Culture Grooming Lounge Movember Regina Boyd Harrison
Boyd HarrisonImage by: Culture Grooming Lounge
Culture Grooming Lounge Movember Regina Boyd Harrison
2 June 2021

Boyd Harrison's Prostate Cancer Journey

4 minutes read time

I would like to introduce myself and my wife Lorrie to you and tell you a brief summary of my journey. I refer to it as a journey because there are many stops along the way from diagnoses through treatment and on to recovery. I am including Lorrie in this story as she was with me every step of the way. Lorrie, along with other family members and friends were a key part in my success, which I will speak to later.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May of 2019, which was as a result of a routine physical examination by my GP including a PSA test. After several consults and tests, I was informed by a Regina surgeon that I would not be a good candidate for prostate surgery due to rectal colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

This then led me to the Allan Blair Cancer Clinic, where I was informed by an oncologist that I could be referred to Vancouver, BC for brachytherapy and have radiation seeds implanted into my prostate.

The drawback with this therapy was there would be scarring in my bowel and pelvic area, which would leave me as a poor candidate for any future prostate surgery if required.I asked for another opinion, which led me to Doctor Jana in Saskatoon. He performed a radical prostatectomy on me On November 20, 2019,, which to this point appears to be successful. I am presently being monitored and require bloodwork to be completed every six months to check my PSA level.

My journey from diagnoses and treatment was overall a very positive experience. However, I found a number of differences between Regina and Saskatoon as to how service is provided. The biggest difference is how follow-up treatment is provided. I required pelvic floor physical therapy (PT) after surgery, as do many other patients who have received similar surgery. The main difference in this PT is that in Saskatoon, it is provided through St. Paul’s hospital and funded by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). In Regina, this PT is only provided by private clinics forcing the patient to pay for it out of pocket or have it covered by private insurance if the patient has coverage. I further learned that pelvic floor PT is covered by the SHA in Regina for female patients, but not covered for male patients.

Lorrie and I began lobbying for funding of PT by SHA in Regina for males, but this came to a halt when Covid hit. The Covid situation directed SHA attention to it (covid) and away from our lobbying and other routine health matters. We plan to again lobby for funding once the Covid situation becomes more under control.

There are a few points in my message that I wish to make. Here they are, in no particular order:

• Regular medical check-ups are very important and must be maintained even in this unprecedented time. Be sure to have your doctor order a PSA test even if you are not showing any questionable symptoms. That is how my cancer was detected.

• You are not alone in your journey, be sure to accept all help that is given to you. There are many others going through, or have gone through the same or similar journey. Draw upon their experiences to help you through yours. I was able to join the Prostate Cancer Canada Network (PCCN), Regina group, which was very helpful for us. Through the PCCN, we have met a lot of very good people and received a lot of valuable information and ongoing education regarding prostate cancer and overall general health.

• Do your research. If you don’t feel comfortable with the treatment that is offered to you, seek other opinions. This was especially important for me as this past summer, my Gastroenterologist detected three precancerous tumors in my lower bowl that he was able to subsequently remove. This would have very likely been hampered if I had opted for the brachytherapy as was suggested by the first surgeon that I consulted.

• I believe that it is very important to maintain positive mental health as well. The mind and body work together, one directly impacting the other. A positive mind set will help your body as it heals. As the mind is also part of your body, it too requires proper health care. There is nothing wrong with seeking mental health treatment if it is required. We would not think twice about seeking professional treatment for a physical ailment, the mind should be no different.

• Sexual health is also very important to maintain in conjunction with mental/physical health. Do not be shy in discussing this topic with your health care provider. Sexuality is one of a person’s basic needs. By maintaining good sexual health, you will help improve many facets of life such as; self-esteem, partner relationships, etc. Individual needs and benefits vary from person-to-person.

• Spirituality also needs to be considered. This is individual and is different from person to person.

No matter what your individual journey is, there needs to be a balance in your process. One element cannot function without the others. Maintaining balance may be difficult, but is paramount in achieving a successful outcome.