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 III prostate cancer and was researching treatment options. Riding alongside my cancer diagnosis was a wicked 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 diagnosis of prostate cancer at this juncture can turn the routine challenges of midlife into a shit-storm. Ironically, 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, due out in June 2019 from 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 164,690 of them, as projected by the American Cancer Society—and for years to come.