My mind shut down after hearing the word “cancer.”

I AM MORE THAN CANCER

It’s important to give yourself time to recover from the initial shock of your diagnosis before making a treatment decision.

My name is Gogs Gagnon, and I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 57. At the time, I had no symptoms and no health issues. Overall, I was in the best shape of my life, living a very active lifestyle, cycling to and from work, hitting the gym and training in the martial arts. Therefore, the diagnosis was unexpected and difficult to accept. The news hit hard, and I thought my life was over. Just hearing the word, “cancer” was enough for my mind to shut down, and I was unable to hear, let alone process, the words coming from the doctor’s mouth.

The facts at the time were that I had several DREs over the years, even by different doctors, and they all reported everything to be smooth and normal, except for an enlarged prostate. My PSA had been rising over the past five years and was measured 14 times. Results started at 4.2 and continued to rise to a high of 7.8. An MRI indicated a high-grade prostate malignancy in the anterior zone of the prostate, where cancer is rarely found, and out of reach of a DRE. It’s important to note that a previous random prostate biopsy of four years earlier was negative for cancer. This time, the biopsy was MRI guided and found cancer in five out of the six tissue samples. The Gleason score was 4+3=7, which indicated a high–intermediate risk for cancer growing at a moderate pace. Overall, 50% of the submitted tissue contained cancer.

At first, I found it very difficult to talk about it and even had trouble speaking to my spouse. But I soon realized that sharing my thoughts and feelings was very therapeutic and helpful. I wouldn’t have fared as well without my wife Mary’s constant love and support. To help distract our minds from worry, we would celebrate every occasion in our life, no matter how small.

The results of a bone and CT scan showed no evidence cancer had spread outside the prostate. I opted for surgery. Afterwards, I realized I made a quick decision, and recommend others take their time and explore the many treatment options available, including active surveillance. It’s far better to take your time with the decision than to rush into treatment and later regret it.

My pathology report confirmed a Gleason score of 4+3=7, and on the TNM system, the cancer was at stage T2c-N0-M0, bilateral disease, meaning that it had invaded both lobes. My prostate was 178.75 cc, nearly three times normal size and contained 43% cancer. For perspective, my prostate was about the size of four and a half golf balls, of which almost two golf balls were cancer.

Overall, I’m doing extremely well in recovery and find that sharing my journey is a big part of my healing. Therefore, I decided early on to write a book that shares intimate details of my diagnosis, surgery and recovery. It captures what it was like and how it felt every step of the way, including what I should have done differently.

For Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, my book, “Prostate Cancer Strikes: Navigating the Storm” will be free for everyone to download on Sep 7-8, and 26-30, 2019 PDT. Please spread the word.

ABOUT Gogs

Bio

  • Courtenay, BC

Diagnosis

  • Prostate Cancer

Primary Treatment

  • Surgery

Primary Cancer Center

  • Other

ENCOURAGE OTHERS!

Tell others in our community about yourself and your journey, and consider sharing great moments and lessons learned to help them become MORE THAN cancer.

>>Add your story & make a difference.

Learn

Read Our Stories

Experience inspiring stories from our patients, family caregivers, physicians and others.

Encourage

Share Your Story

Tell others about yourself and your journey; inspire them to be MORE THAN CANCER.

Act

Advocate For Change

Engage with others and advance important causes by advocating for change.

Donate

Help Fund Love

Share a gift in any amount to help our research and education missions.

Featured Stories

FundLove Presents: I Am More Than Cancer Campaign for

How My Body and I Are Meeting Cancer

Given the opportunity to heal, our bodies have superhuman powers.
by Katie Bobka

FundLove Presents: I Am More Than Cancer Campaign for

A Soldier's Fight Continues When She Returns Home

I would soon be putting my M16 down and picking up the harsh treatments of chemotherapy
by Brandi Benson

FundLove Presents: I Am More Than Cancer Campaign for

Lola's main priority was her family.

She made sure we celebrated any and all occasions together.
by Geronima Ambe

Community Stories

Cancer Taught Me A Lot. It Taught Me How Strong I Am.

I love the strength that blossomed in me through my journey fighting osteosarcoma, and I will never give up!
by Calanthe White

Let it Give You What You Need

Thriving Through Terminal Cancer Twice. Cancer is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
by Arianna Giorgio

Letter from a warrior- “My encounter with life.”

I had Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Stage 2 at the age of 17. I am writing this letter to everyone who is facing the cancer in any form.
by Nandesh Yadav