Posted February 23, 2024

Todd Seals and wife Amanda
Todd Seals with his wife. (Photo Provided)

Todd Seals said that he viewed the proverbial message, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” differently after first being diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer at the age of 42.

In 2023, he participated in the peer review process for the Prostate Cancer Research Program as a consumer reviewer, sharing the perspective and experience of a patient, alongside clinicians and scientists.

Within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, these panels review scientific research proposals for funding, impacting the direction of research.

Seals said that he initially felt out of his element, but quickly realized his role and the gravity of his voice.

“I'm not required to be a scientist,” Seals said. “I'm just required to share from a patient's perspective.”

In 2007, after his diagnosis, Seals said that he felt overwhelmed in the face of a series of grim prospects, so he reached out to the HealingWell, an online community for members with chronic illnesses, to seek help, support, and hope. Seals said becoming involved in this community started his journey in advocacy.

Seals said that he also pulled inspiration from music, specifically country singer, Tim McGraw’s song, “Live Like You Were Dying.”

“That [song] was like my theme song,” Seals said. “That's how I decided I was going to face this diagnosis.”

According to Seals, as he adjusted to living life with his new diagnosis, fellow patients asked him to share his story.

Seals said that he shared his journey with multiple audiences through presentations to large groups, and in one-on-one phone calls that described how he endured many treatments, such as Provenge™, Zytiga™, and Lupron™. Seals said that he emphasized in these discussions the point of all cancer patients need hope as hope is a powerful tool.

More than 16 years later, Seals said he continues to advocate for prostate cancer patients through volunteering at HealingWell and other advocacy organizations, such as ZERO Cancer, HealthUnlocked, and HealtheVoices.

According to Seals, in 2016, the industry-sponsored, SHARE Network, recruited him and a fellow cancer patient as volunteers to inspire and connect with more patients focused on building a communication platform between the patient advocacy community and biotechnology firms. Seals said he also became involved in the community when he participated in the Blue Jacket Fashion Show and was featured in the online, educational toolkit, “My Prostate Cancer Roadmap,” for patients and families facing a diagnosis.

Through HealingWell, he said that he learned later about CDMRP and the PCRP.

He said that he saw how his input is valued along with the scientific perspectives towards the research.

“PCRP was my initial step into those waters again and it was such an amazing experience,” Seals said. “It’s [participating as a consumer reviewer for PCRP] a life-saving experience.”

Seals said that he credits the improvement for prostate cancer treatments with his ability to serve the community for 17 years since his diagnosis. However, Seals said that he feels more needs to be done, because the community is losing too many amazing people, including some of his friends.

Seals said he decided to commit even more of the remainder of his days to continue increasing awareness and education of the patient experience with prostate cancer.

Seals said that he is residing in his dream home in rural Washington with his wife and their daughter.

He said that he enjoys laughing to tears with them. Seal said that although there are medical treatments for prostate cancer, he thinks laughter is the best medicine.

According to Seals, he and his wife made a new goal of riding their motorcycles through every US National Park. In 2023, Seals said they rode through one national park and have their eyes on Yellowstone this year.

Seals referenced to Tim McGraw’s song, “Live Like You Were Dying.”

“I didn’t ride a bull, and I didn’t go skydiving,” he said. “But I never went on a vacation before my diagnosis.”

Seals said that since his diagnosis, he continues to live to the fullest.

“It’s been a wild ride,” Seals said.

The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this paper are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of Defense position, policy or decision.

Last updated Friday, February 23, 2024