Thank you for visiting our site in honor of Region 320 team Roger Smith and Yvonne Parker. They have so graciously agreed to share their stories with the hope that they will raise awareness of the importance of early detection for cancer and motivate others to make those appointments for routine exams and preventative procedures.
We are looking forward to showing our support for them and others this holiday season and into the New Year with 'Donations a Plenty from Region 320'!!
Please read these very personal and inspirational stories in their own words:
In July of this year I had applied to Edward Jones because the job I had for the last 20 years was coming to an end. I was a store manager for Kmart and Sears and the store I was at would be closing. I was offered another position but realized I wanted to do something different and would be starting my new job on August 3rd. I had visited my doctor in early July for a regular check-up during an exam found a polyp on my cervix, my doctor sent me to a gynecologist and she performed a biopsy. In early August, I received a call that my biopsy was positive but I just started a new job I can't have cancer, I never felt sick or in any pain it must be a mistake. My FA and I have known each other for 30+ years and worked together in our younger days, so I told my new boss of 2 weeks that I had to have a hysterectomy the beginning of September and would need a few weeks off. The EJ culture is different to what I was use to and of course the team was supportive, and I could not have felt better knowing that taking care of me was a priority. As I recovered from the surgery and was back to work I now realized that in 4 weeks I would start radiation and Chemotherapy for another 6 weeks. I finished last week and like everyone else glad this year is almost over looking forward to having scans in the new year and positive results. Please don’t wait until you're feeling bad to get a check-up, it probably saved my life.
In absence of Regional Meetings and face to face networking opportunities, not all of you know me. My name is Roger Smith and I have been an FA at Jones since 2000. My office is across the street from Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. I really appreciate and congratulate the BOA's and the BOA Advisory Board in their altruistic endeavor to donate funds to cancer research through the American Cancer Society. Cancer is a disease that has probably touched us all. There is nothing more important to you and your family then to get early screenings for cancer. My personal fight with Prostate Cancer began two years ago and the fight continues. In the Fall of 2018, at my annual physical, a blood test showed that I had an elevated PSA count. PSA is prostate specific antigen and is monitored as an indicator of possible prostate cancer. Sometimes the tests can show a temporary rise in PSA and then go back to normal on a subsequent test. Since I felt GREAT, and had NO SYMPTOMS OR PAIN, I reassured my wife, Renee, that this was probably an anomaly. Unfortunately, a second blood test and then a biopsy confirmed that I did have prostate cancer. After studying various options of treatment, I opted to have surgery known as radical prostatectomy to have my prostate removed. This surgery was performed at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago in February of 2019. Two parenthetical comments: 1. Hospitals that perform cancer surgery should not have the word "Memorial" in their name and 2. The robot that they do the laparoscopic surgery with looks like a Star Wars torture device. After the surgery, you no longer have a prostate, so you should no longer have prostate specific antigens in your blood. But, I did. The next step was to have radiation treatment for 8 weeks. The radiation treatments were Monday through Friday in July and August of 2019. I tolerated the radiation fairly well, but did suffer from fatigue towards the end of my treatment. I brought a cot to work and would take a 45 minute nap when the fatigue hit and then back to work. I don't recommend getting cancer as a prospecting technique, but, true story, my lead radiation technologist is now a client. Radiation kills cancer, but it damages other parts of your insides as well. The trick is to do as much radiation as you need to do, but not more then you have to do. In retrospect, we should have done a wider area in the Summer because my blood test following the radiation in July/August of 2019 indicated that I still had PSA in my blood and therefore still had more work to do. As a result, I went through a second round of radiation combined with hormone suppressant therapy Monday through Friday for 6 weeks starting in late January and ending in March of 2020. In addition to fatigue, this round resulted in additional unpleasant side effects. After the second round of radiation, I was scheduled to do a follow up blood test every three months. In May, my PSA count was undetectable. In August, the PSA count was "virtually" undetectable. In November, my PSA count, while still low, had more than doubled from the August reading. My doctor and I have agreed to do another blood test in mid-February of 2021. If the upward trajectory of PSA has continued, then I will meet with a team of oncologists to discuss the next step. My hope is that the PSA levels out and we will continue to monitor the PSA levels without further treatment. If you've read this far, you can tell I don't mind talking about my experience with Cancer. If you or someone you know is going through a situation similar to mine and want someone to talk to about your situation, I will be happy to make myself available to you. THE KEY IS EARLY DETECTION. The earlier a problem is detected, the greater the chances of survival and the less severe the treatment. You cannot wait until you feel pain. Some of the screenings are unpleasant, but I assure you that the consequences of having cancer and finding out too late are far more unpleasant then the screening itself. If you are not regularly having physicals and cancer screenings, for the sake of your family and those that you care about, resolve to begin as soon as possible.