The Process


I’ve found that dealing with this issue is much like any other thing in life. It’s a process you have to go through.


That morning, as I was having my quiet time, I got the distinct impression, for the first time, that the doctor would tell me I had cancer. In a strange way it was comforting. I could go into the meeting expecting him to tell me it was cancer… and not end up breaking down and crying in some fit of hysteria.


The first words out of Dr. Kaz’s mouth were Radical Prostatectomy, i.e. surgery. The first words out of my mouth were “I want to investigate the options.” I knew there were other options available and I wanted to explore them. Plus, I wanted another opinion. He respected my wishes.


One of the first thoughts that popped up in my head was, “Who would attend the funeral?” Now, come on… really? I’m going to die… right now… tomorrow? This month? This year? No, not really.


This is where I applied Phillipians 4:8-9. I use this scripture A LOT. You’ll see why. It says:


4:8 Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.


4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you.


Phillipians 4:8 is basic human psychology. Phillipians 4:9 is Christian psychology. Do these things and the God of peace will be with you.


I realized the thoughts were from the devil because they were only half true. Was I going to die? Yes. Was it going to be today or tomorrow? No. Soon? I don’t know. I just needed to kick that little devil off my shoulder and tell him to quit whispering stupid things like that in my ear.


As I dismissed the first thought the devil gave me a new one to replace it. “When should I schedule the funeral?” Like… I would have any say in that. If I do, then I think I’d like it to be a Saturday. I’ve attended 2 funerals this year (2004) and they were both during the week, during work. Kinda inconvenient. So, I figure… cremate me and hold the service on Saturday… unless people don’t want to mess up their Saturday and would rather take off from work. Decisions… decisions… J


Dr. Kas suggested some hormone therapy to give me time to research my options, A shot of Lupron that would last 4 months and then Casodex daily. The Lupron would shrink the prostate and cut testosterone production. Lupron, however, RAISES the testosterone level, initially. The Casodex, basically, would counteract the affect of the Lupron. Gee, medicine FOR medicine.


Since surgery was the main option it was time to research what that really meant and what the other options offered as well.


Researching the options was not pleasant. I could only handle the information in small doses at a time. I mean, what do you do when you find out that they want to whack off your Urethra above the prostate and whack it off below the prostate as well… and then, reattach it to the bladder? Then, after they do that you will have a problem regaining continence, if ever. Not a lot of fun reading. I learned to read up to a point and then to put everything down and come back to it later.


It was all a process... Researching the options, Arranging for time off from work with Short Term Disability, Making a decision, Notifying friends and family, Setting up my support group, Asking for prayers, Dealing with all of the reactions people would have.


Do you realize that everybody has their own reaction? Some people didn’t understand what surgery would really do. So, they treated it like it wasn’t a big deal. Other people freaked out all over the place… Some with strong opinions on what I should or should not do.


Through it all, though, I had peace. I’ve learned to take the thoughts, the half-truths and give them to God. I don’t do this physically, but, in my mind when I get a thought in my head that isn’t good I visualize myself lifting both hands up to God and saying, Here, God. I don’t need this thought anymore.


Did you notice that I didn’t say that I NEVER played around with that thought? Oh, I played around with the thoughts. I mulled them over. I crunched them up. And, then when I found that I was going around in circles or it wasn’t a good thought that had a good predictable end… I turned it over. You have to if you want peace. If you keep the thought you violate the scripture and you won’t have peace.


As it came time to leave for Ocala, I rushed to get a few things done. One thing on the list was a hair cut. I’ve had my hair, what little I have left, cut by the same guy for the last 10-15 years. The last time I saw him I told him what I was going through and he was all opposed to it. This time he just came short of freaking out.


He let me know of all the men who’ve had problems with laparoscopic surgery and all of the bad results. He did this in detail. As he was doing this, and not cutting my hair (fortunately), I was sitting in the chair looking at myself in the mirror. It was weird. He was doing a good job of trying to get me just as stressed out and emotional about this as possible… and I was looking in the mirror and seeing a face that was at peace with everything… even though I was just about ready to yell out, “Shut up, Don!!!”.


After a while he ran out of examples and started to slowly calm down. The last example he gave was of somebody who’d had laparoscopic surgery and DIDN’T have any problems.


What? You mean you made me sit through all of that? Grrr…


At the end of it all I realized something. It is all a process. For him it was a process that he had to work through. He cared about me and that caused him some concern.


Later on that night I attended choir practice and somebody else told me the same thing… they said I had a peaceful look about me. Wow.


Funny… several years ago I was thinking about how I could NOT handle a major medical problem if it ever happened to me. I’ve talked with several people who’ve thought the same thing, only to find out that God put them through it so they could find out they could.

Doh!!! If only I’d known!!!