There are always trade-offs in life.
It’s been one of Jay Morgan’s favorite sayings, but it resonates now more than ever.
He can’t do all the things he used to enjoy doing, like running a 5K at age 70 in under 30 minutes. He still runs 5Ks, it just takes him 45 minutes now. But he’s alive and well after a stage four, terminal cancer diagnosis last year – a trade-off he’s happy to have made.
What started as routine blood work for a renewal of a life insurance policy quickly turned into a series of events that forever changed his life.
PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, is a test used to determine the health of the prostate gland. Ten years ago, Jay had the test done and his numbers were around 4, Jay recalls. “Not bad for someone who was 61, I thought,” he said.
He’d been offered to have the test repeated at checkups over the years, but declined.
“Not because I was scared,” Jay said. “Pretty much just the opposite. I was pretty active, lifting weights, running 36 5Ks each year. My feeling was that I was sort of invincible and that I wouldn’t have to worry about something like prostate cancer.”
After a standard visit from a nurse from the insurance company to collect health results for his renewal policy, he received a report that said all his various functions were great, but his PSA numbers were off the chart.
“At first I was really irritated,” Jay remembers, after reading the letter that said the company only rejects about four percent of applicants. “I thought, show me someone who is 70 years old and in better shape than I am and I’ll get their autograph.”
Jay took action and scheduled an appointment with his family doctor where he was told his PSA results were “phenomenally high” and he was recommended to a urologist, Dr. Key at Dayton Physicians Network.
Dr. Key conducted more work and the results were the same – extremely high levels of PSA in his blood. In fact, he went from a reading of 4.16 to 437 – no decimal points – in just ten years.
At one point, before Jay knew his numbers, he had asked what PSA reading would be considered dangerous. That number was 20.
It didn’t take long for Jay, a career trained mathematician, to understand that his reading was more than 202 of the number considered serious.
“He looked at me like he was the grim reaper,” Jay recalls about his first appointment with Dr. Key.
Initially, Jay was told he had two years to live with such a serious diagnosis.
“That’s tough,” Jay said with a pause. “I was somewhat in shock about that and anxious – very, very anxious.”
At the same time as his diagnosis, pressure from his enlarged prostate was compressing his urethra making urination difficult before it became nearly impossible – a complication that is seen in some cases of prostate cancer.
It became so uncomfortable, he ended up in the ER where over 1500 cc of urine were removed from his body. The average bladder holds between 300-400 cc. He was told he was lucky his bladder didn’t burst and sent home with instructions to see his urologist ASAP.
So in addition to dealing with facing his mortality, Jay was forced to catheterize himself more than 300 times over the next four months.
With his bladder health restored, Jay began cancer treatment. Drugs to promote bone growth and halt testosterone production and four chemotherapy pills became part of his daily regimen.
And the results are staggering. His PSA has dropped every three months. His most recent reading: 0.31.
Besides an aspirin or two maybe once a year, Jay had never taken pharmaceuticals or prescription drugs for ailments. Now he’s on a cocktail of meds keeping him alive.
“I don’t like taking the drugs and I don’t like the side effects,” he said about hot flashes and a significant decrease in energy levels. “When I do exert myself I become very fatigued, and much more tired than I ever was before.”
“But it’s worth the price,” Jay said about the trade-off.
An outpouring of positive support from friends and family, the extraordinary care team at Dayton Physicians Network and a positive attitude are what Jay credits to his remarkable progress.
“The incredible love and support from my family and friends – it was simply overwhelming,” Jay commented.
“My wife was my guardian angel – I truly did not know she loved me that much,” he said, of Lynn, his wife of 38 years. “I don’t know how I would have gotten through this if it hadn’t been for her. She has been simply amazing.”
Today, Jay’s outlook is far better than it was 18 months ago when he received his diagnosis. But with no cure for stage four prostate cancer, he will live with this disease for the rest of his life.
“My fondest hope, although I’m not sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for it, is that cancer research does literally, truly cure it,” Jay said about prostate cancer. “I’m sure that will happen someday, whether I’m around at that point I don’t know.”
Cure or not, Jay has made an astonishing turnaround.
“I think it’s safe to say I’m the poster patient for Dr. Key,” Jay said. “His cancer treatment plan had incredible results.”
At a recent prostate cancer 5K, Jay had the opportunity to introduce his son, daughter and grandson to Dr. Key. “I introduced him as the person who saved my life,” Jay commented.
At age 37, Kim Grieshop, trauma nurse and mother of two young girls, faced what she says she feared most in life since her teen years – being diagnosed with cancer.
“When I was 17, my mom passed away from cancer…one month before my high school graduation,” Grieshop said. “Cancer has always been my Achilles’ heel. Being diagnosed myself was completely devastating.”
Unusual pain led to an OB/GYN appointment, in which doctors told her there were “no true red flags to worry about,” but they ordered a mammogram to be safe. Her mammogram results then led to an ultrasound and, ultimately, a biopsy.
The results: stage 0 breast cancer – the best-case scenario, Grieshop says. Her next step was meeting with surgeons and determining the course of action and recovery.
With her family history, Grieshop decided to be aggressive and opted for a bilateral mastectomy just weeks after her symptoms first appeared. Only two days after her surgery, when Grieshop thought she was over the hump, she received a call from her doctor. He told her the cancer was invasive in nature and would require chemotherapy.
“That was an extra punch in the gut,” Grieshop recalls. That’s when she selected James Sabiers, M.D., an oncologist with Dayton Physicians Network, for her cancer care.
For Grieshop, the bad news wasn’t over yet. Her tumor biomarkers were HER2+, making her cancer more aggressive in nature, which meant it also would require a year of immunotherapy.
“I’m not going to lie – there were days when I laid in bed and had a pity party for myself,” Grieshop said.
Chemo treatments were every three weeks and lasted four to six hours. While Grieshop feels medical advancements in the treatment of cancer made her symptoms more manageable, it was still a difficult time.
Grieshop relied on her faith; her husband, Joe; and the incredible support from Dayton Physicians Network to carry her through to recovery.
“My faith has really kept me going,” she said. “I’ve always had a relationship with Jesus, but this just intensified it. I don’t necessarily know why things happen all the time, but God has provided me some clarity that, even through the deep, dark valleys, He provides what I need, and He’s been faithful in life.”
As a mom of three- and five-year-old girls, a wife and trauma nurse educator, Grieshop said she had to put herself first, so she could heal and recover.
“My husband took on every role I couldn’t accomplish, and he did it all without saying a word,” Grieshop said. “Cooking, dishes, bathing the kids – he allowed me to be that person who needed to go lay in bed.”
Seeing both sides of care
Grieshop’s career as a nurse was both a blessing and a curse.
“I think it was a blessing I was a nurse, because I felt like I could advocate for myself more than maybe someone who didn’t have the same knowledge,” Grieshop said. “I work with medical colleagues, so I have a network of people I can reach out to.”
Conversely, becoming the patient meant she had to relinquish some of that control. “I had to let my own research go and rely on my doctors. I broke off my relationship with ‘Dr. Google,’” she said. “I’ve had to let go of being the nurse and allow my doctors to take care of me.”
Grieshop worked fulltime through her chemo, and she had a boss who never batted an eye when she said she wasn’t feeling well. “She was okay with my putting work last when I needed to.”
And if Grieshop was ever feeling down or overwhelmed or just plain “not well,” her support team at Dayton Physicians Network was always available. Grieshop felt comfortable calling her oncologist with any question.
“No matter what, I was able to call Dr. Sabiers, and he talked to me,” she said. “That place is just so welcoming when you go in there.”
Grieshop recalled a day when she just wasn’t herself. The DPN receptionist noticed, which allowed Grieshop to be honest about her feelings. That’s when the woman gave her a green angel key chain, which had the birthstone of Grieshop’s mother.
“I just don’t think these things are coincidental,” she said.
Less than a year after being diagnosed, Grieshop is now cancer-free and still going strong.
To learn more about the cancer care options available through Dayton Physicians Network, call 937-293-1622.
Dr. John Haluschak, Genitourinary Medical Oncologist is always willing to share his expertise to advance the treatments of cancer patients.
Last fall Dr. Haluschak participated on Pfizer’s Renal Cell Carcinoma Advisory Board. He and five other physicians from the Midwest provided their insight on treatment planning and management for advanced renal cell carcinoma.
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Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the inability to obtain and maintain an erection that is adequate for sexual activity. There are many causes for ED. Most common causes include Diabetes, vascular disease, low testosterone levels, and obesity. Many causes are medically induced as a side effect of certain medication such as blood pressure medication, psychological medications and GI medications. Treatment for cancer is another potential cause of erectile dysfunction. One of the biggest side effects of prostate cancer intervention is ED.
Radical prostate surgery is associated with a 50% risk of ED, surgical techniques such as Robotic assisted approaches and nerve-sparing techniques have helped significantly. Patients under 60 tend to do better.
Radiation Therapy also has an increased risk of erectile dysfunction at about 30% with Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy or IMRT external beam radiation therapy. Prostate seed implantation has a much higher rate of ED at a 70-80% rate. Cryosurgery as a prostate cancer treatment also has a very high rate of ED.
When a physician treats cancer the prime objective is to cure the patient. The side effects are dealt with later, though ED concerns are taken into consideration when choosing intervention modalities. The prime objective is always control of the cancer but quality of life is also extremely important.
Erectile dysfunction can be managed quite well. Treatment can be very easy or much more involved.
Initial treatment is frequently with oral medication such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra or Stendra. This is a class of medication known as PDE5 inhibitors. These medicines are very effective.
If the medications fail, the next option is that of a vacuum device; a non-invasive mechanical device that will induce an erection.
Another option is self-injection therapy which involves injecting a vasodilating medication directly into the penis. While this sounds terrible it actually works extremely well and with very high patient satisfaction.
The most invasive option (which is considered last choice) is the insertion of a penile prosthesis. This requires surgery and a 6-week recovery. In the right individual this is an excellent choice with a long-term solution.
Erectile dysfunction can almost always be treated, the question is to what extent is the patient willing to pursue treatment..
Please do not hesitate to talk to your physician, as we’re here to help guide you thru these difficult times. For more information and educational resources, please visit The Urology Care Foundation.
New Prostate Cancer Support Group begins March 14, 2016!
Prostate cancer survivors, their loved ones, friends, family and caregivers are invited to attend Dayton Physicians Network’s newly formed Prostate Cancer Support Group. Prostate Cancer Support Group flyer 2016
The Prostate Cancer Support Group will offer participants an opportunity to share feelings and experiences with others who have or are currently facing similar challenges and to provide/receive emotional support. Educational speakers will share information about prostate cancer, resources and treatments related to the group’s needs.
The prostate cancer support group is open to the public and will be facilitated by Karyn Ganaway, RN, CNP, Urology and Robin Supinger, Prostate Cancer Patient Navigator.
The meetings will be held on the second Monday of each month at Good Samaritan North Health Center’s Education Center, located at 9000 N. Main St., Dayton, Ohio 45415. Plan to park and enter on the Main Street side of the building for easy access to the Education Center. The meeting time will be 6:00-7:30 pm and light snacks will be served.
For more information, please contact Robin Supinger at 937.771.2326 or e-mail email@example.com
Dayton Physicians Network is pleased to announce that our urology practice is now open and taking appointments at the Wayne Cancer Center in Greenville, Ohio.
Our expert urology providers are thrilled to have the opportunity to serve patients in the northern counties of the Miami Valley area. This will allow their patients to be treated closer to home. All are long-time providers in the Dayton area and have now expanded their practice.
Dr. Howard Abromowitz
Dr. Michael K. Yu
Joni Reser, CNP
Please call 937.293.1622 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about this new service in Darke County.
Dayton Physicians Network, we’re here for you providing expert urological care.
Dr. John Haluschak, Dayton Physicians Network Medical Oncologist recently attended the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual Genitourinary (GU) Cancers Symposium.
While there he was selected to share his view on why conferences like this are so important to oncology providers.
Read the Interview here.
Dr. Haluschak, our medical and radiation oncologists,as well as our urologists at Dayton Physicians Network treat GU cancers. We have the expertise, cutting-edge technology and compassionate care that you deserve and no need to travel- we are here, close to home.
Dayton Physicians Network…we’re here for you!
ZERO Prostate Cancer RUN/WALK- DAYTON-2016- Save the Date!
Dayton Physicians Network is proud to announce that we have partnered with ZERO-The End of Prostate Cancer
to host the inaugural event in the Dayton area o raise awareness about prostate cancer and to raise money for the continued fight against prostate cancer. Register today!
ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer is a national nonprofit organization with the mission to end prostate cancer. We lead the fight to end the disease by advancing research, encouraging action, and providing education and support to men and their families. Our premier programs include the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk, the largest men’s health event series in America. We are a 501c3 charity recognized with four stars by Charity Navigator, a Better Business Bureau member, and 97 cents of every dollar donated goes to research and programs.
2015 Updated and newly redesigned resources for patients with Ovarian Cancer.
This National Comprehensive Cancer Network patient resource is based on the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Ovarian Cancer. NCCN Guidelines for Patients-Ovarian Cancer provides basic information about ovarian cancer , as well as; changes and additions. Cancer tests and a treatment guide are also included.
Dayton Physicians Network encourages all cancer patients to get the facts about their disease. NCCN is but one of many reliable resources available.
We know that you want to receive the best possible treatment, compassionate care and to have it all available at convenient locations near where you live and work. We offer comprehensive cancer treatment, including clinical trials and cutting edge technology to meet those needs.
We’re here for you.
Cathryn Gibbs, Dayton Physicians Network Application Analyst presented at NextGen Users Group Meeting on November 3, 2015 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Cathryn was a guest speaker, sharing her experience in implementing NextGen Share.
Dayton Physicians Network implemented NextGen Share in November 2014 to meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use Requirements. Cathryn lead the project to implement Share, and worked with other practices not using NextGen to ensure the ability to share Continuity of Care Documents (CCDA’s). Cathryn also designed the workflow around sending and receiving the CCDA’s and ensuring follow-up with patients was occurring in a timely manner, as well as ensuring only appropriate data is extracted into our patients charts. Cathryn continues to work with our staff as well as referring practices to promote the use of the Share CCDA exchange tools.
Cathryn appropriately titled her presentation, “NextGen Share-Herding Cats…..”, as working with so many different practices and applications across the nation has been both a social and networking experiment in cooperation and collaboration.