MALCOLM “MAC” OGILVIE
Don’t Let Your Health Insurance Kill You!
Mac Ogilvie was a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and served his country for twenty six years before retiring from the service. For the past twelve years he has been a math teacher and athletic coach at the James Fenimore Cooper Middle School in McLean, Virginia. He and his wife, Trudy, live in Springfield, Virginia, about an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C. At the time of this interview he was fifty-nine. Mac is a pleasant, engaging and slightly balding man with blue eyes. His children tease him, insisting he has but four hairs left on his head. Trudy is an ashy blond with what her husband describes as “great legs.”
Malcolm Ogilvie’s health maintenance organization failed to inform him that his PSA numbers were relatively high and were continuing to rise. In June of 2005, his HMO physician performed a DRE ( digital rectal exam) and felt a suspicious bulge on his prostate, then did a PSA which turned out to be 6.8. His Gleason score was 7. The doctor then checked back over his records and told him his PSA taken the previous three years were outside the safe range.
“When I heard that, I figured I was about two years late! I liked my doctor, but at the same time I realized he screwed up. I’d known people who found out they had cancer early and who had surgery, and they said if you get it early, it is treatable. So I was hoping I could have surgery. But then the surgeon at my health organization said I don’t think I’d recommend surgery. I think it’s too late for you! That’s when I decided to visit a number of other urologists. One of them was another urologist in my same health organization. He told me he thought I need to be ready to look at chronic long term cancer! (click here to Read More)
Chapter 17 :
Does “minimal prostate cancer” Guarantee You a Free Pass?
Lennox Graham is the director of outreach programs at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. He was born in Guyana and came to the United States in 1979 to study plant and soil sciences at Tuskegee University and received a graduate degree in genetic engineering at Ohio State. He came to Baltimore to work as a geneticist at the University of Maryland. His ardent interest in the health issues of African Americans drew him to participate in outreach programs at the University of Maryland and eventually motivated him to focus on helping African American men deal with prostate cancer. Lennox ,who often goes by the name “Mr.G,” and his wife, Avis, live in Pikesville, Maryland. He was fifty-three at the time of this interview.
Lennox arrived in Tuskegee, Alabama seven years after news of the notorious Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment broke in the Washington Star. That the government deliberately allowed a group of black men suffering from syphilis to die for the sake of an ill-conceived experiment had a stark effect on the country. Among African Americans, it produced widespread mistrust of the government and white society in general. It had a particularly devastating effect on the student body at Tuskegee University, some of whose officials had assisted the U.S. Public Health Service in carrying out the experiments. Lennox says many in the African American communities have never forgiven the government for what was done. “ People don’t like the idea of being experimented on. And that is one of the major factors why African Americans shy away from having anything to do with the medical system. As a matter of fact, after the Tuskegee affair, they came to distrust hospitals. They used to talk about black vans that would come around and snatch up local residents. As a matter of fact, when parents discipline their children, they might tell them I’m going to let that van come and get you. So, generation after generation was brought up on this type of fear, you know. They still feel that way, and it is something we have to change.”
Lennox Graham did not choose to focus on prostate cancer in the university’s outreach program as a result of his having contracted the disease himself. His own battle with prostate cancer turned out to be a case of pure irony. “I have a passion for helping people, and I have a passion for dealing with the high incidence of diseases in African American men. That’s what really prompted me. I looked at all the diseases—high blood pressure, diabetes, prostate cancer– impinging on black men, and I decided prostate cancer needed my full attention.” (click here to Read More)