Finding Strength in Adversity

Trudy Weidenbach knows first-hand how difficult a prostate cancer diagnosis can be for an entire family. From the time of her father’s diagnosis until he eventually succumbed to the disease, Trudy experienced everything from the initial shock to the profound sadness that comes with the loss of a loved one.

What Trudy also knows, however, is that the strength of the human spirit shines brightest when faced with adversity.

Upon learning of her father’s diagnosis in 2000, Trudy struggled to reconcile this information with a man she had always associated with having a consistently good bill of health.  “Dad took such great pride in not having missed a day’s work in over 40 years,” she fondly recalled. “He always bragged after his annual exams that he had no cholesterol, no high blood pressure.” No matter how unfair it seemed, though, reality quickly set in for Trudy and her family.

When her father, Martin, opted for surgery because he couldn’t handle the idea of there being cancer in his body, Trudy and her brother found strength in the way their mother provided him with unwavering support; she literally didn’t leave his side. After receiving hormone therapy in order to first reduce the size of his tumor, Martin then underwent a successful prostatectomy.

Everything went back to normal until 2004 when Martin suffered a serious stroke. With recovery from the stroke taking full priority, prostate cancer follow up took a second seat. After some time, Martin finally saw an oncologist and received the news any family would dread.

Trudy remembers her dad’s courage with clarity. “The oncologist felt as though it was too late. But although the cancer has spread to his bones, dad had a very strong will to live. He was willing to try anything.” His courage was rubbing off on the entire family, as they banded together in solidarity.

After only one session of chemotherapy, however, Trudy’s father was deemed too weak for any further treatment. All the while, Trudy and her family remained resolute in their love and support, doing everything necessary to fulfill Martin’s wish of remaining at home.

Martin passed away in 2005. “We all really miss him. He was just such a huge part of the family. We miss him terribly,” Trudy said.

But his legacy lives on through Trudy, her brother, their children, and Martin’s wife of over 50 years, Hildegard. Whether it’s taking part in annual fundraisers in support of prostate cancer research or using opportunities such as this to share their story, Trudy’s father continues to serve as a source of inspiration through his family. “We want everyone to know the importance of being proactive about their health,” she implored, adding that research was central to uncovering new hope. “My younger son is very interested in research. Maybe he’ll end up researching prostate cancer.”
Posted: 2015-12-15 11:37:29 AM
Filed under: cancer, caregiver, family, loved, ones, prostate, remember


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