In August 2017, I was a 56-year-old marketing exec with a fantastic wife and a daughter starting college. My house was paid for. I was in good physical shape. Even my cats were healthy. I was looking forward to doing whatever I wanted: do some consulting, ride my horse, travel, or shoot sporting clays.
By Christmas, I’d been diagnosed with stage-3 prostate cancer and was researching treatment options. Riding alongside my cancer diagnosis was a new case of anxiety that emerged as my life morphed into something unrecognizable.
By the following spring, I had undergone a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, suffered an agonizing setback in my recovery, and been catheterized three humiliating times.
At some point during those tumultuous months, I started wondering what shovel hit me in the face. As it happens, the midpoint of a man’s life can be a rocky place when the male identity experiences one assault after another on its sense of professional, physical, and emotional well-being. A cancer diagnosis at this juncture can turn the routine challenges of midlife into a shit-storm. Ironically, prostate cancer provides a kind of lens through which the masculine psyche can reassess—even refashion—what it means to be a man, a professional, a husband, a father, however painfully and unexpectedly.
Midpoint, published by Koehler books, is my embarrassingly candid memoir of being diagnosed with and treated for “locally advanced” prostate cancer at a time when I suspected life was playing dirty tricks on me. The book is also a heartfelt missive to all the men who will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year—all 175,000 of them, as projected by the American Cancer Society—and for years to come.