Stories of Hope
Prostate Cancer Survivor Bikes, Canoes, Volunteers
Article date: April 23, 2012
"I feel that because I had such a good outcome I can maybe share my experience with newcomers to the group and help them."
Bruce Rice, 54, is getting ready for a 200-mile bicycle ride this year in his home state of New Hampshire to help raise money for the cancer center where he was treated. His daughter plans to ride with him. Last year they rode the 50-mile route. It was cool in the morning when they started out, and Rice’s daughter wore a sweatshirt over her T-shirt. It wasn’t until later when it warmed up and she passed him on the road that he saw what was written on the back: “I wear light blue for my dad.” Rice says he welled up when he saw that.
“I think of the stress that I went through and it’s not only yourself, but your spouse or significant other – the whole family takes a hit,” said Rice. “I’ve found that it’s very important to have the support from the rest of your family.”
The deciding factor
Rice was diagnosed 3 years ago after a blood test done for screening showed elevated PSA levels and a biopsy confirmed prostate cancer. His health care provider gave him a DVD and a thick pamphlet describing all the different treatment options that were available to him. He felt overwhelmed by all the information and spent about a month trying to make a decision. Finally, he was able to get his case before a review board of surgeons, oncologists and radiologists at the hospital. The board analyzed his tumor and recommended surgery. That helped him decide.
Rice said, “There is so much information to digest. It all boils down to what quality of life you want afterwards.”
Rice says he followed the surgeon’s post-operation instructions meticulously and had an excellent recovery with no incontinence issues. He has continued to see the doctor for follow-up care and has had no indication of recurrence and no complications.
He said, “Everything went as well as it could be expected to go.”
Man To Man
Just before he had the surgery, Rice joined a local Man To Man group. This American Cancer Society program helps men cope with prostate cancer by offering community-based education and support for patients and their family members. Rice’s group meets once a month. Facilitators schedule speakers and instructors who educate the group about issues that pertain to prostate cancer. Recent programming has included meditation, tai chi, constructive writing and a cooking class.
Rice and his wife trained to be Man To Man peer mentors to help other men and their wives or partners. “I feel that because I had such a good outcome I can maybe share my experience with newcomers to the group and help them.”
Rice’s volunteer work doesn’t stop there. Each year, he leads a group of 40 teenagers to Canada for a weeklong canoe trip among the lakes of La Vérendrye Provincial Park. It’s organized by a church group.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” said Rice; “but it’s a blast.”