Diagnosis & Surgery Journey:
I did the surgery, I found out in 190… 2007! I figured it out. I found out by chance. That's how it was. I'm a guy, doctor, I consider myself to be blessed by God. I played ball at the club there in São Paulo… About 35 years. So every year São Paulo required the players to get a cardiological exam. And then a clinic there in Osasco where some friends of mine were doing… And I'm from there. I’ve been living there, right, For some 50-odd years. I went to take the test and the doctor said: "You didn't pass the exam here." Because I had high cholesterol and I didn't know it. I didn't feel a thing! Because back then, in my early 50’s, I ran, I would swim… I played ball three times a week. And that was my life. So, I wasn't satisfied with what I heard about this doctor and that clinic. He had the owner of Montreal Hospital. there in Osasco, who is my great friend. My client, my friend, my partner. And I said: "I'm going over to Dr. Laércio." to find out if he has a good cardiologist. Because I didn't know a doctor like that. Because I never felt anything. So, I counted my doctors on my fingers. Then I came in, I explained the situation to him. He said that... He told me that… He said so…
Then I said to him: "Doctor, I came here to do the cardiological exam… that I went and did it in a clinic and the guy said I'm in some trouble. So I wanted to check with you." Then he said: "No, it's okay. I have a very good cardiologist." And the guy was really good! And then I repeated the tests. At the time he was doing the request for the exam there… I said: "Doctor, you know what I'd like to do? A check-up." Even the prostate exam. That I didn't feel anything. Doctor, he put it there, ordered the tests. When he left, he said: "Valdir, your PSA is high." At that time, it was 10. He said so... Then he called… His urologist and his cardiologist. So, I was talking to three doctors.
When I got it, I went down. I went down, because 14 years ago, Doctor, this disease… it was very dangerous. It still is. But today medicine is very advanced. When I did the surgery, I found out… It was late November… November. Then my doctor said: "Look, have a quiet Christmas. You found out… In a good situation. And your chance of healing is 95 to 97%. Then I went back to the game. I knew it was a very serious disease, and it still is. Did you understand??
I know. But at that time even worse. Because today… For example, I have a brother-in-law who's going to have surgery. He's in big trouble. Me, when I did it… I got… some surgery opening here. And I had some bad luck… I'm going to say it like this. Because I was in the hospital for 20 days. Then you're going to say: "Why is it you stayed twenty days?" My prostate… was very small and it was stuck to the rectum. For him to take it out… He had to do some scraping. In this scraping, what happened? He hit my rectum. Then, Doctor, the guy hit it. I even went to the ICU there at Santa Catarina hospital.
Interviewer: In addition to the diagnosis...
Valdir Fernandes: That's because normally people would stay there. At that time he informed me that it would be two to three days. I stayed for twenty. I had the operation on January 7 and I left on January 27th. Day 7, I was operated on and left on the 27th, I was hospitalized for 20 days. Then, after all these times... Then I started... Doing follow-up with him, but I wasn’t really into it.
Switching Doctors Journey:
Let me explain. Marcela, she's been with me for 14 years. She's my second wife. And she found out through her cousin... Doctor Lemírio, who you must know. Who is from Einstein. I started doing the treatment with him. Then I started doing treatment with him. It went very well. He's an excellent doctor. And an excellent person. And then... Then I had a problem. In my intestine. Then I looked for... You should also know, At least Dr. Maluf knows. The doctor... What's his name again? Dr. Fabio, I'm sorry. Dr. Fabio Atui. In this treatment that I did with him... He... I said: "Doctor." Because he works there at the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital. And the Syrian is a very good hospital. I said: "Do you know any doctor how about... Can I do, continue my treatment in the covenant?" He referred a friend of his. He referred his friend. I started doing the treatment with him. In that interim, my PSA started to rise. Then he, I said: "Doctor..." It's not right here. He said: "No, that's the way it is, stay calm." My PSA went to 3. And I can't... Have that number. Because I did the surgery, I know a little about this disease. When I realized it wasn't going well, I went back to Dr. Lemírio. Then I went back to Dr. Lemírio, I explained. He said: "No, Valdir." Then he called another one of his colleagues. A professional. I had a treatment with him. And he said: "Look, Valdir, From now on... Who's going to take care of you is Dr. Fernando Maluf. It's just that there's a detail... I'm going to fit you in there, because a consultation with him is complicated. He starts to work at 4:00 a.m. I said: "Oh, my God!"
I was able to get 6:00 AM. What time did I have to get up? 4:00 in the morning! Until I settle down, go to the bathroom and stuff, brushing my teeth to go out... I told you... From home, that I live in Osasco. I said: "It's about an hour, I have to get here a little earlier." We got there...It was 15 to 6:00. Then came his aide. He called me. I did the interview with her of what had happened. And then I went to see Dr. Fernando. Dr. Fernando, he's very nice. He came in, hit me on the back and said, "Hey, Valdir, is everything all right?" I said: "It is, doctor..." Well, well, You're the one who's going to say it's all okay. He said: "How old are you?" And I said: "I'm 66." What do you do? I said this: "I sell automobiles, I have a dealership.' Lifan's. And I have a semi-new car store. He examined me on the way out, He hit me on the back... He said: "You'll sell a lot of Lifan yet!" I won't forget that.
Interviewer: That he…
Valdir Fernandes: Then I stayed with him, wow, for me... God first, second it was him. So, I'm very... And you, right, you who were his aide there. I stayed with you for a while, Dr. ... Carlos, too, right. I stayed with him a long time, then I think there was someone else. Another doctor, I don't remember. Then it was you. Now I'm with this other doctor. Very nice, very nice people. I'm very happy. I'm... in good hands. Oh, thank God. First, God, then you all. Today, I'm very well-served by a doctor. Just today I had at my company with my son... And a partner. Just saying, right. That I was there with Dr. Fernando and all that. And he examined me. And he said: "You're not well, you're a monster!" I said: "Thank you, doctor." And he's a very nice person. And I... And he always told me... like Dr. Guilherme. They're both teachers. One's from Cardiology, and the other is Oncology.
At first... At first, I, I... I did the surgery, I did a follow-up with this doctor. I, through it, met Dr. Lemírio, then I changed. I changed doctors because I wasn't feeling firm in what I was hearing. Did you understand?? And sometimes even family members, friends... "Oh, it must have been a medical error!" It could happen! Because the error is human. We all made mistakes. All of us. To err is human. If there was a mistake... I forgive him, because he, it wasn't because he wanted to, it happened. Like I told you... The thing about getting the prostate out... According to him, it was small and it was stuck to the rectum, to get it out he had to do some scraping. So that's where he hit my... hit my rectum.
From there, after Dr. Fernando... Only good things happened. Just good stuff. My PSA's zeroed out. Oh, doctor, I took so many meds, so in my head I don't know. She (Marcela) might know something. Oh, I didn’t take a pill, I took an injection, the one in my belly every three months. There was one I took every six months, now I'm taking it monthly. Because I'm bad at recording these names, got it?
Interviewer: No, just the way…
Valdir Fernandes: But I'm fine through your follow-up. For everything, for everything, everything. I'm very happy where I am. The follow-up I have today... I'm going to say something, because sometimes, of course... There are people who are not in a financial condition to have that privilege. Thank God, I do. I think I did, Doctor…I think I’ve had about six or seven treatments. Today, I take very little medicine. Especially in your area. Today, I take Ascal... I take Ascal... And the injections. The two that I take there. What do you call it?
Marcela (Valdir’s spouse): Zoladex.
Valdir Fernandes: Zoladex.
Marcela (Valdir’s spouse): And for the bones.
Valdir Fernandes: And the other one. For the bones. Did you understand?? Today, that's it. Now, I'm also taking... This situation caused me a thrombosis… Look, doctor, it was complicated, but... One thing I say: The only thing I felt... Inside me... Tiredness. The thrombosis I had, I didn't feel anything, no pain at all. My leg just swelled up. It got swollen. Then I started doing the treatments, Thank God, everything was cured. Doctor, I think the injection that I keep taking. Those two that I take. Putz, but there were so many. That I don't remember. She's the one who…
Interviewer: But what do you…
Valdir Fernandes: Oh, yes, you say... I did… No, no, I didn't feel anything. I had... I mean I felt a back pain. That's where the doctor asked for those tests there… Which I do, I do the whole body. Right. Who then appeared where he asked me to do a week of radiotherapy, And for the rest, I did two sessions of chemotherapy. Every 14 days... 13, 14, 15 days on average. For me to do chemo. And I did it until December 27th. It was the last one I did. Then it's over. I've already started... It took about a month for me to get my conditioning back a little bit. I did, because I've always had very good physical conditioning... Due to the things I've always done.
Physical Health & Exercise Journey:
Doctor, it was very, very difficult. It was very difficult. I kept doing the math. To finish that chemo. And it was every 13, 14 days... Putz, x still is missing. It didn't pass. Looks like time doesn't pass. That's the feeling I had. Did you understand?? That it didn't expire, it wasn’t ending. When the last one came... December 27 was the last, I thanked God! Finished. Then the trend, it was just me, I've been getting better. I've improved. My fitness, everything. Did you understand?? And more the follow-up... Of Dr. Fernando. And thank God today I'm... I'm not going to tell you that I'm 100% of what I was. Even due to my age too, right, doctor. Age hits you, too. And I consider myself that way... What I did, that today I'm just in the gym training. I started with 2 km, today I'm at 7. Walking 5.8, 6. 5.5. That I'm not going to have... still gives those spikes. I don't know if I'm coming back. I might be able to get it up front. But I feel super well. Super well. Very well.
I even commented with my partner... And my son... That he said like that, said: "Valdir, is that you..." And he's a gym owner many years ago... this partner of mine. And he's very dedicated to sports. He says: "What helped you the most was the sports." I said: "That's what I hear from my doctors." Because I know how important it is. And I'm a guy, Doctor, I'm excited. I'm excited. I'm going on the treadmill. Today I'm going there to do 5 km. I get carried away. From 5, I want to go on 6, from 6, I want to go on 7. From 7, I've already been at 7.5. Now, I want to get to the 8. Did you understand?? In a little while, I told the doctor, I want to get to 10. But it's okay. And it’s nothing to force. Oh, I can't take it. Because once, Dr. Guilherme told me. I said: "Doctor, explain to me what this excess of exercise is like." When the person sees, the guy comes: "Oh, you're doing too much... He turned to me and said: "Valdir, when the person gets tired, he stops." So when I can do it, I'm going to do it. The time I say: "Gee, now, I'm more or less", I'll stop. And then I stop. I stop and say: "There's more tomorrow.”
Mental Health Journey:
Look, actually, doctor, honestly, fear... I never had... Of anything. Never. I never did. I'm such a person... If you say: "Valdir, look, the thing here is ugly, we're going to have to do that!" "For when? Is it for now? Let’s get going!" So, I don’t bear this trauma, Doctor. I don't bear it. Because I'm a very devout guy... And I believe a lot in God. Did you understand?? I believe very much in God, because He is everything. And when the time comes, there's no conversation. Did you understand?? But the follow-up, I do. What do you say? God says: "Do your part and on my part I will help." So, I do my part. So, today I have the two doctors who take care of me, that part, clinical part. And the oncology that's Dr. Fernando you are also part... So, I'm very well attended to, Thank God! And I tell my friends, my family... everything that happens with regard to my health. My health comes first. First of all my health, I don't give up. Because I've worked my whole life, Doctor, to... for me to have this resource. If I ever needed it one day, as I'm in need of it today. But thank God, I'm... I feel healed. Mostly, listening to Dr. Fernando and... Dr. Guilherme, right? Which is the clinical and cardiological part.
It was the follow-up that I had. Especially Dr. Fernando and you. That followed up on a part. And your team. That was one that left me very... Cheerful. Because I knew I was in good hands. If something had to happen, it was something God said: "Your time has come." I’m sorry a little bit. these crying spells, because I'm a very emotional guy. It also provokes me... These... the thing about tears here. I'm letting go. This is being pretty normal, but I'm managing. So I went to my ophthalmo... He gave it to me, asked me to take the tests, I told him that I was going to travel this week now... Well, there's no hurry. When you get back, you take the tests. Then we're going to do the surgery. It's at the hospital, back at the... think it's there in the hospital where I do my follow-up.
It was a very complicated thing, Doctor. I would never have imagined... Going through a situation like this. That's never... come into my head, but it happened. The Man's up there, accompanying you. Very good. That's what I just said. God is very good, that's what I said. "Do your part and on my part I will help." So I do mine, and the rest is in His hands. And I'm not afraid of anything, Doctor, if talking like that is serious, it's going to happen... with patience. But thank God, I'm well-attended to and I feel cured of this disease. I'm super good.
Advocating for Your Health:
Look, the information I have today. The knowledge I acquired in that time period. I wish I had that knowledge. And when I talk to someone who has this problem, that, you know, is prostate cancer, You know better than I do… In man, it's... they are too big. And I saw a professional once talking, a doctor... that, for example, women get it in their breasts... And women in their breasts have a better chance to get it than men in their prostate. I heard that from a professional. I don't know if that makes sense. But today, when I talk to someone... who's got this problem, then I tell the story. How did I find out... How was the... How is the treatment what I'm doing. Did you understand?? Today I do a follow-up... Of... Every month, I stop by there. And I don't regret it. I don't regret it. Because all my life I've worked... For that purpose. To take care of my health. Since the most important thing I have is health. Because the person, doctor, without health, You don't get anywhere. And you with health you are disposed to go to work. If you're sick or ill, you can't. And you know better than me, I'm talking about... Because I'm talking. But you know better than I do. That health, health... Today, medicine is very advanced. And I thank God I have that follow-up I have today.
Oh, sure, I'd tell him to take care of it. And find a specialist, understand? That even, for example, I was a person who has had contact with a lot of people. A lot, a lot of people. I was... still continue being a businessman. But you're not in the business anymore today. I passed it all on to my son, he handles it. But I when I talk to people... with this problem, I give all the coordinates. I say: "Look, don't joke, this disease..." Because back there, when I found out... The doctor told me... There were three doctors in front of me. I said: "Doctor, but I don't feel anything!" He said: "This disease doesn't let the guy feel it." "When he feels, when he begins to feel, it's already ugly." "Thank God, that wasn't your case." I mean, if I don't take the soccer exam, Doctor... I might have gone by now. Or I'd have something... I didn't feel any symptoms. None.
Today, Doctor, in this area of this disease... I'm well-schooled, see? I'm well-schooled. When the person speaks I don't know what, I always ask. My friends back in São Paulo, where I played. When they found out... that I had cancer, because the news runs around, right? Bad news flies! Which is news of the disease. Five friends of mine... did it and they were in trouble. And they didn't know. Did you understand?? Apart from the others who did it and it was normal. I took this exam... Of the prostate... I was 40... I think 45 years old, 48... 48 years old! 47, 48... Then when I went to do it for soccer... That I've already told that story. I'm repeating it. That's where it came into my head. Gee, since I'm not well on this side, because I'm not going to... I said: "Doctor, I want to do the examination, including prostate." I told him. That's where I found out. Oh, thank God. Having a doctor friend, my partner... And thank God, I'm here today, this joke is 14 years old. And I feel super good.