“Making the Team!

A Very Important Goal for an Old Player: Phil Rognier

Throughout my life I have always tried to make the team: no matter the sport, the job, the relationship, etc. My competitive spirit has driven me to do my best and be on the team…be a starter on the First Team! I have never just wanted to make the team but to be in on every “play” and contribute to the best of my ability. If not a starter, then I have always driven myself to work harder, persevere, and not quit! I was taught that life is a meritocracy and if you do not get what you want, then you work harder…you do not quit and whine that “life is not fair”!

Having just endured the “threat” of prostate cancer, I am proud to say that I have made the first “cut” in trying to make the most important team of my life, the Cancer Survivor Team(CST)! I recently had robotic surgery to remove the disease and now do not care if I make the First Team, I just want to make it on the CST. I am aware that the drills are tough as are the practices, BUT I am willing to be a role player, bench warmer, etc as long as I can “wear the uny” and be on the team for a very loooooong time! After the mental adjustment to the reality of having cancer, I have worked hard to put it aside and deal with it as another of those “life is one damn thing after another!” things. Again, “what is, is” and it is just best to take my energy and passion, and “get back in the game”. I will do anything to make the CST, even eating some foods not regularly found in my past diet, and pay closer attention to proper exercises to strengthen my body! I want to be a viable member of this team and also help others who wish to fight and make the team.

I feel very fortunate in early detection as I had NONE of the signs usually indicative of prostate cancer. I did not experience any discomfort urinating, any excessive urination(to include going in the night), my PSA was stable and the same for the past 5+ years, and had none of the other “warnings” listed in the prostate guides or espoused on TV/other media!! My cancer was discovered after being given a clean bill of health following my yearly physical. I walked out of the doctor’s office that day and went, “Yeah! I have made it another year without any indicators of the Big C!” Not so fast! Less than a month later I had spotty blood in my semen and revisited my doctor. She insisted that I see an urologist as she felt it was good idea albeit, I had NO other symptoms! You know the rest of the story: a few tests, a “fun” digital, then boom, biopsy and then the news of a 6 Gleason and time to make a decision: live with it or take it out! Duh? No brainer! Hence, the removal by the robot and now, the attempt to make and be an active member on the Cancer Survivor Team for years to come!!

I wish to THANK all those who sent emails, cards, gifts, books, and prayers to provide the emotional comfort zone needed when being faced with one’s mortality. My family has been unbelievable as have been some very special players already on the Cancer Survivor Team: Tony, Dick, Gene, Lou, Wellsey, Jon C, and Loren! Each one of these “team members” has been selfless in providing data and guidance throughout my last three months of “activities”! Also, Sydd, Chris, and Paul Q provided support and many insights that provided me with a solid base as to what I should do in regards to medical choices and other logistical decisions. With all my heart, I wish to thank Dr. Joel Lilly(my surgeon), Dr. Pelman and Dr. Takayama(Bellevue Urology), Dr. Mittal(her intuition saved me), and Dr. Scott Swanson(Mayo Clinic).
So many people rallied to help me in my time of need to include nurses, FirstSwing and Klouter team members, etal…THANK YOU One and all!!!

I implore all of you who have thus far “dodged” the proverbial bullet to have regular checkups and do be proactive in watching your numbers and symptoms! The most important thing that I learned is that the PSA number is not the sole indicator and is really only a potential warning light! You MUST have a yearly physical, the “fun” digital, and do everything you can to detect the odious disease.
As is constantly advertised, almost every male will get prostrate cancer sometime…do not be remiss and have it take away the opportunity to make the CST!!! GAGPTH! Phil

Some NEVERS I learned from my experience thus far:

  1. NEVER ask a surgeon if you need an operation!
  2. NEVER forget to take your daily dose of stool softener.
  3. NEVER “high 5” right after surgery!
  4. NEVER run with a catheter!
  5. NEVER rely on your PSA score but “do the digital” each year!!
  6. NEVER, never, never, never……..QUIT!!!!!