I have lost too many loved ones in my life to cancer. Cancer fucking sucks. Even when I go to the hospital to get my phlebotomies for my Hemochromatosis I sit among cancer patients – and I talk to them, listen to their stories. They are all so brave. That is why I wanted to share the story of my long time friend and former roommate Javier Puga, a survivor of prostate cancer.
I am the face of Prostate Cancer. My name is Javier Puga and I am a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage on the Sunset Strip. I represent Sellers and Buyers on LA’s Westside, West Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills.
I wanted to use a difficult situation that I went through to help other men who might feel they are too young or too healthy to be stricken with Prostate Cancer. I am 39 years old and I work out regularly, I eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and I see my doctor for regular check-ups.
It was during one of my regular check-ups with my doctor, (which always includes an HIV test – Guys, please know your status,) that he asked me if I’ve ever been checked for Prostate Cancer. I said no, feeling I was too young to be at risk for Prostate Cancer. Little did I know that simple test would change my life.
1. Take us back to your diagnosis. When you first found about your cancer, what was your initial reaction?
I was diagnosed in 2013, It was shocking since I am (or was at the time) the youngest patient diagnosed with prostate cancer. My initial reaction, I was very scared!!! The word itself is very scary. My first reaction was to tell my doctor ” take it out of me!”
2.-At what stage of cancer were you at when you began treatment?
It was at the first stage of cancer (I went to get my regular annual checkup) and I had my surgery a few months later.
3.-What symptoms – if any – did you have before you found out about your cancer?
At the first stage of cancer, the only symptom was going to the bathroom several times at night.
4.-What changed about your life?
Wow, my whole life changed. I had the opportunity to reinvent myself (physically speaking, I let my facial hair grow, now when I see pics of myself (clean shave=before cancer; facial hair=after cancer ). I learn that happiness comes from within. That I am the only one responsible for my happiness. I learn to take time to be grateful for the small and big things in life.
5.-What advice and words of encouragement would you give to someone who is diagnosed with cancer?
That we have an immense power (the power of the mind) on your side. That visualization and gratitude is key for recovery.