Prostate cancer patient Willie was diagnosed in 2021 at the age of 65. Watch as he shares his prostate cancer story from diagnosis to how he’s doing today, his experience with a patient navigator and a clinical trial, and his advice to both Black men and to all others with prostate cancer.
My name is Willie. I’m 65 years old. In 2021, I found out that I had prostate cancer.
I would like to explain about the experiment that I went through in prostate cancer. Some that was, I was afraid of because that word cancer and that word to me, out of all my life, I done heard that, all I thought about was death. It kills you. You’re not going to live. And I was trying to find out where and how I got cancer, and I didn’t get no idea until I was able to sit down, talk with my navigator and what procedure I would have to go do in order to help me with my cancer. So they gave me some choices. One I didn’t like because I had to be hung upside down for four hours, and I didn’t think I can do anything like that at my age. And next, they told me cancer, radiation, and I was scared of that because it was like burning fire. And I had seen other people how it done them and their skin, and it put fear in me. So, I decided to go and talk to my doctor.
I want to be healthy. And when I started my cancer treatment, it was the scariest move. When they put a gown on me and laid me on that bed, they put these machines on me, and I had to lay there, and they mark me where they want to set it up, or where the cancer was at, they’re going to do the radiation. I didn’t understand it. I really needed help in my house, I was so sick, I own a bed, it’s a pull-out bed out of my couch. So I went to a bag, a bean bag to be able to lay on each and every day I was just under that much pain, and it was miserable to me, and I kept on working on it. I didn’t want my hair to be falling out. I didn’t want my body to be deformed all that was on my mind, and I decided to go and do this radiation. And now I can tell anybody I know it’s scary, I have experienced it, but it’s really after you get done with it, you’ll be so happy that it makes you feel like you were one time before, you’re back to your normal, you’re you.
My reason to take the clinical trial, because I had fear in me about prostate cancer, and I did not know where and what it would be like of carrying this. So I had in my mind that I wasn’t going to do it. I couldn’t sleep at night. You know one…and how is it going to, how is this cancer going to hit me? I’m laying in the bed, “What’s it going to do? What should I do? How should I sleep to keep from worrying about me and this cancer?” I’m running back and forth to the bathroom, couldn’t eat and appetite gone and I got to the point, I’m going and take this test. So I called the navigator and he and I discussed this, and he convinced me.
A clinical trial to me is the work of getting you with your prostate taken care of. I experienced a lot of goodness after I realized what this was really about. The clinical trial, it really made me happy to be a part of it because I just didn’t believe that after learning about that word cancer, I’d feel good. I’d feel like I ain’t got the cancer, and that’s what that clinical experience showed me, and made me feel like. So, I’m happy with it.
My advice to men, especially Black men, I advise them to check themself, your whole body, you need your health taken care of, if you want to be able to be out here and live with this prostate cancer. One thing I do know about Black men, they are afraid when it comes to taking care of themself as though they can look in the mirror and see all about themself and tell you whether there’s something wrong or not, but you can’t do that. I advise all men, not just only Black to take time out, talk to your provider. A lot of us got it, and we don’t even know we are carrying this around with us, but you like to go out and have fun, smoke your cigarettes, drink and do all your partying, but you’re still carrying that death weight on you. We don’t need that cancer, prostate. And I would advise all men, take time out and check yourself out, because it’s a good thing in life to do as being…want to be here on earth amongst other good men. And I would like to say, please do this, I’m a living witness.
Look at me. I feel just the way I look and I’m serious to tell you to take that time out for yourself.