Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Cold Water Shock From “The Dreaded Words”

I never expected to hear "the dreaded words" directed at me.  I don’t think anyone ever does.

Life – especially in retirement – has a way of lulling you into your particular zone of comfortable existence. 

In that genre, days go by, and time passes mostly uneventfully.  Reality seems to mimic the feeling of living in a cocoon-like blur.  
Coasting along contentedly in that relaxed haziness, suddenly, one day, you are confronted with three words that clear the fog instantly and jar you to your senses like a splash of ice cold water in the face: 

“You have cancer.”
Whether I consciously realized it or not, my life was abruptly an apple cart upset.  I had no idea so many thoughts could go through one’s mind so quickly. 

I told my wife the news as soon as I got off the phone with my doctor.  I could hear the words coming calmly out of my mouth, but I knew I wasn’t processing what I was saying.
My immediate reaction was to look for positive things amidst the distressing news (that’s just my nature).  Let’s see, I quickly remembered, the doc did say it was treatable – and there were no words like “urgency” or “short time” or “limited options.”

What he also said was that I’d have to have a couple of important tests, including a bone scan, (utilizing hi-tech equipment similar to that shown in the photo above) to see if the disease had spread.  A biopsy had revealed the sarcoma was centralized in the prostate gland.
The human male species and prostate cancer are inevitably intertwined.  My doc told me that in the studies he’s seen regarding autopsies on men over age 90, NONE had ever been done without finding some degree of malignancy in this strategic male organ.

For a male, it appears to be virtually inevitable.  As you age, you WILL get prostate cancer.  Fortunately, the majority of manifestations occurs later in life, and most are of the “watch and wait” variety requiring no immediate treatment.  Mine, however, needs some therapy.
In future posts I may delve into some of the things one has to deal with regarding accepting, processing, and dealing with the many ramifications of what has happened.   I’ve discovered that, for me, just writing about it has somewhat of a cathartic effect – and perhaps a person or two may even  find some resonance in it. 

The good news is that with proper care and treatment, I’m told that my malady should be able to be completely eradicated and that I’m likely to remain an ageing and somewhat cantankerous old fisherman for quite a while to come.   But for the short term I’m focused on adapting to treatment and learning to live with cancer.

1 comment:

Ed Wall said...

Thanks for your post, Roger.

As the mate of one who had cancer and has survived it, I can tell you it is "almost" as traumatic for your mate as for yourself. Kay Lynne will also need our encouragement, support and prayers.

When our family doctor looked at me and told me Darlene has cancer it just "knocked my socks off" of me. I cried all the way home.

But God is good and provides comfort and peace. He also allows us the benefit of well trained medical folks.

Roger, I will be there in prayer and support for you as you go through this battle. We have gone through some tough times together in out years as friends and business partners. You are far more able today to deal with this issue than many of us would be. I know your faith in our Savior will be your main foundation.

Blessings, buddy!