Some people have asked why I’m growing a mustache and raising money to support awareness and improvement of men’s health this year. After all, Movember has taken place annually for ten years now, but I’ve never participated. What motivated me to jump in now?
In July 2012, my stepfather, Fritz Triebold, was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He subsequently received a series of six injections of Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine to kill the cancerous areas on the wall of his bladder. BCG treatment is a form of immunotherapy that involves flooding the bladder with live tuberculosis bacteria, which have been found to kill cancer cells in the bladder in 67% of all cases. Immediately following each of the treatments, he would come home and sleep for a few hours, then endure several days of pain related to the insertion and eventual removal of the catheter he was required to use. Not much fun.
My dad was retested for active cancer earlier this year. Unfortunately, the first series of treatments did not fully eradicate the disease, so he underwent another course of six treatments. While the experience wasn’t easier the second time, Dad was both more tolerant of the pain and more positive in his outlook. Hopes were high that he would be cancer-free when he was retested at the end of the second intervention.
And he was.
Dad’s bladder has been clear of cancer since last month. However, his doctors want him to undergo three more BCG treatments, just to be sure. This is standard procedure, but it means that there will be more pain and queasiness for my Dad to deal with, probably early next year.
This ordeal will always be remembered by our family. One way for me to do so is by participating in Movember, which aims to raise awareness of, and funds to combat, mens’ health issues. Bladder cancer may seem like an egalitarian disease, but statistics show that men are three times more likely to develop it than women. Approximately 23,000 American men will contract bladder cancer in a given year and about 5,000 of them will die as a result.
I hope you will join me by making a generous donation to Movember. Your gift will help our family celebrate Dad’s victory over bladder cancer and fund related awareness and treatment efforts for others. Please make a donation, in whatever amount you can afford, on my Movember page today. Thanks!