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Monday, April 12, 2010


I’m sitting in the Doctor’s office. After a blood test I’ve been called in to talk about the results. When you are waiting to get results you look for clues in any of the staff to see if it will be life or death. There is nothing in between your mind tells you. The Doctor’s assistant comes to the door to usher me in. She hugs me with a peck on the cheek; I’ve not seen her in a year. She has never greeted me like this before so the news cannot be good. We chant a bit about nothing as we walk toward the room I’ll wait for the Doctor in. It’s as if I’m walking the last mile with my confessor. I wait!

He enters, does not shake my hand, with his broad smile. He is about 6 foot, big boned, with a wide mouth, blue eyes and a full head of white hair. He fumbles with my chart which is getting rather thick. I’ve seen him for the past seven years for a test that has confirmed freedom from cancer during that time. My intuition tells me today will be different. He rambles a bit about past tests then gets down to business.

My PSA has continued to rise over the last year. The original was 9.2 which went to 9.7 and is now at 10.2 which equates to a 55 percent chance of having prostate cancer. He suggests we set up an appointment next week for a biopsy. He mentions that there is various treatments, but it is too early to discuss that now. After the biopsy comes back he’ll give me some options he says with a smile. His voice and smile meant to be reassuring, his lack of eye contact not so much. We walk out to the receptionist where his assistant awaits. After the appointment is made I receive a full hug from her and we talk about how busy I am.

Oh yes he has ordered a bone scan to make sure there is no cancer else ware. I’ll have the bone scan before we do the biopsy so both results will come in at the same time. Usually when I leave this office I’ve been given the results that no cancer has return and I’m chocked up with relief. Not today.

I spend time on the computer reading about this thing that is eating my cells. The articles do not do much to lessen the burden of this news. However, I want to be repaired with answers when I tell my kids. This is not something I’m looking forward to doing since their mother has be in and out of the hospital lately and is not enjoying good health. I’m going to be in Phoenix for a birthday and will tell them at some point.

I’ve told them and am heading home to Flagstaff. The sights along the route I’ve driven numerous times seem more intense. I’m taking notice of the scenery as if it were the first time I’ve looked at it. The ride seems to go by quickly and I think I’ll take myself to a movie. I need a movie to get me out of the world just for a little while. Upon arriving at the theater I enter and study the movie times. I’ve missed them all and do not feel like hanging around for the next show.

The days pass full of the same things that are usually done during that time. Arriving at the hospital for my bone scan is a break in the routine. Acting as if this is routine and nothing is wrong I sit at the check-in station. I find myself being short with the young girl behind the desk; she is new. She is nervous and tries not to show it so we joke a bit and get a grip on my attitude. The technician comes out and brings me in asking if I’ve had any reaction to the radiation shot given earlier. Since there has been no reaction we move on to the bone scan machine. The machine is much like a MRI with minor differences. We start the test and I can see my bones on the monitor overhead. Slowly the machine moves me through the imager and my inner structure is revealed.

At this point in time I have seen x-rays of my lungs and breasts, ultra sounds of my kidneys and heart, watched a camera look around the inside of my bladder, how it gets there is better left to the imagination, and now I see my own skeleton immerge a little at a time. There is something profound at looking inside your own body and seeing it working away. Especially when you actually see your heart pumping away send blood through you veins. To me it is seeing God’s design in action and knowing that every other human being looks almost exactly the same from this view. There is no color, race, creed or religion from this point of view. I’m done and the technician is not as talkative as when I entered. My head tells me this is a sure sign that she has found something very wrong.

I’m sitting in my Doctor’s office. Today we will do the biopsy something my head tells me not to do. Some of the articles say that a biopsy can exacerbate the cancer. My Doctor tells me that he has not experienced that. The Doctor’s assistant ushers me in to the inner sanctum with a hug and kiss. It seems as if we have been dating on and off for seven years now. We enter the room for the test and instructions are given. This woman is the only one who has seen my private parts in the last seven years. I think I have to get out more.

After the test and another hug I leave the office to wait for the results. My mind is having a hay day of none productive thoughts. The best is to keep busy and not let these thoughts become part of my daily thinking. Again it is time to seek refuge in my daily routine to keep me from becoming depressed and full of self-pity. I tell my cousin who begins to find Doctor’s and treatments for my aliment. I’m blessed with people who care and want to be helpful. It is not the time for that yet, it is time for me to be still and believe that God has this all under control. It is not the first time I’ve been here nor will it be the last of this I am sure.

I’m sitting in the Doctor’s office. The Doctor’s assistant comes to the door to usher me in again with a hug and kiss. Maybe we should be living together by now? Sitting in the office I stare at a poster of limp penis cut down the middle. My mind tells me that what I’ll soon look like. Shut the fuck up! Enter the Doctor and my thicker chart which he comments on like it’s my fault he has to carry such a heavy thing around. He begins and so does my mind.

The biopsy is positive for cancer 25 percent in one side, 5 percent in the other. There goes your sex life, well if you had one. The Bone scan was negative, showed a little arthritis here and there. Thank God! As he goes through the options one by one showing me a picture book. Well I can go to England before I decide on any treatment. Maybe I’ll get treatment in Europe. Let’s see 10 to 15 years that no put me well into the seventies. Maybe I cannot do anything until I’m seventy then get treatment? The Doctor is still talking about stuff I’m listening but not my head. I want to get out of this office and live what life I have left. He suggests that I talk to a radiologist and a surgeon, but not decision needs to be made quickly. Leaving the office, after my hug, I smiling that I don’t have bone cancer. That’s all that matters. I can ride my bike through Europe without wondering what will happen if I fall.

I have prostate cancer and I can live with that. I will live with that and will not let my mind let is stop me from doing and living. Then next thing I’ll be doing is buying my ticket to England where my bike will be waiting for me to ride yet again. And ride I will long and hard for the better part of two months.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

England 2010: Part One: Here we go again!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Preparing for my fifth trip to England! Having hoped to be able to do this once, I never imagined doing it five years in a row. It has been a very trying year filled with frustration, new challenges and health issues. New equipment has been purchased to supplement the old tried and true. The big question, again this year, will my bike still be there? One can only hope that for the fifth year my bike will have survived the winter and vandals. My bag this year consists of a new pair of panniers that will hold everything and stay under 50 lbs. At this point they weigh in at 41 lbs and need to be unpacked and packed again to make sure everything is inside. The last item that will be needed is a new Deuter backpack which I’ll purchase with my REI dividend and 20% off coupon.

This will allow me to carry on some of my stuff thus reducing the weight in the panniers. It may allow me some extra room to bring my Hobson bike seat. As tax season comes to an end the want to be riding my bike increases. My friend Mark will be coming over again this year for a three week stint. Tickets have been purchased costing more than any previous trip. Finding a ticket for under $800 was not to be this year. We will be flying a combination of Delta and KLM going through Detroit and for the first time landing in Heathrow. I’m thinking about taking the National bus to Salisbury as I’ve not done that in a few years and it costs less money. Money could be an issue this year, but I’ll not know that until the end of April.

Somewhere on one of my computers is an equipment list that I had intended to post this year. So I’ll have to have to head home and see if it can be found. I also just realized that I have not finished my posts from last year, especially the most exciting part. So maybe I’ll work on that tonight also.