It didn’t take Rick Standeven much convincing to get a prostate exam.
His wife, Glenda, was right in 2006 when she pointed out a suspicious mole on Rick’s arm that turned out to be a malignant melanoma skin cancer.
And she was right this time, too, when she figured there must be something wrong after noticing several times that Rick had problems urinating.
In the fall of 2011 when Rick was 58, he went for an exam, had a blood work test, and had a needle biopsy done as well.
The results were not good.
It was prostate cancer.
Glenda, a cancer survivor herself, had lost her father to prostate cancer in 1993. By the time her father decided to see a doctor, it was too late. The cancer had already metastasized and he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer on Feb. 14, 1992.
Although Rick’s cancer had not metastasized, it was aggressive, so complete removal of the prostate was the only option.
Both Rick and Glenda suggest that around the age of 50, men should start getting annual prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing done so that there’s a record of the PSA levels. The testing is done through blood work. Had it not been for Rick’s previous PSA tests, doctors would not have noticed that his levels doubled in one year.
Throughout the whole process — from the first exam, to the test results, to surgery, to recovery — the two of them were handed a lot of information.
They brought home stacks of pamphlets and papers. They didn’t know where to begin or what was relevant to their needs. They wished all of the literature they were given was in one spot, says Rick.
So Glenda, a writer and inspirational speaker, decided to do something to help others.
She wrote a book.
What Men Won’t Talk About… and Women Need to Know: A Woman’s Perspective on Prostate Cancer was released in March. It’s a humorous and informative book about Rick’s cancer story complete with technical information and resources on prostate cancer.
“When something bad happens, you either make it defeat you, or you make it count. And we decided to make it count and help people,” says Glenda.
“I said to her that if I’m going to go through this, we have to make this matter,” adds Rick.
The book has a strong message in an easy-to-read format, and at 82 pages, it’s small.
“Men get intimidated by a big book,” says Rick. “They say it’s too much info.”
Originally the book was much bigger, about three times as long.
“Rick said to me, ‘Honey, if you publish all of this, we’re moving and I’m changing my name,’” laughs Glenda.
After some editing, they ended up publishing a short book filled with something for both men and women.
“It’s compact for men so they’re not intimidated by the size, and for women it has the story because women connect toward the emotional side. The men want to read the technical stuff,” says Glenda.
Priced at $10, it’s been flying off the shelves.
One man attended their book signing this past Saturday at Coles and purchased one book. The next day, at the Fraser Valley Yard, Garden & Renovation Show, he stopped by the Standevens’ booth and bought seven more — one for every man in his family.
The comments from those who’ve read it have been great, too.
Glenda’s friend said “this book will save lives”, and Rick’s surgeon said it’s “going to be a bestseller because it has humour and sex in it.”
“This book gives you all that stuff that you need to know, in one spot,” says Rick.
“It’s the best $10 you’ll ever spend. I can’t say it enough,” says Glenda.
Her book is available at Coles in Cottonwood Mall.
The two left yesterday for a nine-week tour to promote the book. They’ll be doing 30 different events, five hosted by the Canadian Cancer Society, throughout B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.
For more info, go to iamchoosingtosmile.com.