It is what Rommie has decided, with my wholehearted support, for our lives together. Copyright © 2010 - 2024