"Kewpie of the Month" for February 2004
John Lumb - Class of 1954
Cresset - 1953
Prostate cancer is treatable; my father is living proof. John Lumb, my father, a 64-year old Ava, Mo., resident, and prostate cancer survivor, recently walked 43.3 miles in the sixth annual Barry County Relay For Life. If you're keeping score, that was a 12-hour, 130 lap performance. No one else was even close.
Dad has gotten a lot of attention from hometown folks since his diagnosis and surgery in 1997. Male friends approach him in the post office or cafe to discuss their PSA (prostate specific antigen) test results and women call asking if he is willing to speak to their husband about the importance of physicals, screenings, and early detection. Dad is a people person and always takes time to answer questions or educate someone about prostate cancer.
His experience began in November 1997. To this day, we jokingly credit Captain, our English pointer, with prompting Dad to go see his doctor for a routine checkup. Captain had barked so intensely one afternoon that Dad went to the backyard to investigate. The cause of the commotion was a squirrel perched on a limb over Captain's pen.
Dad flung a rock in the direction of the squirrel, and it left the area. Captain stopped barking, and Dad felt a pain in his shoulder from the rock fling. That prompted his trip to see a doctor a couple days later. Dad's doctor, Richard Kissell, M.D., works for Cox Health Systems in Springfield, Mo. Dr. Kissell diagnosed Dad's shoulder as a strained muscle and inquired how long it had been since Dad's last prostate exam. Dad agreed to the exam and gave a blood sample for the PSA screening.
By the time, Dad got home from his, appointment about an hour's drive there was a message on the machine. Dr. Kissell had scheduled Dad for an appointment with James Webb, an M.D. specializing in urology. Dad's PSA test was 13. A normal PSA for a man of Dad's age would have been between 2 and 7.
Mom and Dad went to see Dr. Webb the next day. Dr. Webb ordered a second PSA test and used an instrument to obtain a tissue sample from Dad's prostate. The results confirmed that Dad had prostate cancer. He was 61 at the time.
Dr. Webb ordered a bone scan to see if the prostate cancer was confined to the immediate area or advanced into other areas of Dad's body. The cancer had not advanced beyond the prostate. This early detection made the difference, possibly between life and death.
Dad chose the surgery over radiation therapy, the only two options at the time. On December 10, 1997, Dad had his prostate and some lymph nodes removed. He went home on the morning of the 12th.
Attitude and surgeon skill turned Dad into a cancer survivor. Dad knew from the moment that he found out he had cancer that he was going to be cancer-free. If it weren't for the fact that Dad's catheter slowed him down considerably, most people would not have known he just endured major surgery. I don't even recall him using pain medication or the morphine injector not once. His mental constitution was truly inspiring.
Dad's PSA tests are averaging 0.0 to 0.2 these days. He has a screening and physical exam once a year.
Everyone in my family knows how important the early detection was for my father's positive outcome. Two of Dad's uncles died of prostate cancer.
Dad still does all of the things that he used to do; quail hunting, canoeing, fishing, and spending time with my mom, his wife of 43 years. Ava residents who are awake early in the morning also see him on his daily five mile trek through the city. I think that walking helps him realize how lucky he is to have beaten cancer.
He also has become a master at slipping something about a PSA test or annual exam into routine conversations with his male friends over the age of 40.
I suspect that when Jana, my younger sister, is captain of the cancer-fighting Relay team again next year that Dad will be first in line.
From son, John Lumb 02/06/2004
I am involved with the Relay for Life because of my father being a cancer survivor. This year I have taken on the roll of the Chair Position. I have had a great time bragging on my Dad and his walking accomplishments. He not only walked the most laps but none of the younger people could keep up with him. This made me very proud. My team has won the team with the most laps walked for 3 years in a row and my Dad has had a HUGE part in this award. It means the world to me that he chooses to participate in the Relay that I am involved in. He is known as “Gramps” at my house. I have 2 children that have given him this name. John David is 7 years old and Jacob Paul is 5 years old. Gramps is a pretty special person to these 2 little boys.
From daughter, Jana Luebbering 02/06/2004
Back to Kewpie of the Month Page