AUTHOR * WRITER * PATIENT ADVOCATE
Gogs Gagnon - Writing my Prostate Cancer Memoir
I’m so proud to announce that my prostate cancer memoir, “Prostate Cancer Strikes: Navigating the Storm,” has been selected for the Reef Knot Kit by Prostate Cancer Foundation BC. The Reef Knot Kits are comprised of the latest books, pamphlets, and information regarding prostate cancer and distributed free to urologists, general
physicians, support groups, and newly diagnosed men throughout the province!
It’s profoundly moving, knowing that thousands of men in my home province will receive a free copy of my book. And to think that I initially had no plans even to write a book. In fact, when I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer, I didn’t even want to talk about it. At the time, I was 57 and in the best shape of my life. I had no health issues and no symptoms of any kind. Therefore, hearing the news was devastating, and I thought my life was over. The only thing I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and hide.
As I curled up to hide, the doctor continued talking, but I could not focus on his words. I’m glad my wife, Mary, was by my side as her calm presence helped motivate me to ask questions. I interrupted him and asked for surgery. He explained that it was far too early to decide as there was still more information needed. It was critical to determine if the cancer was contained within the prostate or had already spread. After a lengthy discussion, the doctor scheduled a bone and CT scan and handed me a handful of reading material. He told me to take my time, wait for the additional test results, and to seek multiple opinions.
With that, Mary and I left the office holding hands and walked to the car. I threw the big stack of information into the backseat and drove home. It was a long quiet ride as I
couldn’t bring myself to speak. It took time, but I was encouraged to open up and share my thoughts and feelings with Mary’s love and support.
I started to write a journal, read dozens of books on prostate cancer, and researched for many hours on the computer. I joined several online prostate cancer support groups and spoke with cancer survivors and patients living with cancer.
After the news that my bone and CT scans indicated cancer hadn’t spread, I opted for surgery. In hindsight, I should have taken my doctor’s advice and sought multiple opinions. From the start, I was leaning towards surgery and didn’t fairly assess the other options. It’s critical to have an open mind and be aware of your particular case’s available options before deciding on treatment. And it’s a good idea to keep in mind that while one treatment option may work for one, it may not work for another. But I had already made my decision. Looking back, I certainly wouldn’t have fared as well without Mary’s constant support. It was a blessing to have her by my side throughout diagnosis, surgery, and recovery. She even encouraged me to continue to write in my journal.
At first, I had no plan to share my journal with anyone. However, many friends, family, and coworkers reached out to me to ask how I was doing. Therefore, I decided it was important to share some of my writing with them. And to my surprise, they all encouraged me to keep on writing. The feedback was so positive and encouraging that it motivated me to write a book. And it was important to me not to leave anything out. I wanted it to be complete, uncensored, and medically accurate.
After a year of writing full-time, day and night, I thought my book was complete. I was going to self-publish but decided to revisit the big stack of information provided to me by my doctor. I then realized the stack of information was the Reef Knot Kit provided by Prostate Cancer Foundation BC. The kit contained a book on prostate cancer, which I had
read cover to cover multiple times. I decided to reach out to the publisher and sent them a copy of my book.
A few weeks later, the publisher contacted me. They loved my book and said it was an excellent start. I was almost insulted by the words “excellent start.” As far as I was concerned, my book was a finished product. But the publisher disagreed. After a lengthy conversation, I agreed the book needed work. There were many suggestions. However,
there was one that instantly resonated with me. That was if I had to go through this experience again, would I do anything differently.
After giving it some thought, there were dozens of things that I would have done differently. Although it was hard to hear that my book wasn’t ready, I rolled up my sleeves and got back to writing. Mary was incredibly supportive and demonstrated the utmost patience, even while I spent many long hours on the computer. I feel blessed to have her in my life, and I love her with all my heart and soul.
After another year of writing full-time, day and night, my book was complete. Once again, so I thought. Between editing and rewrites, it took another six months. Even though it was a ton of work and sometimes difficult to relive some of the experiences, I highly
recommend writing. The entire process was extremely worthwhile, incredibly therapeutic, and a big part of my emotional well-being.
About a year after publishing, I’m honoured to learn that my book has been selected for the Reef Knot Kit by Prostate Cancer Foundation BC. If you live in the province and are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer or know someone who is, please contact the Prostate Cancer Foundation of BC and request your free Reef Knot Kit, which includes a
copy of my book.
Now that my book is finally complete, I’ve decided to write another book! This time it will be a coming-of-age memoir set in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia during the 1970s. It may take me several years, but in the meantime, please check out and share my articles published on ProstateCancer.Net. It’s time for men and the men in your
life to be proactive with their health.
To learn more about Gogs and the lessons he’s learned since diagnosis, read his book Prostate Cancer Strikes: Navigating the
ABOUT THE AUTHOR;
A native of New Westminster, Gogs Gagnon followed an early passion
for computers by becoming a programmer and independent technology
consultant. In the course of his career, he has developed software for
Apple, IBM, and the government of British Columbia, where he was the
lead programmer analyst and data architect.
The father of three children, Gogs lives with his wife in the Comox
Valley on Vancouver Island, BC.
Now, in addition to promoting prostate cancer awareness, Gogs devotes
much of his time to writing. His next book is a coming-of-age memoir
set in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia during the 1970s.
My book on Amazon
My YouTube channel
Prostate Cancer Foundation BC