My Patient Journey: Lawrence and Carol

It was love at first sight. I was a senior, and she was a freshman. Our eyes met from across the room … and that was it. I knew she was the one.

Carol was my best friend for 62 years and my wife for 58 years. We had four beautiful children who gave us 12 grandchildren, and our first great-grandchild is on the way.

I can’t believe the wonderful life we had together. We built our life on the notion that love and family are the only things that truly matter. At the end of the day, if you’ve surrounded yourself with these two things, it was a good day.

We had many good days. I was blessed with a wonderful job that allowed us to enjoy many things in life, including a good upbringing for our children, a safe home and traveling. Oh, how we loved to travel!

But the days weren’t always good. In fact, there were many hard days. Doctors diagnosed Carol with myelodysplastic syndrome (a rare blood disease caused by poorly formed or dysfunctional blood cells) in the late 90’s. After that, we spent many days in The Christ Hospital Cancer Center, where Carol received blood transfusions twice a month.

She was a celebrity at the Cancer Center. Everyone loved her. Nurses would transfer but would always come back to visit. She made everyone’s day a little brighter when she walked through the door.

Carol fought that disease with all her might for so many years. She wanted more time with me and our family. She refused to give up her fight.  She was an inspiration to everyone she met, and she was my inspiration to fight for more time when doctors diagnosed me with prostate cancer 10 years ago.

I had a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening done at one of my regular checkups, and my numbers were concerning. Within less than a week, I was sitting in a room in the Cancer Center with Dr. Rodney Geier (a radiation oncologist) and Dr. Stephen Bennett (a urologist) discussing my diagnosis and plan of action. They are the reason I'm here today to tell my story.

What should have been one of the most stressful days of my life was not. Dr. Geier and Dr. Bennett had a genuine interest in me, my condition and the life I needed to get back to.  I knew they were going to take care of me and give me more time to take care of the love of my life. And they did. I would only have to be back at the hospital two more times after that discussion. At the next appointment I was treated with the latest technology, and my follow up to my PSA had gone from a severe diagnosis, to completely normal. It was a true miracle.

Dr. Geier is my angel. He gave me 10 more years with my wife. The way he cares for his patients, the way he treats each one as if they are the only person in this world that matters--he deserves everything in life. His knowledge, poise and humble attitude through it all were truly amazing. I am forever indebted to him.

And my wife and I are forever indebted to The Christ Hospital Cancer Center. Love and family surrounded us there through every transfusion, radiation treatment, and prick, poke and prod. Love and family: The only things you need for a good day.

When my wife passed away in February, I told her I loved her and would be with her soon. Until then, I feel like I'm still here for a reason. Maybe it’s to share our story and help others who are also fighting for more time with the ones they love.

Cancer is hard, but love is strong and conquers all. I found that loving environment at The Christ Hospital.

A special thanks to Lawrence, for sharing his heartfelt story! Learn more about Prostate Cancer and talk to your primary care doctor about getting your annual PSA screening.