It is with great sadness and tears that I share news of the passing of my good friend Charles Tarleton (Ctarleton).
He came into my life at one its most difficult moments. In early 2017, after two months of what I thought was some kind of bad flu, I had been diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer with a PSA of 463.
I arrived at a local support group one evening, almost shaking with fear. I probably looked like a deer caught in the headlights because I was. After introducing myself, I learned that I wasn’t the only one in the room with such a grim prognosis. There was one other man there who was also diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. He had a whopping 5006 PSA! The group facilitator introduced me to Charles.
Suddenly, for the first time time since my diagnosis I didn’t feel so completely alone. After the meeting was over, he came over and handed me a small note with his email address on it so I could contact him. Below the address was a reminder: PSA 5006. I chuckled when I saw that, feeling a little better that mine was “only” 463.
That was the first of many support groups we would attend together, usually meeting beforehand for lunch or dinner to share whatever was going on with our lives at the time. Many times, those meetings were more valuable to me than the support groups we attended afterward. Sometimes I would come over to his house and spend time with him and his wonderful wife Wanda.
Charles was like an older brother to me, he helped me understand and brought calm into the frightening and uncertain world of advanced prostate cancer treatment. His knowledge helped guide me through some of the treatment decisions I had to make along the way. I learned from him that having stage 4 prostate cancer was not the death sentence that I had thought it was. The success of his treatment provided me with hope and stability as I navigated through my own.
Unfortunately, his body was also attacked by another cancer, stage 4 melanoma. Now he would “have to ride two horses”. I watched as he managed fighting two deadly cancers simultaneously while still maintaining a positive attitude. Not willing to give up, he took some difficult treatments along the way. By that time, Covid had limited the support groups we could attend and Charles’ disease was progressing.
When it was time for Charles to go into hospice, he took that in stride too, realizing it was the best care for him at that time. I continued calling or visiting him and Wanda at his home until his passing.
I miss you now, great friend. I hope you know how much of a difference you made in my life.