Faith

“To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.’ When God takes something from your grasp, He’s not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better”. “The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you”.

Gilbert Seibel at Saint Johns Catholic Church in Westminster, MD receiving an “anointing of the sick; after being diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2005Gilbert Seibel at Saint Johns Catholic Church in Westminster, MD receiving an “anointing of the sick” after being diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2005.

I have always been a religious person, not only attending mass regularly but participating in several ministries at St. Johns. However, when I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer it was a challenge to my religious convictions as to “why me”.

I went though a period of self-pity and withdrawal. I questioned my faith, my convictions. I was unsure as to which way to turn.

With the help of my wonderful wife, my most loving children and my belief in Saint Thérèse of Avila I was able to overcome my fears of mortality and once again become whole.

Thérèse was born in Alençon on January 2, 1873. In the young nun’s autobiography, she had promised to send roses as a sign of her intercession and this led to the affectionate nickname, the “Little Flower”.

To this day I find peace and comfort in the sight and fragrance of roses. I carry a picture of her in my wallet; and on days when life seems to get me down, I pull out her picture, imagine the smell of roses, and once again my faith is restored.

Update—04-05-2011:

My prayers have been answered as per the results of my latest set of blood results. I have now been on the TAK 700 test studies since October 19, 2010.

My last PSA showed a result of 3.71 which is down from 17.60.

Pamela’s Story:

Pamela will never forget the morning in May 2008 when her husband, Leroy, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “We were lying in bed and the phone rang. I saw the doctor’s number come up on the caller ID, so I gave it to my husband. When the doctor said, ‘You have prostate cancer,’ I lost it.” Despite the fear she felt, she refused to allow prostate cancer to separate her from her spouse. “I always say, ‘We had it,’ because I felt like I was diagnosed, too,” she says. “It drew us so close together. Sometimes, we get caught up in our own little personal time, but when cancer happened, we realized how valuable being together was. Instead of drawing far apart, it actually brought us closer together.”

Faith in God carried Leroy and Pamela through Leroy’s fight against cancer. “Even if it’s the size of a mustard seed, that’s all you need to make it. I was there praying and standing strong for him. We prayed together.” She says. She credits God for the strength that Leroy, a police officer, showed while undergoing 45 radiation treatments and brachytherapy.” He never missed a day of work – it was awesome how strong he was. I know it was by God, because radiation will tire you out.” Recently, Leroy’s follow-up visit revealed that his PSA is back to normal, and he is in great shape.

Fighting to spread the word, find a cure

Gil next to his award winning 1949 Packard

Gil next to his award winning 1949           Packard

Gil Seibel is the founder of the non-profit “Wheels for Prostate Cancer.” (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)
Katie V. Jones The Advocate
When Gil Seibel, of Finksburg, was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005, he did what a “typical male does,” he said “I told my wife not to tell anybody,” Seibel, 74, said “The kids don’t need to know about it.” His wife, Kay, disagreed. She said, “Gil, let it out.” “This is bigger than you think”’ Seibel said. Gil, who has two children, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren with Kay, took her words to heart. For the past 10 years he has been battling the disease while doing all he can to spread awareness about it.

Gil, at home in front of his garage, with Hilary (his 1949 Packard

                       Gil, at home in front of his garage, with Hilary (his 1949 Packard)

His journey is told in a large binder that documents his treatments, doctor visits and thoughts throughout the process. He has condensed all of it for presentations he gives to various groups and events where he is invited to speak. He helps run the prostate cancer support group at Carroll Hospital and has helped start similar groups around the area. When the staff at Chesapeake Urology asked Gil in 2006 to help form a prostate support group, he started the first group with a talk about erectile dysfunction and packed the room, he said. But through his talks, he said, he has seen first-hand how hesitant many men are to discuss the topic of prostate cancer.

Cancer Awareness 2015

“Men don’t want to talk about it,” Kay said. “The nature of where it is located — they don’t want to talk about it.” It is women, Gil has discovered, and that he needs to reach them. “It’s the women who force the men. I tell them they can save [their partner’s] life,” Gil said. “Women don’t take any s—. They get on the line. Men don’t do anything. “Prostate cancer has no warning signs, Gil said. He recommends that men who are in their mid-40s get their prostate-specific antigen — PSA — levels checked so they have a baseline to compare to for the future. “If you have a family history — a dad or uncle — you should really start at age 35 to get a baseline,” Gil said. “You ought to go to an urologist, too. He knows what he is looking for, what the feel is, because he is doing it all the time.”

Nancy Cromwell, executive assistant to the president at Chesapeake Urology, said Gil’s personal journey has helped him reach patients on a more personal level. “He brought the program to us and it has grown,” Cromwell said of the prostate support group. “He isn’t just talk. He has his journey so well-documented, it is amazing. Through living with what he has gone through in his journey with cancer, he can reach people at a different level than clinically we can. He is very passionate. I can’t even tell you how many people he has given emotional support to.” Gil also helped organize Chesapeake Urology’s first run/walk eight years ago. The event has grown, he said, and while he is no longer part of the planning, he does still try to participate if he is able. “He is very supportive to all of us here at Chesapeake in a variety of ways,” Cromwell said. “He will do anything for anyone. He is a well-rounded, generous gentleman.”
In 2009, Gil formed the nonprofit Wheels for Prostate Cancer Research along with Allen Pogach, a friend and fellow car enthusiast he met through Chesapeake Urology, and Pogach’s friend, Mel Gofstein. The nonprofit held its first fundraiser, a wheel show for wheels of all kinds, at Union Mills Homestead in 2009. “You could enter your roller skates — anything as long it had wheels,” Gil said, who entered his own blue 1949 Packard, an American luxury car that has a blue ribbon on it for prostate cancer.
The annual show was moved to the Fire Museum in Lutherville and then to the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium after its first year. In six years, the nonprofit has raised more than $26,000 for prostate cancer research through the car shows and private donations. “The Union Mills Homestead was our best year,” Gil said. “It brought in the most money.” For the first time since it started in 2009, the car show was not held this year. “The other two officers are not physically able to help,” Gil said of his friends’ health. Gil, himself, was not healthy at the time either, Kay said. “It was too big of an undertaking for Gil to do,” Kay said. “He’s willing, but he wasn’t feeling well either.” He is not sure what the future holds for Wheels for Prostate Cancer Research. He would like to see the nonprofit merge with Jalopyrama, a similar car show that supports cancer research and will have a show in Westminster on Saturday, he said. “I am an invited guest at Jalopyrama,” Gil said. “I was asked to bring my car as a guest. I would like to talk with [Jalopyrama organizer Michael Szuba] and convince him [to] combine.”
Gil has had many ups and downs throughout the years. He has gone through numerous test trials for different drugs, almost becoming a “poster child” for one of them, he said, when his prostate-specific antigen levels remained steady. Unfortunately, they rose. “Three rises in a row in a test trial and you’re out the door,” Gil said. “I’m in the 10-10-10 club. Ten drugs, 10 years, 10 failures.” “He’s kind of a guinea pig for all of this,” Kay said. Gil does constant research on the computer looking for test trials and talking with doctors around the country. “There are more new drugs for prostate cancer than 10 years ago,” Gil said. “I was told I had eight years if I did nothing. I chose to do [treatments and test trials]. When I look back on it, I did the stuff I had to do.” “We are in a very good area,” Kay said. “[National Institute of Health], Hopkins, University of Maryland, Chesapeake Urology are top-rate institutions for research, trials, and all kinds of medical procedures.”

Five years ago, the Cleveland Clinic contacted Gil and asked him to be part of “4th Angel,” a mentoring program between a patient with a cancer diagnosis and someone who has made a similar journey. While he doesn’t get many phone calls, he takes it seriously. “I try to hold them up,” Gil said of talking with people on the phone. “When I was told I had cancer, I didn’t sleep for seven months.”
Besides leading the prostate support group at Carroll Hospital, Gil also volunteers at the hospital through his church, St. John’s Catholic Church in Westminster. “I visit every Catholic patient,” Seidel said. “I pray with them and give them communion if they want it. I enjoy it — I really do.”
Earlier this year, Gil learned that the cancer had spread into his bones, causing him pain, Kay said. Today, after recently completing another test trial, Gil is pain free, though his cancer is at Stage 4 and will continue to spread throughout his body, he said. “Right now, I don’t have a pain in my body,” Gil said. “I thank God every day for breath in my body.” He continues to fight, he said, in order to reach an important milestone.
“My 50th wedding anniversary is in February,” Gil said. “I hope to make my 50th anniversary.”

“My 50th wedding anniversary is in February,” Gil said. “I hope to make my 50th anniversary.”
For more information about Wheels for Prostate Cancer Research, visit  www.wheelsforprostatecancerresearch.org.

PLEASE HELP KEEP OUR SITE ALIVE

Donations can be sent to:

Wheels for Prostate Cancer Research

PO Box 65086

Baltimore, MD 21209.

Copyright © 2015, Carroll County Times, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication