My name is Carmen. I'm from Spain and I'm married to a wonderful person. His name is Jim and our story began on October 8th, 2018 when my husband was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer. It was a big shock, obviously, but my husband reacted very well. I think I was the one who took it harder. It took me a long time to accept it, but through time we have overcome that and we're dealing with it pretty well. When my husband was diagnosed, we lived in Alabama and we were referred to Tulane, to Dr. [inaudible 00:01:04] office, and that was, I think one of the highlights of our journey because we are very, very happy with the care we're getting and we have the wonderful opportunity to meet our dear Dr. Baratha.
This is my husband's situation. On 2018, he was diagnosed, he was on treatment for two years. He did very well with barely no side effects of the medicine, of the treatment. He received radiation and his PSA was undetectable. And since he was doing very well, Dr. Baratha proposed to us that perhaps he could get off the medication to see if he was cured, even though the chances were slim, but we still thought that there was a chance. So my husband did it. He was being monitored every three months and for about a year the PSA was undetectable or very low. But around April, it started to rise April this year and they did a PET scan and they discovered there was another lesion on his L3 vertebra.
After that, it has been a little bit stressful because Tulane recommending a certain type of radiation, but the insurance deny it. And because we elected for him to be radiated in Spanish Fort, Alabama, it happened that he could not receive that type of radiation. So he received what they call [inaudible 00:03:07]. It's another type of radiation. At this moment, his PSA has not changed, it's still high so we don't know what the next step is going to be till we see Dr. Sarter. The good thing is that my husband feels good. He's in no pain so far, and we're just waiting to see what the next step is going to be.
I think that is the physical part, but when you enter into this world of cancer, there is a very important part to also address, and that is the emotional part of it. They say every patient is unique and every cancer is unique. And I like that approach because every person has a very different way to understand and to approach this. When we first were diagnosed, because I think we are all in this, like I said, my husband accepted it very well. He took responsibility and I think that's the first step, to accept your reality. For me, it was very hard because I enter into this mood of fear of losing him and also what that implied and that implied how my son, for example, that is really close to his dad, How is my son going to be without dad? To me, that was very difficult and it took us three months to let him know that dad had been diagnosed with cancer.
But slowly we became to really face the situation face to face and we did that because we started to deal with our emotions. We started not to put them aside. If we felt that we were afraid, we recognized it. If we felt that there was a lot of uncertainty, we say, yes, there's a lot of uncertainty. And I think that is another step to help you deal with this fight a lot better, to accept everything that comes with it. I've been very lucky because I think unconsciously my mother opened me to this world of understanding emotions, even though I was not aware of it until cancer came to our lives.
And also I have my daughter who is a nurse, so she really help us understand that even though it was metastatic, but it didn't mean that this was the end of everything. So it was something that we have to face step by step and that was it. Not to think about the future, what is going to happen, what is that? No. She taught us how to say, okay, with what we have, how we're going to approach it and what can we do with it. And that is very another tool that it was very effective.
Of course, also, I find very important to find the right medical team. And when I say the right medical team, I'm not saying that ... of course I want doctors that are really good at what they're at, but not because of the medicine or the treatments that they can give my husband, but how they approach that relationship between patient and doctor. To me that is very crucial. Our first oncologist said, the first thing that he said to us was, Well, it's going to be a miracle to cure you. To me, that destroyed my visit.
So we went from that to talking to Dr. Baratha where he sat down with us, he listened to us to how we were feeling, to what our fears were, and then he exposed to us what the reality was. He did not hide anything, but there was that ... He gave us comfort, that comfort that you need in order to say, Well, you know what? This is not easy. This is a situation. This is a fight, a battle that we have to fight, but it doesn't mean that we are alone, that we have the best medical care possible and the best team.
And also when I say the word tram, I truly believe that is the doctors, the patient, the caretaker, and the support of it. We all have to be a team. For me, the mental health is as important as the treatment, the pills or radiation or chemotherapy, whichever other treatment that patients get. Because if you feel good emotionally, then that treatment and everything that goes around that fight against the cancer, you will be able to undertake that in a much better way. And I think the results will be better, much better. So the mental health, it's as important as the treatment, and it's something that we all as a society really need to be very good advocates for that. It has to be something that we as a society have to put on our plates and say, This is a reality that we have. We have to really spend a lot of effort and research on making this as important as all these other therapies because they go together. That's the way I look at it.
It's not only for the patient but for everybody around him, because we have the team with the doctors, but at home the support is very, very crucial as well. And this impacts everybody in the family because your life ... you have to start making some other different decisions and your life is going to change. Somehow, some shape, it's going to change for sure. So now if we know it's going to change, what we need to think is that we should make it as positive and make it work for us in the best possible way. And for that to happen, you have to really feel good mentally. It's very important, very important.
If we are caretakers, we have to be emotionally strong and emotionally stable and very much because if we are not, that patient is going to suffer even more because then the guilty feelings that I'm putting that person ... so we just do not want to go into that as we can. So this is a fight that my husband is fighting, I am fighting and my kids as well. So we are just trying to be a team and it is very important to be a team, but like I said, that team has to be very stable emotionally. And for me, the beauty of this being stable emotionally, is that it really helps you get to know yourself. It helps you to get to know your limits and when you know what your limits are, when you know who you are, you really have two important tools to face whatever the challenge is.
Another thing I find very important is, of course, it's inevitable to think about the future, what's going to happen, that's inevitable. But if we all could come to teach ourselves how to say, okay, one day at a time, I think that helps things. It puts things in another perspective. It helps you put things in a very different perspective. And at the end, how much control do I have over the future? Not much. Really, what I do, I have to control what I can control with, but I don't really know what's going to happen to me, even if I'm healthy. I don't know. So we have learned in my family how to really live like that. It's a process, but I don't think it's impossible.
Another thing I would like to say is that when you think about the word cancer, it is so terrifying. It can be terrifying and you immediately associate that to this is the end. But in our particular journey, cancer has brought a lot of good things to us as a family. It has made us a lot stronger, and it has really changed the way we look at life in a better way. It doesn't mean that every day we are in this emotional stability. No, we have lots of ups and downs, but I think this situation has taught myself and my family how to develop or how to find all those tools that we do have inside of us to face this situation in the best possible way. So for that, I even have to say thank you, but that's our reality.
Currently, our situation, we do not know exactly what's going to happen because we are waiting to see what Dr. Harder has to say, but I do know, and I do know this from my heart and very strongly, is that we are very confident that my husband is at the right place with the right people. Thank you, cancer, because you are giving me this opportunity to help somebody else perhaps. So I feel very grateful for that.
On the overall, one of my biggest tips would be to live day by day, to make sure you establish a good rapport with your doctor, with your team, and to make sure that you accept your emotions just because it's so normal. It's normal that you are not a [inaudible 00:16:02] that you are not ... If you are depressed, okay, well, you are depressed, but accept it. And be an advocate for yourself because at the end, all cancer patients and the families and people around them, we are really special. We really are because, in a way, we did not ask for this battle. We did not want to go into this, but for whatever reason, we were given this battle to fight. So there has to be a reason beyond all that, what we can see and perceive.
So we are very special and we have to feel good about it, that we really are very important for it. And I wanted to thank Tulane University and the Dr. Baratha and his team and for the wonderful things that ... it's great to have people like Dr. Baratha or Dr. Sartor or Dr. Kendra or all the people involved in this world to make this happen because we patients and caretakers, we desperately need them. So it's just wonderful that they are doing this tremendous work just like the opportunity I'm being given now, you guys being able to do this and to be able to share with somebody else.
Go for it, belief, and it's a word that we use a lot, oh, belief, belief. And I know that when somebody's in pain or going through the darkest days is not something to really accept, but I think we all have to ... like I say, if we have been given this battle, it's because somehow or another it's going to make us grow as persons. So let's go for it. That's all we can do.