Learned Something the Last Two Weeks

So, it turns out there's no good way to tell your friends you have prostate cancer. I tried easing into it, but the more I tried easing into it, the more anxious I made my friends. So I'm now just saying, "Yeah, so I have prostate cancer." That seems to work the best.

The direct approach. Who could have thought?

Also turns out, after an hour consultation with my urologist, we've decided to go with an "active monitoring" approach to it, which was really anticlimactic after a week or so of preparing myself for surgery, energy draining treatments, incontinence, weaker erections, and reduced ejaculations.

If that's not too much information.

But, well, that's what this is about, right? All those things. Except not yet, if ever. Turns out my little bitty teeny weeny spot of cancer is of no dire consequence immediately and may never become something of dire consequence. All the treatment options have some unpleasant side effects that will be with me, to some extent, for the rest of my life, so my doctor offered me this "active monitoring" option, because, in his words, "I'm too young" to be dealing with some of this for the rest of my life.

Nice to know that at 54, I can be "too young" for anything.

And, you know, some people keep this sort of thing quiet and it's a reasonable choice. This blog gets next to no traffic, so it's kind of a safe place to come out as having cancer. I haven't said anything (directly) on Facebook or other social media because, honestly, I'm not going to have the patience for everyone's home remedies for prostate cancer. You know what I mean. And if you don't, maybe you do it, in which case, stop it.

So, anyway, I have cancer and we're not doing anything about it---which isn't a good way to say it, either. Because we are doing something about it. We're going to watch it closely. We know it's there and we know it's not immediately scary and if or when I need the surgery or other treatments, we'll do them then. My next appointment is in December.

And, you know. I can change my mind about active monitoring, but not so much after a surgery. The Depends company can get my money later.

What I'm Reading, Watching, Etc.

Strangely, not a lot, really. I've been reading a little bit of a Superman/Batman novel called Enemies and Allies by Kevin J. Anderson, which came out a few years ago. What with having a biopsy and cancer diagnosis, I wasn't in the mood for anything much heavier than this and I've been enjoying it well enough. I only read a very few pages each night before I start dropping it as I nod off. So it's enjoyable without keeping me up. Kind of perfect, currently.

The Cary Liebowitz show at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, which is coming down very soon, hit me in a lot of tender spots. It's the sort of show that elicits an initial laugh and then a touch of sadness. Words & Art, a local exercise in ekphrastic writing, responded to the show this time around, and it resulted in one of the best Words & Art readings I've been a part of. My own piece, "Deflection Reflection," had central to it's theme the question, "When did I learn to deflect with humor?" If you're in Houston and can get to the CAMH in the next couple of weeks, I highly recommend it.

I feel certain I've been out to see other things, but it's also true that I haven't been out to see much recently. There are things I'm looking forward to in the next month or two. I hope I can get out to most if not all of them.

Random Memory #4

Related to the first section above, Daddy had prostate cancer. I didn't really know for sure until after he was dead.

I remember being in my dorm room at (Southwest) Texas State University and I had called home, as I did quite regularly. Mama said, in passing, something about Daddy having a little surgery. I asked if everything was okay. She said he was fine, just a prostate thing. She didn't seem to want to talk about it and so I let it go. Next time I was home, I didn't see any difference in Daddy and more or less forgot about it.

Sometime after Daddy died, though, it hit me that maybe he had prostate cancer. I asked Mama about that phone call from a few years earlier. "Did Daddy have prostate cancer?"

Well, yes, he did. Why didn't she say so explicitly? She didn't want to worry me. I was busy at school, anyway.

And these brief paragraphs probably tell you a whole lot about my family dynamics.