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Prostate Cancer

Health care success stories told by the people who lived them


'A special kind of medicine' – UnitedHealthcare nurse provides peace of mind

Roy Robinson

When Roy Robinson learned he had prostate cancer, it was the start of a journey filled with anxiety and unknowns.

First came the shock of having cancer at age 49. Then came the uncertainty about what to expect during treatment and recovery.

Stunned by the news

In May 2010, Roy, of Snellville, Ga., went in for his annual exam. A few days later, his doctor called him in to talk about some blood work results.

The concern? Roy's prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level had jumped sharply since the year before. PSA can rise for many reasons, but it can also signify cancer. After repeated testing with the same results, a specialist suggested a biopsy.

Those were surreal days, Roy recalls. He had considered himself too young and healthy to have a serious disease. Besides, he lacked any symptoms. And, to add to his anxiety, Roy and his wife were also awaiting test results for her – she had just had a breast biopsy.

On a Friday, they received the good news that she didn't have cancer. The following Monday, however, Roy learned he did. "That's when the reality of this started to hit me," he says.

On the line: A caring guide

Six weeks later, Roy underwent prostate surgery. Shortly before the operation, he received a call from David Dye, a nurse who offered his assistance to support Roy through his procedure and recovery. David's call was part of a surgery-care program offered by UnitedHealthcare.*

Initially, Roy says, he was reluctant to discuss his personal situation. But, the nurse's warm manner broke the ice. Roy quickly realized David's concern was genuine. They talked about what Roy could expect before and during the surgery, as well as what questions he should ask his doctor. "By the end of the conversation, I was just really, really glad he had called," Roy says.

If Roy didn't mind, David said he'd call again after surgery. In fact, they spoke the day Roy left the hospital and a number of times over the next several weeks. During those calls, they discussed many details of his recovery, from using a catheter to treatment side effects.

David's calming style and expertise helped put Roy's mind at ease. "He was able to give some assurance that things were going perfectly normal in the recovery process," Roy says.

No matter the question, David knew the answer. It was like having someone who'd been there to walk him through every step of the way, Roy says.

A new outlook of gratitude

After a few weeks, Roy returned to his job as a controller for a contracting company. Today, he's moving forward. His experience has helped him realize that every day is a gift. Some might call such sentiments clichés, he says. "But, they're not really clichés if you can live it."

His personal faith helped him through, he says. And, so did the peace of mind he received from UnitedHealthcare and David – something he calls "a special kind of medicine."

David left a profound impression on Roy, he says. "He helped me in ways I can't really describe."

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