My name is Judy LaBella. I'm 71 years old. I've been married to Joey for 52 years. And I was the was first one to read his numbers for his prostate cancer. They came over the internet and I could tell it was pretty bad. The numbers went from five to past 125.
And so I called his doctor, got her on the phone and then I had to go wake him up and say, "Hey, come on back in the office for a second. I got something we need to talk about." And we did. He sat right next to me and his primary care physician got on the phone and said, "Yeah, your numbers are not good. This is serious."
It was tough. It was a shock. First thing he said was, "Okay, we have to sell everything." I'm like, "No, no. We're not going to sell everything. We're going to take a deep breath, we're going to back up, and we're going to handle this." And that's what we did. The best thing you can be to somebody in his position is a calm, sensible, let's take a step back approach. And that's what we did. That's what we did. And it was, it was really tough for him to tell his children that he had cancer because his reflection was always about what his dad went through, which was pancreatic cancer, and that is a whole lot worse than what he's got right now.
I think my oldest was Jenny. Jenny took it like me. Jenny took it just like me. Like, "Okay." I think all three of them actually took it that way. They all, "Okay, what do we have to do? What do have to do next? Who will you see?" Nobody broke down. Nobody got crazy with the world's coming to an end type thing. They didn't do that. They were very supportive. They're always supportive. We are a strong Italian family. We get together for it's going to rain tomorrow. "Okay, let's get together, let's eat." So yeah, they're great, they're awesome.
But we've been together for quite a few years. We've worked together, raised three children, went through a whole business. So we read each other very well. I see that a lot in the morning times. And you have to be, I feel like I've always been the tough guy. There's always a good guy, bad guy. Mom and dad, let's go to dad for this. Let's go to mom for that. I've always been the bad guy and that's okay.
So there's times when he'll say, "Look, I don't want to do this or I don't want to do that." Nope. No, that's not an option. You have to be super strong. A lot of times he'll say in the morning, "I don't want anything to eat." Okay. Put a plate down, food's gone. You just have to be a little pushy in this situation and it works. "Let's go walk, let's go take a walk." "No, I don't feel like." "Well, okay, I'll see you later. I'm going to go take a walk." "Well wait a minute, I'll go with you." "Okay, let's go." So we're walking, we're going.
I mean, he still cuts grass. We have a little cottage in Golfport and we get together out there and we work. We're constantly physical. So until you get to the point where you absolutely cannot do anything else, then okay. But while you can get off that sofa and not look at political BS all day long on the television set, let's get up, let's go and walk. Let's go and shop. Let's go and just do something.
And so that's what we do. We keep busy. Every morning, wake up with my cup of coffee and walk outside and thank God for today. Find your faith. Definitely find your faith in God, in Allah, in wherever you're finding your faith. Talk to it every day. I do. I talk to it every day and I say, "Thank you. We're blessed. Thank you for today. Give us tomorrow. We'd like to have tomorrow too."
He gets up around three o'clock every morning. And I don't know if his body's trained at this point to do that, but I know mentally he knows he has to get up and take those four ABI pills. And he does that. And then the TV comes on. And then he's awake for two hours. And so sometimes when I'm getting up he's just about ready to go back down to sleep. So we're in and out the bed throughout the night. But we're retired, so hey, sleep till nine o'clock.
We have been super lucky, blessed. We've had our Medicare insurance take care of quite a bit. And then the girls all work diligently on the Pan Foundation with the grants. So that's been coming through. Some paperwork obviously goes along with that. There was a point in time where they thought that wasn't going to come through, but it did, it did eventually come through. But yeah, you have to be prepared for that. We have our can buried in the backyard somewhere, so in case we had to, we'd pay for it, whatever it takes. But we haven't had that challenge.
I've always had some medical issues myself. I have idiopathic anaphylaxis all the time. So I carry this EpiPen 24/7. And so I'm just matter of fact about that. Okay, I've had this episode, stick myself with the pen, let's get up and keep on going. And that's how I kind of looked at it with Joey. It was okay, it is what it is. We're not going to change it.
We got the diagnosis. Now how do we handle it? How do we fight it? How do we get educated on it? That was the most important thing. I need education on this. Of course, the internet is amazing. Sometimes confusing too because there's so much out there. But that's pretty much how I've tackled pretty much everything. It is what it is and we're going to get through it, and with the grace of God.
When the big C comes to town, it changes a lot. So we had been together for 50 plus years, but the relationship changed. You didn't take each other for granted so much. It was, okay. And we laugh, we belly laugh at a lot... We keep our humor. We belly laugh at a lot of things. And that's a blessing right there because some people can go into a deep depression, and we haven't allowed that to happen. We make jokes about certain things.
So yeah, it's been good. It's about as good as it's going to ever get. So we're happy. We're happy. We're a happy couple. And to say that we've been together since, oh God, the middle sixties, wow, and have gotten to this point, we are truly, truly blessed.
Be strong. It's okay to say no. It's okay to be the heavy. Joey talks about boxing all the time because he is involved in it. But it's okay to take those punches on the chin. They get angry, they get sweaty, they get chilly. There's just so much out there. There's emotions flying all around the room, and sometimes you just have to step back and say, "Oh, okay." Let them get through this part. Just let him get through it. And then come back into the conversation or come back into the room and just pick up where you left off at. Don't make a big deal out of it because they are the ones that are going through the mess. They are the ones that have all these chemicals in their body and in their head. So just back off and let them have their time.
And find the time to get away. Just getting away from our permanent resident and going to this little cottage that we acquired two years ago, it's night and day. Because we are out there, it's just Joey and I at our little place. If you just go to an overnight, just go to a restaurant, go to a dinner. Just get away from talking about it all the time and being involved in it. You have to take a break from it now and again. Yeah.