My Knight Cancer Story: Bob Chamberlain

Bob Chamberlain - My Patient StoryCan you imagine being afraid to move or even inhale, for fear of the excruciating pain that would radiate from your back with every breath? Between mid-September 1981 and mid-January 1982, this was my life. The pain, coupled with a strange lack of any feeling at my left belt line, led me to seek answers about what might be wrong. I eventually learned that I had prostate cancer.

When I received a phone call about my diagnosis on Jan. 2, 1982, my cancer had already metastasized; my team of five doctors wasn’t optimistic about my chances, suggesting that I had perhaps six to nine months to live. After receiving that fateful phone call, the first thing that went through my mind was, “I’ll never see any grandkids.” That’s what saddened me most.

In 1985, after three years under the care of a Tualatin urologist, I was declared cancer-free. I spent the next 25 years in relatively good health—the back pain was long gone—but was once again diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007. This time around, I was referred to Tomasz Beer, M.D., F.A.C.P., deputy director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, who asked if I would be interested in joining a clinical trial. I went on to take part in two clinical trials and later started taking enzalutamide.

The tremendous care I have received at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute has allowed me to continue teaching driver education courses for about 10 to 15 hours each week, as well as run a small publishing business out of my home.

I never imagined that I would be here, more than 32 years later, leading a happy, normal life. I owe a world of thanks to Tomasz Beer and his team of doctors, nurses and staff members at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute who made me feel valued throughout the past seven years of treatments at OHSU. I’m also grateful to my wife Marilyn for the support she’s given me during these life-altering ordeals. I’m grateful I was able to be here to enjoy seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. They’re a huge part of our lives, and I couldn’t be more thankful. And last but not least, I give thanks for the Lord who touched my life through men like my urologist, Dr. Beer and others who brought their skills, training, wisdom and friendship to bear on my life. I have witnessed that the “I Care” button that many OHSU people wear is more than a slogan; it is borne out in their dealing with patients like me.