Hello, my name's Glenn Ritchie. I'm a 60 year old man, married two children, and the period of time that we'll be talking about was about a year ago. My PSA has been tracked for probably seven or eight years at this point. It started around 50, just as a normal, I've always been told. Start getting your PSA checked at 50, and have done it every year since. Saw some progression in the numbers. And then I went through a period of another cancer two years back, which heightened my awareness. So when I talked to a doctor here and the PSA had jumped, we decided together to do a biopsy. And once the biopsy was done, there was enough troublesome spots, I guess is the way I understood it, that we started talking about a treatment plan, discussed the option of surgery versus radiation, and ultimately I decided to have surgery. Any of my medical visits, short of just an annual physical, my wife comes with me.
She's fiercely protective of me, if you will. And she asks all the questions that I normally wouldn't as a guy. When I go to a doctor, I listen to them and I do what they say. And she will ask the questions about options or about why or when, and generally it works out well. When I was given my options, my urologist, Dr. Klaassen, is a surgeon by trade, but he spoke about the radiation piece as well. And I wasn't as concerned about the treatment as I was the effects or the future. So I had a great conversation about, what I heard was surgery allows radiation later, should it be needed. Radiation makes it more difficult for surgery after the fact. And that was a key point for me. But I also spoke with some men in my life that had, had prostate cancer before, and some of them did radiation and some of them did the surgery.
So I talked to them about results. And even in that instance, I didn't ask enough questions. I never talked about sexual function with any of those men. That would be difficult. But I talked to them about urinary issues and post treatment, if you will. And ultimately we decided we, being my wife and I, that surgery was the way to go. And I'm also kind of a cut it out and be done with it, kind of a guy. I didn't want to go through six months of radiation again. I didn't want to just, the word mushy bothers me. So I didn't want to envision the prostate becoming mushy. And we decided on surgery.
Prior to the diagnosis, my wife and I had led a pretty active lifestyle. I'm an avid mountain biker. I would ride three or four times a week. We go to the gym together three times a week, kayak on weekends. We travel a lot. So my concern with any treatment was would I be able to get back to those levels?
And surprisingly, what's really neat is that getting through the treatment and being focused on taking care of myself, I'm actually probably in better shape now than I was before the treatment. And that was a decision to stay healthy. I knew going in that the surgery would be easier if I was not overweight, if I was healthy, if I took care of myself. And I knew coming out that, or at least I feel like I have a better chance of not getting it again, if I take care of myself and I eat right and I stay active. I guess I've been lucky because my wife, she has allowed me to be ignorant, let's put it that way. I got tested for my PSA, I did the blood work every year, but I didn't understand it and I didn't care about it per se.
The advocacy of my wife allowed me to live in my own little cave. And if you don't have that person, then you need to ask a lot more questions. You need to do a lot more research. You need to... I don't believe doctors in a habit of running tests just because. So if they're asking for a test or you're being told you need to do something, you need to understand what that is and why it's important. And again, I was extremely and am extremely important. That's my wife, that is that person in my life.
If you have an advocate like that, if you have somebody that takes your health as seriously as they take their health, you're a lucky man or woman. I feel like I'm really fortunate in that I understood on a very simple level that the prostate, the way I was able to measure it or follow it was a function of the PSA test. So as the numbers increased and I saw jumps, I was able to talk to doctors who early on were, don't worry about it. It's not a thing. And then later when I talked to Dr. Clauson said, well, this one, it's not scary, but we should look at this.
But honestly, that was the level of my understanding of prostate cancer. The prostate, I knew where it was. I knew probably a little bit about what it does. I had a grandfather who had it. I had uncles that had it. So I knew it was disease prone, and I knew it was cancer when it was a disease. So I was cautious about it, and I was aware that it had potential to be an issue, but I did not have a lot of information further than that. And that's when I rely on my doctors. And that's when Dr. Clauson my doctor answered all the questions we had about, honestly, sexual function, before and after, and urinary issues before and after. And they were frank and open conversations, and they were helpful. Because I'm at 60, my sex life isn't over. I don't want it to be, so they were important to me. Understand that there's an end and there's a successful end.
It doesn't define you. The cancer is just a disease. It can be cured. I have great faith in God, in Jesus Christ, and I was able to hand this off to them and feel at peace through the whole process to feel comfortable that I wasn't going to die, that healing would be complete, that my life would go back to normal. I've always said that stress and worry will kill me long before fatty foods or cancer. Stress is not a positive thing. So you need someone to talk to. You need to talk to a loved one if possible, or a friend or your doctor, but you have to ask the questions that are on your mind. And guys, that means talking about sex, and that means talking about your prostate. And that means talking about the things that we're not comfortable doing, but it's important.