I am not sure I want to write this. I am not sure you’ll want to read it. Certainly it isn’t the direction I envisioned for this little blog or even for my life but life has its strange twists and turns. I started this blog with the idea that I’d just write about stuff – life, literature, faith, travel, art, woodworking, sea shanties – whatever I had a passion for and see where this lead. There have been times when I thought that if I could find the right topic to write about that I could turn that into something more than a little hobby. Who knows maybe more than three people might be interested in my little writing efforts.
That’s not what’s happened. That’s not where I am today. In the last six weeks I’ve been going through a journey of a kind I never expected to take. It’s not been a fun journey or one that I chose but it’s the kind you have to take. It’s the kind of journey that one hesitates to talk about. One that is mentioned only in polite whispers. One that I’d rather deny – run from – hide from – cry in anger against.
This line from a popular Tim McGraw song has been filling my mind a lot lately, “How’s it hit you when you get that kind of news?”
The song “Live Like You Were Dying” is about a man dying from cancer. Frankly it’s an annoying song. Heartfelt I am sure. I am sure sung from the best of intentions and meant to be uplifting and supporting. I suppose to those who haven’t received that call from their doctor it is all that and more.
To those of us who have received the call it is just another reminder of what we’re expected to do and be while we deal with whatever the future might hold. Frankly I don’t really feel like doing anything mentioned in that song. And I promise to hit you hard on the nose if you mention that other movie, “The Bucket List.”
Yeah, I’ve got an attitude today. It’s not likely to get better for awhile.
What I also have is a diagnosis of prostate cancer. The road to making that better looks like it is going to suck – big time suck. The road to this point has been a trial and there are times that I just don’t know how I am going to continue.
But my doctors assure me that the cancer is treatable and even curable. It’s the treatments that don’t sound all that fun. It’s the side effects that are going to be – shall I say less than desirable? It’s the possibility that I might permanently lose some of my quality of life – that I’ll have to change, or forever deal with something that the treatment takes from me.
It’s fear of the unknown that surrounds as I start down this path – the fear that it will hurt, or won’t work, or I’ll end up with the rare form that isn’t treatable.
It’s the fear that it is the hardest to fight. It’s the fear that wakes me at three in the morning and robs me of my sleep. It’s the fear that erodes my peace of mind. It’s the fear that drives me into depression.
I only know one way to fight fear and that is to face it down – bring it into the light of day and force it to show its reality. Then it melts and loses its power. Well that is the theory. In practice it is much harder to do.
Bringing in the light is part of why I am writing about this today. I am by nature a story teller and a teacher and it is by telling and teaching that I learn. There is so much I need to learn here so I am now, somewhat reluctantly, telling the story of how this disease has and will be changing my life.
Up until today I’ve kept the news of what I am going through to myself and those closest to me. Partly I’ve been afraid to tell anyone (are you picking up on the fear theme?) because of how they’d react, or that I have to deal with wacky advice or worse. Many people while trying to be supportive say the dumbest things. The full list of dumb things is a subject of a future post.
So far the one of the more supportive comments comes from my wife when she says, “Whatever it is, whatever has to be done, we’ll do it together.”
The second most supportive comment came from one of my trusted spiritual advisers when he said, “Shit.”
I am now in the middle of things or “in medias res“ as we might say over in the literary criticism section. The treatment of my body will begin later this week at the cancer center and the treatment of my mind and spirit begins with this post.
More posts will follow as I bring you up to date with the story so far and then as my strength allows I’ll keep you updated as my treatment progresses.