Introduction

Gulf of Mexico, Boca Grande, FL

 

I am a prostate cancer patient-survivor since 1995. I have had a radical prostatectomy and radiation therapy and am currently on androgen deprivation (hormonal) therapy (ADT). I have no physical cancer symptoms but my PSA increases rapidly if not controlled by ADT. If you have logged on to this website, you may perhaps also be a prostate cancer patient or survivor. One out of every six men will be. Most every man who has been diagnosed with this disease asks the following, “why did it happen to me?”, “how and where should it be treated?”, “what will the outcome be?” and other questions. The purpose of this website is to share the issues, information, lessons and spiritual Biblical truths I have experienced during my on-going battle with prostate cancer. This website is written in the form of a diary (blog) starting in 1995 and especially in more detail from 2002. If you find it useful, I suggest that it be read like a book in small portions as needed.  (Two unique experiences are chronicled in the My Story 2004-2005 sections from January 11th, 2004 and March, 2005). Specific topics or key words are searchable. References to pertinent medical websites are also included. (I have omitted names of specific physicians but referenced their institutions). Over the years, I have found that many men are reluctant to discuss their prostate cancer diagnoses when interactions with other cancer survivors could result in a better quality of life, medically, physically, psychologically and spiritually. My hope is that other men can relate to my experiences and benefit from them. Since medical information can be obtained from specific links found in this website, I will focus on the spiritual aspects especially what I have learned, am learning and experiencing in my own battle with prostate cancer. To find reliable and truthful spiritual answers, God and His book, the Bible are the main sources. For example, according to Luke 5:24, God has a specific plan for your life which can even include disease. God’s plan is that Jesus be identified and glorified as God through us as individuals by “treating and healing” us spiritually and physically.  John 9:3 states our purpose as follows “that the works of God might be displayed in him” (us). How God is to be displayed and glorified in our lives varies according to His specific plan for each of us. But often, it involves our own weaknesses through disease. For example, the famous apostle Paul had a physical problem which God never healed completely but God’s power was manifested (“perfected”) through Paul’s weakness. So it can be with us as well. To find spiritual answers, one must know God in a personal way. A link on this website explains how this can be received. Personally, I am very thankful for God’s daily presence, purpose, love, mercy, help, forgiveness, and especially the gift of knowing I will live eternally in a new heaven and new earth with a new perfect body which will never experience prostate cancer. This alone changes anyone’s outlook and removes so much fear from coping with such a disease. I am also so grateful for an accepting, supportive and loving wife, friends and lifestyle (in Florida) and for being able to enjoy them. Everyday we have is a gift from God to be used for His glory and our fulfillment regardless of our circumstances.        

I will use the term “God” in its Christian context namely God the Father, Jesus Christ (His Son, who is both human and divine) and the Holy Spirit who is the guide and teacher. Most importantly, my beliefs, faith and experiences are based on God’s Word, the Bible and my personal relationship with God through my faith in Jesus Christ.         

Grand Canyon, south rim

 

 Who am I? My name is Dr. Bjarne Gabrielsen (Ph.D.), better known as “B.J.” since many people cannot pronounce my first-generation Norwegian name. My wonderful wife (Marie) and I currently reside in Florida. I am a retired university professor and government scientist. Much of my career has been associated with biomedical aspects of chemistry specifically related to the discovery and development of drugs against viruses and cancer. I was initially diagnosed with prostate cancer (pc) in October, 1995. From 1992-1995, my prostate-specific antigen (PSA) values had remained fairly constant between 3.5-5.0. I underwent a radical prostatectomy at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital in December, 1995. The cancer had not spread beyond the prostate (totally organ-confined) and my Gleason score was six (6). I was informed that my cancer was detected so early that “if they couldn’t cure me they couldn’t cure anybody.” My PSA remained undetectable (less than <0.1 ng/mL) until 2002 when my PSA began to rise indicating that the cancer had returned. I was told this happens in less than 10% of cases like mine for reasons that are not understood. While I currently have no physical symptoms (as of 2010), physicians tell me the cancer has spread to other unknown parts of my body (micrometastases) so I am not medically “cured”. Most importantly, I am a Christian in the sense that I have a personal relationship with God through my faith in Jesus Christ. God still speaks to us today through the Holy Spirit, and it is usually in the form of His Word, the Bible. This relationship with God is the most important one in my life. Having had prostate cancer since 1995 has led me on a life-changing spiritual and medical journey wherein I have been taught lessons I could never have learned elsewhere, have had amazing experiences and raised interesting questions all of which I would like to share with men, especially those with similar prostate conditions. We men may have many outward differences but we share many similarities when it comes to our bodies, mind and spirit. I am no different than other men. What I have experienced since 1995 and am continuing to experience can be applied to any of us. When men hear the word prostate cancer, we immediately associate it with aging, mortality, pain, impotence, incontinence, and possibly death. But God is able to turn a negative diagnosis such as prostate cancer into blessings even though we may not always see it that way at the time. Therefore, it is hoped that this website can serve as an encouragement and inspiration as well as a method of communicating information and experiences to a broad audience.        

Boca Grande, FL lighthouse