Sunday, December 13, 2015


The implantation of the gold markers inside of me has been completed.  They had me take off my clothes and lay on my side to expose my behind. I thought that I heard the urologist come in and say hello but I don't recall seeing him.  But I sure felt what he was doing, it was knuckle bitingly painful, for hours after it felt as if someone had yanked a bath towel made of Brillo through my back door.  But by the next day the burning pain had subsided.  Bring on the next procedure, of which there will be many.

Perhaps I've been kidding myself.  Maybe the last stage was something other than acceptance.  Maybe it was denial.  Denial of the fact that while mundane daily life goes on around me I've been able to briefly put this looming life challenge out of my head for 2 weeks.  I sometimes forget how serious a slow motion terror this is but get shocked back to reality. The other night I was on the phone with a friend and we were discussing rock stars who had died prematurely.  
I knew that Dan Fogelberg, a moderate star in the 1980's, had died in his 50's but I couldn't remember of what.  My friend was near his PC so he looked it up.  "Oh no, sorry", he said.

In May 2004, Fogelberg was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. After undergoing therapy, he achieved a partial remission. On August 13, 2005, his 54th birthday, he announced the success of his cancer treatments. He said that he had no immediate plans to return to making music but was keeping his options open. However, his cancer returned, and on December 16, 2007, Fogelberg died at the age of 56 at his home in Deer Isle, Maine.  His ashes were scattered into the Atlantic Ocean.

The prostate cancer in a man in his 40's or 50's is often much more virulent than the prostate cancer in a man in his 60's.  Mine's bad enough but as far as I know I don't have advanced prostate cancer.  

This is my fight but medical mercenaries help me fight it as I can't run the radiation machine or decide how much radiation is just enough to keep suppress cancer without French frying my insides and I can't reach in somehow and seed my own prostate gland with just the right amount of radioactivity. I'm glad that there are people who do this work because I sure can't. All I can do is report on time, clean and prepared for treatment, to bite down and bear the pain, to be cooperative with the doctors, nurses and techs and to pay the bills after the numbers been filtered, massaged and spit out by the medical/insurance industrial complex.

How much should curing cancer in an individual cost? I'm seeing lots of fancy and expensive equipment overseen by highly trained and talented people who administer fancy sounding tests and drugs to me, surely none of this comes cheap. But the numbers on my itemized bills don't mean much to me as I have no basis to assign a value to the various tests and procedures that I'm being subjected to; in some cases I don't even know what they are or what I'm paying for. 

The insurance company knocks the numbers down, in some cases substantially, and on the bottom of each bill I'm left with a sum to pay. And I pay that sum and pay it promptly because I'm paying people who say that they have a track record in doing what a few years ago was nearly impossible: saving the lives of people with cancer and that is where the real value is to me.

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