A few years ago a Castle Hill resident learned he was terminally ill, yet today he has received a second lease on life and is grateful for every minute of every day.
His story will make you cry and shake you to the bone, yet Russell Smith, 53, of Castle Hill, is proud to tell it.
Smith, a Montefiore billing specialist, who spent most of his life in the Bronx, knew cancer was on both sides of his family, so always watched his diet, stayed fit and went for yearly medical checkups.
One night in 2016, while taking a shower, he felt a lump on the right side of his pubic hair and two weeks later found an identical one on the left side. On top of that, he was experiencing pain when he urinated.
“That’s when I felt that something was wrong,” he said.
He went to a urologist who did a prostate rectal exam. The tests revealed high cancer markers and he had followup exams over the next couple of weeks . Eventually, the doctor ordered a biopsy, which revealed stage 2 prostate cancer.
“He called me into the office and gave me the news and it was devastating,” Smith said with tears in his eyes.
A cat scan also indicated the cancer already spread to his bones.
“He said there was nothing else he could do for me,” Smith recalled.
The urologist suggested a a regiment of Lupron, which is a shot that prevents the cancer from spreading. Furthermore, the doctor advised Smith to get a second opinion, but was cautioned that the results would only confirm his prognosis.
“I dropped down to my knees and prayed to God,” he said. “That night a voice got in my head and said keep fighting.”
So, the next day he searched for the best cancer hospital and found Sloan Kettering. He immediately contacted them and scheduled an appointment. He met with Dr. James Eastham, who repeated all the tests and discovered the cancer was treatable.
“He said he could save my life,” Smith said. “He said the urologist in the Bronx misdiagnosed me.”
Furthermore, the alledged cancer in his bones was arthritis. In 2017 he had surgery and since then has been cancer free.
“It’s a miracle,” he exclaimed. “He’s (Eastham) an angel.”
Smith sees Eastham for follow ups and is grateful for excellent treatment plan.
He discussed suing the urologist in the Bronx with a lawyer, but was advised to let it go since he was healthy.
“I don’t ever want to speak to him again,” he said. “I was angry as hell. Now I feel blessed.”
After an agonizing couple of years, he decided to tell his story. He had a book published, ‘Tragedy into Triumph, Surviving Prostate Cancer’ a few months ago and also created a health and wellness website MedinetUnited.com.
“When a man is told something like that it is very devastating,” he stressed. “You never know what God has in store for you. Listen to your gut. That’s God talking to you.”