January 17, 2022
I awoke from a good night's sleep to frost on the lawn this morning. It was a clear and crisp winter morning. The birds were singing and welcoming the new day. The sun slid gently over the horizon, spilling its rainbow of warm colors across the sky to my back porch. The coldness of this January morning was evident when Harry, our golden doodle, went out and had a steaming poop.
It has been five days since saying goodbye and good riddance to my big prostate that had cancer. I was first diagnosed with the localized disease in one biopsy core in 2018. My urologist had seen my PSA levels rising. After three different biopsies, the last one in November 2021, I was told it was time to have it removed. Since I am very tall and God had blessed me with a whopper of a prostate, other options such as radiation were not recommended. My prostate weighed 135 grams, with a normal one the size of a plum at 30 to 40 grams. Mine was a orange. The joys of being a big guy! So off to the surgical route and a urological oncologist with lots and lots of experience, Dr. Miles.
I was also lucky to be friends with, and to have worked with many other talented Dr's while practicing, so I had lots of sage advice to help me along the way.
One of the joys of having this done is that I will now be able to sit thru a movie and not have to find relief in every bathroom or to stop along the road for comfort.
I had about six weeks from diagnosis to a surgery date. I climbed on my Pedigo E-bike and put 450 miles on it, getting in shape. We also isolated at the lake, avoiding Covid 19 and the Omicron surge. When I went to do my pre-op, the nurse told me that the Methodist hospital system had had over 650 employees out the prior week due to Covid. I must say, everyone wore masks and face protection during my entire stay.
Luckily my pre-op PCR test was negative.
The morning of my procedure, I got a wink from the sun gods and we were off to Houston. I met my anesthesia team, and they did a regional block that helped a lot with the discomfort post-op.
Men, be sure to get your PSA checked and have yearly exams. Prostate cancer is treatable and, if caught early, has excellent long-term results. I was lucky that my pre-op MRI's and surgical lymph nodes biopsies all showed no sign of spread of this cancer.
Since surgery, I have had some time to muse about life.
First, and this has been recurring, is sincere gratitude. I have a fabulous village of family and friends that have given me fantastic encouragement, love, and support. When I read about all the divisiveness in the world, I am grateful in my village that gets no traction.
Second, I had no idea how vulnerable your body becomes when undergoing extensive urological surgery. All the bags, catheters, diapers(yes, Depends), and surgical secretions you produce are somewhat astounding. Then to have to lean on my wife to help with this, you get a clear picture of what commitment and love are. Elizabeth, you are my angel!!
The third is the unbelievable joy of the grandkids. Zoom chats playing with tigers, elephants, and silly masks. The giggles and the unique pleasure of my daughter and her husband with their two kids, Frances and Charlie. They are too young for vaccinations, and the isolation at the lake is an excellent solution to keep them safe. They will be staying in the studio side until their house repairs/rebuild are done.
I have gotten a hand-made get well book from my supergirl granddaughter, Frances.
Yesterday, the kids pulled my old fire engines out of a box in the attic. We read a fabulous children's book about re-purposing an old fire truck, and hours of fun and play ensued.
Fourth, I just finished a walk around the whole block at the lake. Not a land speed record, but an accomplishment. I was cheered on by the birds and sun, and felt such gratitude to have excellent medical care so close to us in Houston.
To keep my mind busy during the wait preceding surgery, I made 23 pairs of copper ginkgo leaf earrings for my team. It takes so many professionals, besides the doctors, to make this happen. It was rewarding to have so many smiles from them. I also gave them this note.
I had never imagined this journey to be so cathartic, and I am grateful for receiving such fabulous medicine for my body and soul.
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