The Rancid Walnut - An Ultrarunning Psychologist's Journey with Prostate Cancer

Author: R. Steven Heap

ISBN 978-1-60264-994-1 (softcover)

ISBN 978-1-62137-008-6 (eBook)

278 pages


Written by a retired psychologist and ultra marathon runner, this book is a memoir, a source of information about prostate cancer, and a practical guide to the use of the latest tools from cognitive-behavioral psychology and therapeutic writing to live a fulfilling life regardless of one's health status. Despite an extremely active and healthy lifestyle, the author developed prostate cancer at age sixty-four. This book recounts his experiences dealing with this complex disease, while he continued to live an energetic life in the face of cardiac arrhythmia and surgery to repair a leaky mistral valve.
As you travel along his medical journey of diagnosis, choosing a treatment, surgery, recovery, and follow-up and learn about causes and prevention of this challenging illness, the author provides an open window into an emotional world that most men experience, but which few men discuss. Critical issues of incontinence and erectile dysfunction are given the frank, honest attention they deserve. Self-deprecating and sometimes raunchy humor combines with unguarded personal poetry to paint a picture of one man's determination to move forward no matter what cancer throws his way.


R. Steven Heaps is a sixty-eight year old retired psychologist who taught at Gonzaga University and the University of Manitoba before spending twenty-eight years in private practice. With a childhood history of rheumatic fever and polio, he has had the good fortune to be able to lead an active life. At age thirty-three, he became enamored with long-distance running, graduating to progressively longer distances. He ran more than sixty races of thirty-one to one hundred miles in length.
In 2005, Steve became involved in a group called "Write From The Heart" which used the composition of poetry to deal with life events. Therapeutic writing provided a healthy way to deal with medical issues when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent a radical prostatectomy in 2008 and again when he had heart surgery in 2010.
Married for forty-eight years to his high school sweetheart, Steve finds great joy in his wife Karen, his two children, their spouses, and his two granddaughters. He appreciates the value of loving friends and family when serious health problems arise. He continues to treasure time with them and his Chocolate Lab, Hershey. He remains involved in running, hiking, fishing, camping and pheasant hunting.

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