MY CANCER ADVENTURE – Episode Two – “Tell Them”

MY CANCER ADVENTURE

EPISODE TWO
Tell Them

I am lucky.

I was diagnosed last Friday. I began this blog yesterday. The outpouring of
support and advice has been so heartwarming, that much of the sting and initial
shock has been greatly softened.

A husband of a business friend who navigated prostate cancer was extremely
generous sharing his research and experience, as was a friend and neighbor who
also went through it. Later today, I’ll be speaking to an old high school buddy
who grew up to be a respected doctor. So, yeah, I’m getting some good input.

My insurance provider, Fallon, has a “Peace of Mind” program that would involve
my getting a second opinion from a specialist in Boston. I was also happy to
hear that Dana-Farber, Mass General and other top institutions are in their
network.

The obvious lesson is: when facing a challenging situation, don’t keep it a
secret. Tell your friends and allies.

This is “Grati-Tuesday” — the day of the week to especially focus on gratitude.
Feeling it. Expressing it. Perhaps doing a little gratitude journaling or
meditation (“Gratitude Break”).

I am grateful that I have no symptoms, early diagnosis, lots of support, some
terrific jobs booked for June, and most of all, a smart and loving wife.

Love to you all.

MY CANCER ADVENTURE (And I don’t mean astrologically) – Episode 1

MY CANCER ADVENTURE
(and I don’t mean astrologically)

EPISODE ONE –
An Unexpected Surprise

I am lucky.

My physician, after reviewing my routine blood work from my yearly physical,
ordered me an appointment with the local urologist. She noticed that my P.S.A.
levels were about doubled. Still not overly high, but twice my normal.

I assumed, false positive. This was just a couple of weeks before all the well
publicized hoopla about P.S.A. tests, by the way. So, I was surprised, and
perhaps even a bit bemused, that the urologist wanted to perform a biopsy on my
prostate. This meant sticking a probe where the sun don’t shine, and collecting
samples with little needles. That is my simplified, non-technical summary of
the procedure. No need for details, I say. You can do your own research if so
inclined. And my research turned up the usual conflicting data: it’s easy …
It’s difficult … It hurts … It is painless.

I was considering NOT having the biopsy, and decided that I’d get a second
opinion from my physician, thinking that she would probably just reorder the
P.S.A. test, it would come back normal, and that would be that. “No,” she said,
“get the biopsy.”

I was not looking forward to it, but I wasn’t dreading it either. Of course,
Lynne was loving, supportive and good humored, I am extremely fortunate to be
married to Lynne.

My plan was to have the biopsy, get a milk shake at Ben and Jerry’s, and
recuperate for a day. This was on a Wednesday, I would have the results on
Friday, then work that night, giving a talk at Canyon Ranch, “Ways to Create
Miracles in Your Life.”

So, the biopsy was a little weird, but not horrible. That’s my report on that.

Friday. Lynne and I like to combine errands when we go to Pittsfield – a
haircut, some shopping, lunch with a friend visiting from Las Vegas, and the
meeting with the urologist. I was 100% expecting the doctor to say, “you’re
fine, adios!”

I was 100% wrong.

I have cancer in my prostate, and it is moderately aggressive, and I need to
make a treatment decision, and not wait.

I say I’m lucky because I got the biopsy. Had I waited for my next physical,
April, 2013, the chance of the cancer spreading beyond the prostate seems quite likely. That would be decidedly worse. Much. Worse. I could be wrong about this, but that’s what I’m thinking at the moment.

So, I told my sister and some of my friends. I’m still not sure whether or not
I will tell my 86-year-old mom and 93-year-old dad. But, I do want my friends
to know, just as I would want to know if any of my friends were going through
this.

Lynne and I are deep in research mode now, as there are ridiculous amounts of
options for treatment – what, who, where, how, when. The “when” has to be
before September, the urologist told us, and we are proceeding as if, BUT … I
need more information to make the decision.

How do I feel? Mostly OK. Not scared. Overwhelmed at times. Basically
optimistic. Compassion for myself, my wife, and everyone else who deals with
these things. Grateful that I have spent most of my life nurturing a positive
outlook. Grateful for friends and loved ones. Grateful for life itself.
Mostly grateful for my wife. She’s smart – smarter than me 🙂

Life is filled with mysteries, possibilities, probabilities, miracles and
challenges. I fully expect that somehow, this experience will make me a “better
person.”

Love to you all.