Overcoming his greatest challenge with faith and medicine: A prostate cancer survivor’s story
Patient Glenn Miller is seated on the table where he received radiation therapy from the ARH Cancer Center team: Radiation therapists - Lester Combs, Chad Jones and Melissa Adams are standing.
Life is a journey filled with unique experiences—many bring joy and satisfaction while others challenge our mind, body and spirit.
The journey for Glenn Miller had been one of immeasurable joy and satisfaction. He had made wise choices both personally and professionally. And like most men in their 50s, Miller enjoyed his role at work yet dreamed of retirement. He cherished his role as husband and father, yet when God blessed him with a grandchild, his joy increased tenfold. Miller had a wonderful life but it was about to take a turn that would lead him to his greatest challenge--surviving prostate cancer.
“For so many years I never worried about my health, because I was rarely sick,” shared Miller. “Sure, I got a cold sometimes, but I was never sick enough to miss work. I never went to a doctor, because I didn’t need one. I was healthy . . . until I was 59 years old.”
Last year Miller became ill and was hospitalized with pancreatitis. As soon as he was released from the hospital, he went right back to work. However, he continued to feel physically drained.
Concerned that his health was at risk, Miller consulted a physician. After a series of tests, he was told that his Vitamin B12 was low and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood level was elevated. Miller was treated with antibiotics and later retested. Unfortunately, his PSA level had only slightly decreased, so the physician referred him to a urologist, who performed a transrectal ultrasound and biopsy.
“I was in shock when my urologist said I had cancer,” noted Miller. “It didn’t seem real. This couldn’t be happening to me.”
Miller shared that though the news shook him deeply, he knew that his faith was greater than cancer and that God would be close during the difficult days ahead.
“Everyone has challenges, it’s a part of the journey,” shared Miller. “What we believe in—and I believe in the power of God—makes all the difference.”
Miller was determined to rid his body of the disease. He made an appointment with Dr. P.I. Narayan, a radiation oncologist at the ARH Cancer Center in Hazard, Ky. Miller had heard wonderful stories from prostate cancer survivors who had entrusted Dr. Narayan with their care.
According to Miller, from the moment he walked into the Center, he knew he had made the right choice. The patient navigator greeted him with a smile and was kind and caring. She told him what to expect during his first visit and easily answered his questions.
“When Dr. Narayan came into the room, he made me feel at ease as he listened carefully to my concerns,” noted Miller. “After explaining my treatment options, he encouraged me to thoroughly exam all aspects of the treatment including possible side effects before I made a decision.”
Miller did just that. He studied the educational information his oncologist had given him, spoke with other men who had beat the disease and prayed for wisdom. It was then he chose radiation therapy.
According to Miller, he made the right decision. After 36 radiation treatments (lasting no more than 20 minutes each session), he overcame his greatest challenge and was cancer free!
“I cannot express in words the overwhelming joy I felt when Dr. Narayan said the cancer was gone,” shared Miller. “I want to thank Dr. Narayan and the caring team of radiation therapists at the ARH Cancer Center. Your medical expertise guided by God’s hand saved my life. God bless you.”
Miller overcame his greatest challenge with faith and medicine and is once again enjoying his journey.
September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness month. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men, other than skin cancer. In fact one in six men will get prostate cancer during their lifetime, but only one in 34 will die from the disease.
More than 2 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today. When detected during these earliest stages the 5-year survival rate is close to 100%.
The key is for men age 50 and older to understand the facts on prostate cancer and discuss your personal prostate cancer risk with your healthcare provider.
Although prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men, when detected early it also boasts some of the highest survival rates.
ARH is a not-for-profit health system serving 350,000 residents across Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia. Operating 10 hospitals, multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, HomeCare Stores and retail pharmacies, ARH is the largest provider of care and single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third largest private employer in southern West Virginia.
The ARH system employs nearly 5,000 people and has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members representing various specialties. Firmly committed to its mission of improving the health and promoting the well-being of all people in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia, in the past 12 months alone, ARH provided nearly $133 million in uncompensated care for the uninsured and underinsured.