Steve is 54 years old. In May 2005, when he had just turned 44, he felt that he was looking unusually pale, and unusually tired. Steve visited his GP, and asked him to run some blood tests. Despite not being at the at-risk age, Steve was happy to also have his PSA tested as he was getting up at night to go to the toilet, and he was going to the toilet more often than most of his work colleagues.
A week later Steve received a call from his doctor asking him to come in. He was told that the news could be very bad – the doctor stated that the upper limit for someone of his age was a PSA of 2.5, and Steve’s was 8.1.
He was referred to a urologist, and a subsequent biopsy found cancer in 7 of the 10 samples. He had a Gleason score of 8.
In the following weeks he rang the Anti-Cancer Council to find out exactly what his chances of survival were. He was told that statistically he had no chance of beating the cancer; under the age of 50 cancer wins virtually every time.
Steve describes how ‘…in my head was, I am going to die.’ But he also says that he had determined to follow through with whatever was recommended; ‘….at least no-one could say that I gave up.’
In October 2005 after discussions with his urologist, as well as a number of trips to Peter MacCallum, it was decided that a radical prostatectomy was the best option. The operation was not successful, and in February 2006 he was sent for 7 weeks of radiation treatment. ‘The radiologist hit me with the cold hard facts before we started. He essentially said, ‘This is your last chance.’
Eight months after the radiation, in December 2006, Steve was told that the treatment had been unsuccessful. He spoke with a GP friend who agreed that it would be a good idea to start making DVD’s for his daughters’ 21st birthdays, weddings etc. The GP told Steve ‘… you never know how quickly you can go, given that the younger you are when diagnosed with prostate cancer the more aggressive the cancer is.’
Steve suggested changing his diet and adopting complementary healing methods, but his GP, urologist, radiologist and oncologist all dismissed these ideas.
Steve describes a character trait whereby he gets great satisfaction in life in doing and achieving, when others say it can’t be done. He began a process of empowering himself with knowledge and application of integrative and alternative healing methods ‘…let’s face it, my health was charting south at a rapid rate so if I didn’t change something I knew where I was heading.’ He tells of being hounded by family and friends to try everything, ‘….so I decided to give it my best shot to stay alive as long as possible.’ The process of self-empowerment included much reading, particularly in the fields of the using your mind and of changing your diet to beat cancer. He was also introduced to meditation, reiki, naturopathy and ‘… an array of alternative healing methods that I would have laughed at previously.’
He thoroughly researched the links between diet and cancer, and determined what foods should be introduced, and which ones should be eliminated. Diet would now play a major role in Steve’s recovery.
Steve continues: ‘A lot of books I read were consistent in that their evidence substantiated that clear, positive, hopeful, optimistic thoughts – even when there is no basis for these thoughts – are a powerful medicine in healing. What we feel, think, say and do has a profound influence on our mental, physical and spiritual health.
I made up my mind I was going to keep enjoying and concentrating on living life. An attitude of gratitude was my catch cry …. I had to take responsibility and ownership for my own recovery, and have a fighting spirit.’
‘It was also at this time that I asked God for help; I asked him to help me stay around for a while to help bring up my family.’
Six months later in June 2007 Steve was back to the urologist. His PSA was undetectable. The urologist was unable to explain this change.
Today Steve’s PSA continues to be undetectable. He has the attitude that if the cancer comes back – and statistically he says it should – then at least he has had a 10 year extension on life already.
Steve reflects on his experience with prostate cancer ‘…getting cancer isn’t the worst thing that could happen to you. We could have died from a heart attack and never had the chance to be told how much we are loved or to tell those we love how we feel about them. The sunsets are more beautiful. Friends are kinder, it has also given me the opportunity for tremendous personal growth. I have become better at saying no, and focusing my time on what is important to me. It could all change at my next blood test… but then I think to myself, it is not the length of life but the depth of life that matters.’
When he is not working as Finance and Administration Manager at Geelong Grammar School, Steve enjoys travel, family activities and keeping physically active with surfing, running, swimming and gym work. He is an avid follower of the Australian soccer team, and was the ABC’s roving reporter at the Soccer World Cup in Germany in 2006, and has played and coached at North Geelong Soccer Club at Victoria Premier league level.
Steve saw a notice at St John of God Hospital advertising the Geelong Prostate Support Group. He gave Roly Armstrong a call, and went along to the next meeting in 2009 hoping to help others faced with the same issues.
A DVD of Steve telling his story, in much more detail, can be borrowed from the Group’s DVD Library.
Alternatively you can Google Steve Radojevic “An Attitude of Gratitude” which has the speech in text where a friend of Steve’s used his speech as part of his Doctorate on the amazing capacity of the human brain in all sorts of scenarios.
Steve’s story is also in the recently published book Below The Belt, along with Roger Northam’s contribution in the book. (The book is also available in our library.)