In the words of Garth Keesler, having prostate cancer is truly “life-altering.” During a routine exam in March 2008, Garth’s Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test levels rated higher than normal. Given his family history of prostate cancer, Garth was proactive and consulted a specialist for further tests. Over a period of eight months, he underwent several more examinations and biopsies. In December 2008, it was determined he did indeed have prostate cancer, fortunately in its early stages.
After conducting extensive research on the Web and chatting online with other men with the same diagnosis, Garth decided to undergo a radical prostatectomy in January 2009. He made a speedy recovery after his surgery, even returning to work after only three weeks. Tests following the surgery show his PSA level as undetectable, which is as good as it gets for prostate cancer patients. When talking about his recovery, Garth was frank. “The healing process takes a very long time. You don’t really know what life will be like until 18 months after surgery.” He credits his wife, Carol, of 41 years as his greatest inspiration during this challenge, especially since she conquered her own battle with lung cancer. Garth commented, “I had somebody there in my corner who had been through something even worse, so we could really relate and support each other.”
Garth’s garden is an extension of his personality. His winning smile and positive attitude is reflected in the total disarray of multi-colored petunias and salvia, which Garth’s wife says is quite fitting for him. It is meant to raise the spirits of all who visit the garden.
When asked what advice he’d like to pass on to other men, Garth stressed the importance of early detection. “Prostate cancer is the one of the deadliest forms of cancer for men in the United States. Knowing is always better than not knowing. If you are between 50 and 70 years old, you need to get yearly screenings. Then you have both choices and chances.”