by Tom and Janeice Rodman
Our opinion for years has been, "if it's free, it's for me."
But when it came to free clinics, check-ups, or anything connected with medical, we chose to see our own doctor and get his valued opinion. That all changed in September 1998.
The Payson Roundup had an advertisement telling of a free prostate clinic to be held at Payson Regional Medical Center. With Tom's age, being a little over 60, and the fact that a doctor during a check up a year or two earlier had felt something unusual, I decided to make him an appointment.
Next problem was how to convince him to keep the appointment.
I had shown him the ad and stated that I thought it would be a good idea. Several days passed, then he decided that maybe I should call and make him an appointment. Heh, heh, I already had!
That decision to make the appointment and, better yet, keep the appointment, may have saved his life, or at least saved having to go through the experience of prostate surgery, chemotherapy and a miserable experience.
At the free clinic, the doctor felt something unusual (and later a biopsy was taken).
Waiting for the biopsy results was almost like watching paint dry. Finally, we got the long-awaited, almost dreaded call. It was malignant.
Tom was given four choices. He chose what they call external-beam radiation, which consists of a series of radiation treatments every day, five days a week for eight weeks. Tom's only concern was scheduling, so he wouldn't miss coffee with the 'boys' every morning.
The coffee every morning with the boys actually was a blessing, as he was to drink at least one quart of fluid and hold it before he had his treatment. No problem. Ask any waitress in Tonto Basin. Those boys can hold their coffee.
After the treatments were over, we settled into a busy routine that never let up. All of a sudden it was time for him to go back for his three-month checkup. Then we got nervous all over again.
The doctor said the tumor had shrunk considerably. In three months he will have another check-up and hopefully the tumor will have shrunk more. There are no guarantees, but life itself holds no guarantees. Only our faith holds the guarantees.
The whole point of this is that the free clinic proved to be the most valuable gift we have ever received. There is no way we can emphasize the importance of men taking advantage of this service or any free clinic available. For us, it possibly saved Tom's life, or, at the very least, a miserable experience. Please, for your own peace of mind, and possibly your life, get your checkups.
Tom's prostate cancer was evidently in the beginning stages, the best place to catch it. Treatment is available and so are those simple tests.
Editor's note: Free prostate screenings are being held this Saturday at Payson Regional Medical Center. Call 474-5729 for more information.