By Kay S. PedrottiSince his 40-plus radiation treatments in 2011, Barnesville Mayor Peter Banks has been free of prostate cancer.’What a blessing,’ he said. ‘Each year the specific test for prostate cancer has come back clean. I’ll have another test in February and I expect the same result.’Banks’ doctors, Dr. Dan Bridges of Thomaston and Dr. Robena Medberry of Griffin, apparently caught his cancer very early.’They gave me a choice of several treatment options; I chose the radiation. Markers gave the specific location of the cancer itself so the radiation was directed expertly.’Each treatment didn’t last very long but it had to be done five days out of every week. The first 10 or 20 didn’t seem to bother me but then I noticed fatigue and a general unwell feeling. It drained my whole system.’Banks’ experience mirrors that of others who have had multiple doses of radiation for different kinds of cancer. Since he had relatively few side effects, he has reflected most on the emotional effects of receiving a cancer diagnosis.’Things did begin to change,’ he said. ‘I don’t think my priorities were wrong to begin with but I did begin to concentrate more on family, faith and the good I could accomplish as mayor. I prayed a lot and I had a lot of people praying for me too, like my church here, First Methodist, and my church in Atlanta, Peachtree Road UMC. I have no doubt whatsoever that the prayers played a part in my being cancer-free.’I never did pray for God to heal me but just to be with me, guide me and help with whatever was to come.’What Banks likes most to do, he says, ‘is of course, play with my grandchildren and be with them.’He has twin daughters and a younger daughter; one of the twins has triplet grandchildren who are now 18 and in college. The other grands are younger but they all light up his life, Banks added.Future plans may include ‘doing some more traveling,’ maybe revisiting one of his favorite places, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. He enjoyed scuba diving for most of his years and was able to share their first ‘open water dives’ with his children and grandchildren.’I want folks to know it’s important to have checkups regularly and follow medical advice. Thank God cancer isn’t the dreaded disease it used to be ‘“ all of us who have survived should be deeply grateful for that,’ said the mayor.
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