“ "Live your life". I had the BEST time of my life during the surgery and radiation. I learned to love and be loved
Steve Cooper is an active Prostate-mAss Kicker! Steve was a solider, police officer, professor, college president and now a distinguished “post treatment thriver.” He is the owner and publisher of Today’s Campus magazine, a bimonthly magazine, which covers various topics in higher education such as financial aid, leadership, technology and other relevant areas. Steve has extensive experience in higher education. From June 2007 to May 2011 he was the CEO of an online construction management university which was sold to Nouveau University, reacquired, and renamed Chandler University. Steve is also a highly decorated veteran serving nearly 18 years in the US Army (Light Infantry and Law Enforcement). We were very honored to find some time to ask him some questions.
mK: Thanks for doing this Steve! What/ when was your diagnosis? How did you find out about your diagnosis?
SC: I was diagnosed by a urologist at the Veteran’s Administration hospital on 12/21/2012 that I had stage 4, metastatic prostate cancer that was inoperable.
mK: What were your symptoms?
SC: At the time I didn’t notice any. Looking back, I had pelvic pain and was starting to have urinary problems.
mK: What were the toughest post treatment side effects you had to deal with? How did you overcome them?
SC: There have been many and continue as I am on a drug that suppresses my testosterone since testosterone fuels prostate cancer so I have literally no testosterone. Also, leaking urine was definitely tough and can be a big problem in public, especially when you never know when it can happen again.
So, to overcome the leaking I continue to do a lot of pelvic floor exercises. When I realized i would have my prostate removed, I knew they would be cutting into my abdomen so I called my friend Julie Poplawski. I knew she trained muscles “down there” but that was all I knew. The model she developed is revolutionizing the way that men are approaching their prostate cancer treatment as they are now beginning to physically train and battle BEFORE surgery – I think this is one of the most important advances in recent medical history in terms of post surgical outcomes – here are the videos we made for men facing prostate cancer surgery:
mK: What are Pelvic Floor exercises? Can you describe them?
SC: LET’S GET JULIE TO ANSWER? (interview coming soon) and I would add, think of a lot of lifting of “the boys”… the results are incredible. I was able to start and stop my urine flow a week after my surgery, had relatively little leaking, and had erectile function very quickly after surgery.
mK: Why did you start doing Ironmans?
SC: Two fold – to get in the best shape possible to have a better outcome from surgery, radiation, medications and chemo. And to impress a girl…the latter was a bad idea, and didn’t work LOL.
I was honored to learn that I was the first person to complete an Ironman while undergoing radiation for prostate cancer on November 17, 2013:
mK: Pretty cool. Trying to impress girls has probably led to the accomplishment of many great AND many stupid things… Who is your hero or heroes?
SC: My Mom and sister and those who serve in our Armed Forces. Also, my hero’s are those who helped me during the greatest challenge of my life while battling for my life during the cancer treatment: Julie Poplawski, my friend and pelvic floor instructor, and Jessica Kelley, my former personal assistant.
mK: What motivates you?
SC: Life, love, and inspiring others.
mK: When was the first time you felt like yourself after your diagnosis?
SC: Still haven’t felt that way, and don’t ever want to again. I have a completely different outlook on life that is beautiful and meaningful beyond words.
mK: You are doing some great things! What makes you laugh, cry, angry?
SC: Friends like Julie make me laugh, my pain and fear makes me cry, and people who give up make me angry.
mK: What would you say is the most interesting thing you’ve done?
SC: Lived a life as a man without testosterone or a sex drive for the past year. Other than that, I’m a pretty boring person
mK: Give yourself some credit! You’ve accomplished some pretty cool stuff. What was the toughest challenge you faced as a survivor? How did you overcome it?
SC: Toughest challenge was when I contemplated killing myself. I initially went to Vegas to end it all, and had a blow out party. However, I ended up having an amazing time and then realized that I didn’t want to die! So I decided to have surgery and battle. I then went back to Vegas every two weeks seeking out the energy, passion, and excitement that I needed to continue to live and fight – it was a very unconventional, but effective treatment
mK: What is your guilty pleasure?
SC: A chocolate chip cookie once a week at the Wynn Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
mK: HAHAHA! If you could live the life of any movie character, who would it be? Why?
SC: Tom Cruise in Top Gun, so I can get the pretty and smart girl!
mK: “I’ll be your wing-man anytime.” What do you like to do in your spare time?
SC: Help homeless Veterans reintegrate and find employment.
mK: Pretty cool! What are you up to now?
SC: I just moved to Vegas, focused on my health, writing a book about my journey, growing my magazine company, and loving life trying to inspire others to Never Quit!! Also, we just launched the 2014 Never Quit!! Tour where I will complete 3 or 4 Ironman events this year while continuing my hormone depravation therapy, and possibly chemo.
mK: Any advice for people or loved ones that get daunting diagnoses?
SC: As my urologist said, “Live your life”. I had the BEST time of my life during the surgery and radiation. I learned to love and be loved. Also, during radiation I dated a very beautiful and much younger woman, rode my bicycle to and from radiation every single day for 8 weeks (5+ miles each day), completed the Ironman during week 7 of radiation and on the last day of radiation i went sky diving for the first time then we drove to Vegas and partied late into the night!
mK: Tell us something about yourself that people probably didn’t know… anything.
SC: I always wanted to be a rapper.
mK: HAHAHA! You better have some rhymes ready for the next time we see you! Any parting words for all the mAss Kickers?
SC: Never Quit!!
Steve Cooper: MC Coop, ironman, Top Gun fan, chocolate chip cookie monster, extraordinary veteran, prostate-mAss Kicker, and all-around cool guy! He has done and is doing some pretty amazing stuff. Stay up to date with him on facebook! Thanks Steve we’ll be cheering for ya in your Ironmans. Keep us posted!