Active Living and Being in Nature Keeps Prostate Cancer Survivor Focused and Strong
Fitness Fan and Outdoor Enthusiast Turns to Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers for Successful Prostate Cancer Treatment
You never think it’s going to happen to you. Until it does. Stan Pentecost went in for a routine annual physical in 2020 when doctors found a prostate tumor the size of a plum. Without any signs or symptoms, Stan was diagnosed with stage 3 prostate cancer.
“Hearing the C word, it’s so frightening,” he said. “I asked ‘what caused this? Could it be hereditary?’ I have no family history of it. I’ve never been sick before. I eat pretty healthy. I don’t eat red meat, I eat lots of vegetables. You just never know.”
Surgery to remove the cancer was immediately scheduled at Aurora Medical Center in March of 2020, less than 10 days after his diagnosis. Surgery was a success and the cancer was removed from his prostate. Stan began chemotherapy with Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers (RMCC) two weeks later.
Nutrition and exercise have always been high on Stan’s priority list, making his cancer journey a confusing time that brought up lots of questions and uncertainty.
“You try to eat right. You try to exercise right. You try to live your life right. You never think it's going to happen to you,” said Stan, who turns 70 this year. “It was like a left hook coming out of the sky; it knocked me down.”
A Comforting Cancer Care Team
After surgery, Stan underwent chemotherapy treatments every two weeks for six months with RMCC and says his doctors and nurses brought him comfort with their smiling faces and supportive positivity. The cancer care team welcomed him by name and asked to see photos of his park walks, encouraging and celebrating his impressive five- to eight-mile treks and dedication to his health.
“The Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers team had my back,” Stan said. “I love all of them. They are the nicest people that I have run across in a long time. Everyone you meet keeps a smile on their face. It was as good as cancer treatment can be expected to be. Dr. Nallapareddy is a good doctor. I still see her at follow-ups every two to three months.”
Stan’s chemotherapy treatments required a port to be placed in his chest to administer infusions. Some sessions, he said, went better than others. “It made me tired, but other days it wasn’t so bad. It has its ups and downs.”
Today, Stan is grateful for successful prostate cancer treatment. He thanks his cancer care team for allowing him to return to his favorite Denver trails and recreation center workouts. His biggest piece of advice for others on their journeys: Keep moving. Don’t stop.
Even throughout his cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy treatments, Stan wasn’t held back from doing the things he loves. Whenever he could physically make it happen — barring a few days when his shoulder was too sore from treatment to do push-ups or play basketball — he would walk to Cherry Creek Park at sunrise to exercise and greet the day.
“I refused to stop doing these things that I love to do so much,” Stan says. “I wouldn't let chemo knock me down. You’ve got to stay active. I’m not the oldest or youngest person I saw during cancer treatment. My mindset was ‘I can’t go out like this.’”
Staying Strong on the Road Ahead
Once his six-month chemo treatment plan was complete, Stan began to gain back the weight he’d lost and his energy levels skyrocketed. He plays basketball at the gym daily and goes to the park to walk and do strength-building calisthenics.
The Covid-19 pandemic and his cancer diagnosis coinciding really threw a double-whammy at him, Stan said. Throughout his treatment, he found solace and improved mental health in communing with nature and going for his daily two-mile walks.
“I believe in the power of health,” Stan said. “I refused to just lay down and watch TV. Depression hits everyone but it depends on how you deal with it. Walking and being in nature every day got me out of that depression stage. I know that staying active played a huge part in my journey.”
Getting Out and Giving Back
Focusing on mental health as much as physical health is crucial to Stan’s wellbeing. Living alone without any family nearby, he credits getting out, moving his body, and socializing to his recovery success and said he’s excited to give back to the world.
Stan has participated in cancer research fundraiser walks and is considering volunteering at a nearby hospital. "I get another chapter in this life of mine. What's the man upstairs have in store for me? What doors is he wanting me to go through? For now, I just follow the trails.”
As you find your way along your cancer journey, connecting with others and joining a support group can be an extremely beneficial resource for camaraderie. Learn more about the benefits of support groups.