MY CANCER ADVENTURE – Episode Five – Choices

Episode Five

Choices: Enlightened and Otherwise

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
— Viktor E. Frankl

The ability to choose ones’ attitude or perspective, I believe, is a learnable skill. A skill that especially comes in handy when facing adversity or challenges. The ability to choose depends on the awareness that we CAN choose … and REMEMBERING that we can choose … eventually resulting in a very practical habit!

Then, there are those choices like: surgery or radiation? Where to get treatment? When? Who to trust? These choices will affect my work, my marriage, my body, my life … so I want to, obviously, make the best ones possible. I am relying heavily of my meetings with the oncologist and surgeon at Dana-Farber in Boston later this month. Until then, despite all my research and generous input from others, I don’t have enough information about my cancer or the treatment options to make an enlightened choice. So for now, business as usual.

Easier choices are:

Optimistic and hopeful … or pessimistic and hopeless?

Grateful for all the good in my life … or cursing my rotten luck?

Worry and stress … or prepare, stay in the moment, skim duckweed from the pond?

Tell people about my cancer and get support … or keep to myself and stew in it?

I found out last week that I do have a family history of prostate cancer. This information was completely unexpected. I was never told. Would it have made a difference if I knew? Probably. At least, if I knew, I wouldn’t have tried to weasel out of getting the biopsy that, in retrospect, probably saved my life … or perhaps more accurately, greatly extended it. An excellent choice there – listening to my doctor’s advice!

By the way, regarding the current controversy advocating against PSA tests (screening for prostate cancer), I wholeheartedly disagree. On this Fathers’ Day, I say to all men of a certain age, “get the test.” Get the test and know your options. Disagree with my opinion? Two words: Frank Zappa.

I am grateful every day to my friends (and strangers) for their love and concern, and especially to my wife, Lynne, who is sharing the burden with grace, humor and attention to detail. Life is good!

Much love.


9 thoughts on “MY CANCER ADVENTURE – Episode Five – Choices

  1. Jerry, thank you for keeping us updated. Of course, sending much love, plenty of prayers.. Take care… you Jerry

  2. Yes, it really is all about choices Jerry. Knowing what they are and where they are to be found is all part of the adventure. We take life for granted, until it presents conditions. There aren’t any guarantees but that just means that you have the freedom to take what life offers on your terms. Enjoy your choices my friend.

  3. From the Operating Room Nurse… Surgery! Today is my appointment for my 9 month post operative doctor’s visit for the melanoma surgery I had last year. Someday you’ll be 9 months post op (if you have surgery) and then 12 months etc. I already have my 12 month post op appointment (every 3 months for the first year… then every six months etc.) Time moves forward toward the treatment… then time moves away into healing. Take it one day at a time… daylight will come again tomorrow.

  4. The first time, I stewed:( Second time, told everyone… and was lifted up throughout, even by total strangers, and had my life changed forever.

  5. Jerry – You are in great hands at DFCI! They have done true wonders for people I hold closest who have dealt with similar issues. In the meantime, keep writing and stay positive. It’s the best medicine out there and you’ll never find a lack of support amongst your friends.

  6. Not knowing the family history is a bummer. I had a similar experience with colon cancer in my family. I never knew–until after I had a precancerous polyp removed–that my paternal grandfather died of that malady.

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