Men’s health. Prostate checks. Biopsies.

They’re like cheap thrills.

I make jokes because if we don’t laugh, we cry.

My name is Tim Nill. Three years ago, doctors diagnosed me with prostate cancer. I was 56 years old. Doctors diagnosed my dad too, so because of my strong family history, I had my PSA – prostate-specific antigen – tested every year.

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It is awkward and uncomfortable, but important. Ladies have their own uncomfortable visits each year too. No visit is worse than the other.

Now, here is my PSA on PSAs.

Not every man needs a yearly PSA, but those with high risks like me with my family history definitely need it done yearly. My brothers and son would too. According to the urologist at Jamestown Regional Medical Center, Dr. Robert Bates, many men will get prostate cancer. However, even if prostate cancer is diagnosed, not all men need to treat it. That is something to talk to your doctor about.

Because of my numbers, that, unfortunately, was not my case.

Every year, doctors monitored my PSA levels. In 2015, those levels got too high for my doctor’s comfort. I am grateful they caught it when they did. That meant I had options.

When you get the news, “you have cancer,” you can scream, holler or do whatever, but it is there. You have to deal with it.

I opted for surgery in St. Paul, Minn. There, doctors removed my prostate with a minimally invasive robotic procedure. I still have a couple of small scars on my abdomen. And, anyone without a prostate is aware there can be embarrassing side effects, but those are speed bumps compared to the mountains other people must climb.

I am not going to complain. Seeing others with untreatable health issues, that gives me perspective.

My advice for people is: do not ignore it. As a guy, I think that’s a choice that is fairly often done. You can bury your head in the sand or be aware. I chose awareness.

And today, I have a happy ending.

Because I am healthy now, I still own and operate my own construction business. I still get to live life with my wife and family.

And last winter, I walked my baby girl down the aisle.

Cancer is not gloom and doom for everyone.

That is one of the reasons this cancer center is so important. It saves a guy the headache of the trip and some of the headaches of the treatment. The center may not have made a difference in my case, but it will make a difference for others like me. Those miles matter.

 

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