Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Other "C" Word

I got my test results yesterday from the urologist. The tests show that my cancer's confined to the prostate. Those are the tidings of great joy that shall be to all to all people.

I am, to put it mildly, relieved.

Now for the other "C" word.

I was in a wreck when I was fifteen and severely injured. Late that night, in the hospital, the nurse told me I needed to "void" into a bottle. Or else.

I had back surgery when I was twenty-two. Surgery in the afternoon, then around midnight, the nurse (a different one) told me I needed to "void" into a bottle. Or else.

Or else what? you might ask.

Or else they would insert a catheter to drain my bladder.

Catheter, for the medically challenged, comes from a Greek word which means "to force a large pipe into a small hole causing as much pain and misery as possible."

The doctor told me, as part of my surgical procedure, that I would be "wearing" a catheter for 6-10 days. I don't understand. It's not like wearing a coat or wearing a necklace or wearing a smile. Definitely not like wearing a smile.

My sweetheart had to have a catheter when she had surgery once. She thinks I'm a baby. I think she's (kind of) enjoying this (I'll debate anyone--anytime--about the indisputable fact that women are amused when men are in pain).

There's a reason they call private parts "private". Other than your mother when you're a child, your teammates when you play football, and your wife, no one--NO ONE--should be allowed in the dome of privacy.

Mine will be violated sometime in January.

I can't wait.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

But If Not...

According to the American Cancer Society, 1,437,180 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

Make that 1,437,181. I got the news today.

After my biopsy experience (see previous blogs) I had my follow-up today. The right side of my prostate is covered in cancer and the left side has one spot on it. Why the inequality I have no idea, although I am right-handed and tend to lean right politically.

That news was enough for me. But wait, there's more!

On an "aggressiveness scale" (whatever that is), with 2 being the least aggressive and 10 the most, I scored an 8. That means there's a 50/50 chance that the cancer has spread elsewhere. I now have a bone scan and CT scan scheduled for next week, after which I'll find out what's next.

What's next.

A few days ago, I read this verse from Daniel where the three Hebrew teenage boys responded to a cruel king who was threatening to throw them into a furnace and burn them alive if they didn't bow to his image:

"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be know to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up."

My understanding of cancer is that it is cruel and unforgiving, irrespective of whom it affects. It is a Killer King to those it encounters.

I believe the Lord will heal me. The doctor and I agreed it's out of our hands.

But if not, I will not bow down.

By the way, the teenagers got thrown into the furnace by the king. When he looked in to make sure they had burned up, he saw a fourth Person in there with them.

He's here with me, too.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sarcasm Is A Gift

Don't ever doubt it. Here's what I mean:

Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk
ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me
either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken
fan belt and leaky tire.

It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal
your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you
can't be promoted.

Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

The idea 'Love means never having to say you're sorry'
proves two things. 1) UFOs have landed here, and 2) the idea obviously came from another planet.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing
a couple of car payments.

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in
their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a
mile away and you have their shoes.

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

A closed mouth gathers no foot.

There are two theories to arguing with women.
Neither one works.

Experience is something you don't get until just after
you need it.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Being Thankful

This comes in late by some standards. I know, others wrote, spoke, and preached about what they were thankful for before Thanksgiving. I can appreciate that, I did some of it myself. But in the midst of turkey, dressing, and football I was a little preoccupied.

Two weeks before Thanksgiving I went to the doctor for some pain I'd been experiencing in my shoulder and arm, hoping that he would either give me a shot or shoot me, just so I could sleep at night. While I was there he recommended a blood screening test for the following Monday.

I went in, had my blood drawn, and they told me they'd e-mail me the results. I figured that, at the worst, I might have diabetes (runs in the family). Two days later they called me and said my PSA (prostate) readings were almost ten times the normal range and that I needed to see a urologist.

There was a very good chance that I had cancer.

I told my sweetheart that night, at home, after I couldn't tell her when we went to eat or on the way home. I didn't know what to say since I didn't know anything other than better than 70% of men with my PSA score had cancer.

I told my children the week of Thanksgiving.

I told my mom and sister yesterday.

I'm telling whoever reads this today, because tomorrow I go for the biopsy. It promises to be an interesting experience. If it's anything like the first visit to the urologist I can't wait.

First of all I hoped and prayed I'd have a beautiful, small-handed lady doctor.

Not happening.

Dr. Brock (Daniel) was neither, obviously. After lowering my pants and my dignity he performed what is referred to as a "digital" exam. Without going into the details, let's just say I've never been that intimate with anybody. Ever.

After three trips around my prostate, he told me it was "enlarged and firm on one side." I almost replied, "That's what she said" but I was still trying to regain my eyesight, so I just kept quiet. What do you ask in that situation?

Anyway, he basically told me nothing other than I'd have to have a biopsy tomorrow, using "local anesthesia." I didn't want to know where they'd give me the shot. I still don't.

My preparations for this procedure include several things, all of which pale in comparison to one: The Fleet Enema.

I've had a lower GI test done before. I prepared for that using a box labeled "Evac-U-Quik." I am not making this up. And the box is appropriately named. I drank the contents of the four bottles in the box, at designated intervals, after which I felt like a test site for atomic bombs, particularly the crater left in the aftermath of the explosion.

My wife thought the whole thing was funny. As a side note, what is it about men being in pain that women find so humorous?

With all that was in the box, there was no enema. And there was peace on earth.

But not this time. The Fleet Enema is only two ounces of something--"Not To Be Taken Orally", according to the instructions--that is going to "prepare" me for the biopsy. I think that after the enema, the procedure will be a breeze. I shouldn't need any anesthesia at all. I probably won't have any feeling left back there anyway.

Doc said he had some mind-altering drugs, but I probably wouldn't need them. I told him I wanted all of them. He laughed. So now, in addition to my wife, the doctor thinks my pain is funny too. This is going to be great.

I think I'll start a discount prostate diagnostic business and call it "Rooters 'R Us." Our slogan can be "From Your World to Uranus, We'll Dig It Out".

Monday, December 1, 2008

Georgia Tech 45, Georgia 42

To quote that great theologian Lewis Grizzard:

I don't want to talk about it.