July 9th, 1971

Guest writer and charismatic Mo Bro Ron Telpner shares his prostate cancer journey.

Mo Bro Spotlight - Ron Telpner
When I turned 60 in March of 2010 I threw myself a celebration to be remembered.  My invitations looked suspiciously like Michael Jackson’s final album called This is it.  My invite stated, “This is not it!”. Three days later I was in Jamaica riding my bike, and doing the tricks I learned as a kid. I was at the top of my game!

My company was doing extremely well. My kids had blossoming careers and my first grandchild was born a month before my 60th. You might say I was living my dream. 

Who knew the warranty was up at 60? Clearly, I should have. I began looking into getting an extended warranty. Due to a PSA level of 4.8, I had I biopsy in 2009. They didn’t find a thing. I was told I dodged a bullet. I continued to live the lifestyle I had grown used to - constant travel, dinners with clients, working weekends, evening martinis, and breakfasts on the go - why should I change? I thrived on the stress of a fast paced international business. And besides, I dodged a bullet. Or so I thought.

I continued to monitor my PSA. Which stayed fairly constant until just after my 60th.  When I got a reading near 7.0 my urologist said it was time for another biopsy.  That took place on August 25th.  And it was not fun.  My first biopsy was done in Palm Springs under sedation. This one was done in Toronto.  I fainted in the recovery room and awoke on the floor to find myself surrounded by doctors, my feet being lifted in the air, and some asking if I knew where I was. Of course not! One minute I am starring in a horror show I like to call, “Revenge of the Prostate Snatchers” and the next minute, I am on the floor wondering where my hat was!

On September 7th, 2010 I heard those four unwanted words…”you have prostate cancer”.  I was speechless.

My first thought was that if my number was up, I had to admit; I have had a really great life. I didn’t have a ‘bucket list’ because I have been fortunate to do and buy the things I want. I have a great family, beautiful house, cottage, cars, and all the toys. I now had to confront the reality that this could be the final countdown.

My Gleason score was 6, which meant it was caught early. I did my homework. And I consulted lots of experts. Some wanted me to take immediate action, undergoing either radiation or surgery.  I used to joke that we start out in Pampers and end up in Depends. I didn’t want that to be me.

My urologist talked about watchful waiting. At first I dismissed this idea thinking that why would anyone “wait” if they have cancer. But, the more I read and learned about waiting I understood there was something called “active surveillance”.

Instead of just waiting, there was something I could do. With help from my support group especially my daughter Meghan Telpner and her partner Josh Gitalis, both nutritionists, I embarked on a journey to actively help my body stop this cancer.

With a low glycemic diet, daily juicing, supplements, acupuncture, regular exercise, meditation, yoga and de-stressing, I think I am in better health than before the diagnosis.

I have given up red meat, flour, dairy, sugar, coffee, hard alcohol and anything fried. It’s really not that hard to do when faced with the options. In fact, I have lost about 25 unwanted pounds and am told I have never looked better.  I am now approaching 62 and am wearing skinny jeans.

A year later and my PSA is still high but steady. An MRI done at UCLA Medical center in LA showed the lesion appeared to be the same as when it was first diagnosed.

Every doctor I have spoken with now says that I must have another biopsy to see how I am really doing based on the Gleason score. It is scheduled for November 21st. I am not thrilled but I am following the protocol.

The toughest part in all of this is the mental challenge. I don’t ever want to be viewed as “ the guy with cancer”. I seem to be able to compartmentalize the cancer and simply put it on the shelf.

I live with cancer but I will not die from it.

People tell me I am an inspiration. It makes me smile. I hope these few thoughts help you know that with a positive attitude, some will power, and a supportive family, you can definitely kick cancer’s ass.

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or follow me on twitter  @ronrants.