Linus Kral is Honorary Chairperson of the 2019 Relay for Life of Brown County.

My journey with cancer started in the spring of 2010, with a routine physical exam with Dr. Terry Knowles. The blood work showed, my PSA had elevated more than he liked.

He suggested I make an appointment with the urologist, Dr. James, which I did. After his exam he took several biopsies, of which two came back showing cancer. He then explained I had one of three choices to make:

1) Do nothing.

2) Have my prostate removed or try something fairly new —

3) Cryoablation, which is freezing the prostate.  

I chose cryoablation because it was an outpatient procedure and being a farmer, I did not want to be laid up during spring field work.

The procedure went well and to this day my PSA count has not changed from .02, which is an extremely low number. I continued to see Dr. Knowles and Dr. James routinely on a yearly basis.

Then in the spring of 2012, during my yearly physical with Dr. Knowles, I told him I had noticed blood in my stool. We both thought it could be from the hemorrhoids I have, but to be safe, I should have a colonoscopy.

I had that done at the New Ulm Medical Center by Dr. Papierniak. He removed several polyps, thinking some of them looked suspicious. After they were biopsied, two came back cancerous. Dr. Papierniak put me on Ensure nutritional shakes for two weeks before surgery to build up my system. Surgery consisted of removing about 12 inches of my colon.

After surgery I was given morphine to control the pain — it did nothing for me.

I found out I was allergic to morphine! My system was flushed of the morphine and I was put on a different pain medication.

A very long day!

Chemo was suggested as a preventative measure, since the cancer didn't seem to have gone outside the colon walls. Twelve treatments were scheduled and a port was put in my chest. Chemo treatments were done in the oncology dept. of the NUMC where I was hooked up to an IV drip for about eight hours. I went home with a bag of chemo hooked to the port for about 40 hours.

This continued about every other week for six treatments. During this time I started passing out at home and also slipped in the tub while showering, cracking several ribs. It was then I decided I had enough chemo after six treatments. My oncologist agreed, stating the chemo had done it's job as preventative and now was taking from my body.

I have continued seeing my regular physician, my oncologist and my urologist with yearly checkups. I strongly advise anyone, especially men, to have regular checkups, with PSA tests, and if anything unusual such as abnormal bleeding or pain is noted, to see your doctor ASAP.

I feel fortunate that my symptoms were caught early and taken care of. I also feel we have wonderful physicians and staff at the New Ulm Medical Center.

After my cancer journey, there were two things I especially wanted to do. One was golf more with my friends and family, and the other was to keep playing concertina with the Sleepy Eye Area Concertina Club. I feel fortunate I am able to continue to do both.