What is this?

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I scraped together $90.00, now I have a blog.

A very personal blog.

I appropriated the title from a song by Steve Winwood; a song which resonates with me in a way I will dive into later.

I may not have any experience or skills but my intentions are good.

And yes, Mom, I know the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

If you are reading this, then we probably grew up together, went to school together, shared a drink or slept together.

In any case, we know a little something, or a hell-of-a-lot, about each other.

In either case, it’s all good.

I have a nasty, aggressive prostate cancer that refuses to behave. My cancer continues to spread in my lymphatic system and my bones. Technically, I’m not curable but I’m not terminal either.

This is my therapy project and, to borrow from AA, an attempt to share my experience, strength and hope. I share my experiences with cancer treatment and life in general in hopes you get some benefit along the way or at least make you think or laugh or cry.

There is an old saying: “It isn’t whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game”.

Bullshit.

Winning is everything and losing sucks- especially when you’re fighting for your life.

I have some of the finest doctors in the world in my corner, unfortunately I’ve been unable to land a punch lately. But make no mistake, I will return to the ring as often and for as long as I’m able.

Just to be crystal clear, cancer sucks.

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2018, over 1.7M people will be diagnosed with cancer. In addition, over 600K will die from the disease. These stats are for the United States. When you consider the rest of the world and do the math over any multi-year period, the numbers are too much to wrap your head around.

Lung cancer is the number one (cancer) killer of both women and men. Breast and prostate cancer are number two. Apparently our sex hormones are not only responsible for fun and games in the bedroom, they are fuel for some nasty cancers.

As far as I know, I’m not in imminent danger. However, in my quiet time, I hear footsteps approaching. There is a growing sense of urgency to do something worthwhile and meaningful for the people who have shaped my life and who I love dearly.

This is my purpose now.

Despite what you might think reading this, I consider myself a very lucky man.

My experience.

My experience- life experience- is rich, wide and deep, not to mention funny and embarrassing. I have useful and actionable insights and information to share with my men friends. For my girl friends: if you have men you love in your life, I hope you gain a better understanding of the issues we face with prostate cancer, not to mention some insight to the male mind.

I can’t speak to women’s issues so I won’t try.

The most important fact I have to share, is this:

No two cancers are the same. Each person fights a different fight.

My strength.

Well, my strength is open for debate, and resides solely in the eye of the beholder.

My hope.

My hope is ever-present, I simply couldn’t survive without it.

Tangentially I was acquainted with Jimmy Valvano. Jimmy V was a basketball coach who died of cancer. Coach V was a piece of work who was ultimately recognized as a great motivator and speaker. His emotional intelligence was off the charts, plus he had a wicked sense of humor.

Towards the end of his life, he worked to re-evaluate his life, to understand what made him who he was.  He spent a lot of time filtering out the noise to focus on the important. For the most part, he tossed aside the negatives and embraced the positives.

Easy to say, difficult to do.

In 1993, shortly before his death, he delivered a speech at the ESPY awards. I consider it to be one of the all time moving speeches.

In part, he said:

…… “To me, there are three things we all should do every day. ….Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears…. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day.” …..

He closed with these words:

……“Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.” …..

Amen Coach.

A cancer diagnosis makes you sit up straight and pay attention.

You focus your energy and thoughts, time becomes precious- there is none to waste.

You reflect on the past, live every single minute of the present and pray hard for the future. You laugh, cry and love in new and different ways. Greetings are more joyful and taking one’s leave becomes increasingly difficult.

I find that laughter really is the best medicine and tears the rawest, truest expression of emotion. Lately, in private, the tears have come easier and more often. Excuse me if they become more public.

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.“                                   -Washington Irving

Recently, I had dinner with someone who was once very important in my life. She taught me valuable but tough life-lessons before we parted ways. Our dinner was a reunion of sorts. We both wanted it and I needed it. Emotions were high. I couldn’t keep up with her words, but her tears spoke truths I desperately needed.

If I can make you stop and think, laugh and cry, and get checked out by a doctor, I’ve accomplished my goals and I’m OK with that.

A lot of what you will read here has been synthesized from my life experiences and observations. Other material is “borrowed” and I have attempted to give credit where it is due. The idea for this blog came from a long lost friend with whom I recently reconnected- thank you Erin.

Last but never least, thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and kind words.

This blog isn’t all about cancer and it is not a pity party- there are healthy doses of life lessons and love and hope.