‘I have to live my life;’ Local pharmacist speaks on battle with prostate cancer

KETTERING — He ate right, worked out, and did everything you’re supposed to do to stay healthy, but he still developed stage four cancer.

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News Center 7′s Kayla McDermott talked one-on-one with Kettering Health’s Executive Director of Pharmacy Services Jim O’Donnell who is using his story to warn others to get checked.

Four months ago, he wouldn’t believe that he would frequent the Cancer Center at Kettering Health to battle prostate cancer.

“Honestly, I feel great, other than you know… my new look,” O’Donnell said.

He is upbeat, positive, and determined to fight.

“I just kind of realized that I have to live my life. I’m not gonna let this disease control who I am,” he said.

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That wasn’t always the case for O’Donnell. He shared what it was like to learn he had prostate cancer after going in for a routine checkup.

“It was a kick in the gut. I mean, anger, frustration, anxiety, pretty much every negative emotion all came out at the same time. I mean, I would literally just sit at home and just stare at the wall. I was not in a good spot,” he said.

O’Donnell never thought someone like him, who lives a healthy lifestyle, would need chemotherapy.

“I exercise a lot. I mean, whether that’s running, mountain biking, going to CrossFit for five days a week. I hiked across the Grand Canyon several times. I had none of the risk factors. And so when you went around going, Why me? You know, why is this happening to me?” he said.

These same questions are asked by hundreds of thousands of men annually.

According to the American Cancer Society, this year close to 300,000 men will be or have been, diagnosed with prostate cancer. Additionally, nearly 35,000 men will die from prostate cancer.

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“It is absolutely essential that people get screened,” O’Donnell said.

As a pharmacist, and now a patient, he stresses for men over 35 to be proactive and get checked.

“The earlier you find out, the more chances you’re going to have to live and live a long time. If you wait, then those tools and Toolbox aren’t going to be as effective,” he said.

O’Donnell has one more round of chemotherapy scheduled for next month and he already has a trip booked to go back to the Grand Canyon next year.

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