“I was feeling weak and not myself,” says Patrick McLaughlin, a prostate cancer survivor treated at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.
He went to see his primary care physician for a yearly physical exam, which included blood work and a PSA test.
“I found out I had prostate cancer through the PSA test,” McLaughlin says. “It’s no different than getting a shot, no pain involved. I tell everyone I meet, ‘If you haven’t had it done, it’s 30 minutes out of your day and it’s your life. You need to look into it.’”
McLaughlin had his blood drawn on a Thursday and by Tuesday, the lab results had come in. His physician told him he should be concerned with a PSA level above 2.5. His first test results were an 8.9 and a follow-up test showed PSA levels above 10.
His next step was to undergo a biopsy to determine if he had cancer. McLaughlin’s doctor took 12 samples and 10 of those came back positive for prostate cancer.
“People I had been to said, ‘You need to heal from the biopsy, there’s no rush, relax,’” says McLaughlin. “[My physician] took one look at my paperwork and said, ‘I can’t have a 46-year-old man with eights across the board walking around. If I had it my way, I would have taken it out of you yesterday.’”
McLaughlin says his stomach dropped when he got the news, but luckily he was able to schedule a surgery for the following Wednesday thanks to a last-minute cancellation.
“I had five days to prepare,” he says. “I didn’t have a whole lot of time to think or worry about it. I just knew I didn’t want cancer and I didn’t want to die. In my opinion, [my doctor] is the best there is. I mean, here I stand now.”
His family – including his two sons who followed his footsteps and are also mechanics – went with him to his surgery.
Nearly four months after surgery, McLaughlin says he is back at work and able to do almost everything he could do pre-surgery as an automotive master technician.
“I still have to be careful with lifting and some other things, but if I were asked how my state is right now, I’d consider myself 100 percent,” he says. “It’s phenomenal.”
For more information about prostate cancer, visit the Piedmont Cancer Center.