Notice the dog in the kayak with me at the top of this post? Where was pepsi the chocolate lab then and when I was getting over prostate cancer?

my lil angel

The Gainesville Times Online Article

The article at the end of this post was in our local newspaper a few days ago. I thought Ms. Morales did a very nice job and I was very appreciative of her putting it in the paper. The actual paper article had the picture at the top of this blog with me and my dog Chloe in a kayak. You might ask, just as all the people at my hospital do, where is Chloe these days? She’s here. She’s back from Savannah where my son Sam was using her for a ” chick magnet.” He kept her about 7 months. It was during this time that I began my affair with the Pepi. I just can’t give it up, Chloe is now back home and goes everywhere with Pepi and I but it’s just not the same. Chloe is steady, Pepi is exciting and unpredictable. And Penel’s hair, that chocolate color, man that is something else. Her profile, her feet, the way she runs, and sticks her head out the window and the way she gets her ball in the pool. It is way too much…… Before the article at the end is the story of how my Son stole Chloe and initiated my tormented, distracted and ambivalence  with my emotional home of the two dogs of our home.

My sister-in-law gave me the statue above and if you are a chocolate lab owner… you’ll get the wings.

My youngest son Sam needed my help moving to another apartment in Savannah, so Chloe and I went down to assist in the moving and bring excess furniture back. I should have never fell for it. Once Chloe was exposed to the smells of all those old parks in Savannah, she longed to return. Since Sam was to be living by himself, it was a natural fit for Chloe to move to Savannah. When I started The Decision there was no such thing as our other dog, Penelopee. Chloe and Penelopee became close friends, my wife and I fell in love with the Lab, and that’s when my son strategically asked,”Can Chole come to visit me in Savannah? She can stay with me until I come home for my birthday.” That was about the last we’ve seen of the Chlomiester. “She loves long walks on the beach at Hilton Head”, he tells us. “Girls love her”, he tells us. Meanwhile all of our attention is now directed at the Pompie and I don’t know if we will ever get Chloe back or for that matter, if Chloe will ever want to come back. So…all the stuff I was doing with Chloe in the book, I am now doing with Peppi; a Chloe clone so to speak.

Several people saw this article in the paper…all they ever say to me is, ” I saw the article with you and your dog in it. Is she wearing a life preserver?” I’m thinking, ” What about my book? Ask me about the d___ book. Pleaseeeeeeee.”


Local doctor’s book helps make prostate decision easier

John McHugh’s personal experience led him to write a guide for dealing with prostate cancer

Order This Image – “The Decision” is available at Gainesville-area retail stores and online.

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‘The Decision’

Available at: and; Hall County Book Exchange and Frames You-Nique, both in Gainesville.

How much: $14.95

By Kristen Morales

POSTED May 10, 2010 10 p.m.

Watch out, guys — this is a touchy subject.

But for many men, it’s also a life-or-death issue, and also one that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough.

It’s prostate cancer and what you do if you’ve been diagnosed — and there are a lot of options, none of which may seem very appealing.

“There’s a functional side to the prostate,” said Gainesville urologist John C. McHugh, who recently wrote a book about the issues men face when they find out they have prostate cancer. “What you thought was a simple disease of old men that no one dies of starts to be a complex issue.”

McHugh went through his own battle with prostate cancer a few years ago. He realized there was a moment, after your doctor has told you the test results and you’ve left the office, when you’re flooded with questions and fears.

“So right at that moment, they need something to read — they need a starting point,” he said, adding that he hopes “The Decision” becomes something urologists can hand to their patients as they leave the office. “The deal is, there’s 250,000 cases a year. I see three to 10 a month. It happens all the time.”

For American men, prostate cancer is the second-deadliest cancer after lung cancer. There were an estimated 27,000 deaths from it last year in the United States.

The book starts with McHugh’s own story, explaining what happens in a prostate exam and taking a look at risk factors and specifics with the disease.

When it comes to making the decision about how to treat prostate cancer, another section of the book offers a decision “cheat sheet,” a questionnaire that goes through the various risks and benefits of each method of treating prostate cancer.

Because, when you’re dealing with radiation, freezing or even removing a vital part of what helps a man urinate or have sex, it’s a big decision with potentially life-changing consequences.

“You remove the prostate and there’s the potential — there are men out there who have been treated and now they leak urine and are impotent,” he said.

Prostate cancer screening became a medical mantra in the 1990s, thanks to the development of the PSA test. But new guidelines released by the American Cancer Society warn that regular testing for prostate cancer may do more harm than good when the risks are weighed against the benefits.

The widely used test often spots cancers too slow-growing to be deadly, and treatment can lead to incontinence and impotence. Two big studies last year suggested prostate cancer screening doesn’t necessarily save lives, and any benefits can come at a high price.

The cancer society’s new guidance urges doctors to:

Discuss the pros and cons of testing with patients, offering written information or videos that discuss the likelihood of false test results and the side effects of treatment.

Stop routinely giving the rectal exam because it has not clearly shown a benefit, though it can remain an option.

Use past PSA readings to determine how often follow-up tests are needed and to guide conversations about treatment.

Some doctors and advocates are troubled by the new guidelines.

“Prostate cancer is still something to be respected if not feared, and we still need to be vigilant. I hope primary care docs or insurance companies don’t use the ‘softening’ of the guidelines as an excuse to not do screening at all,” said Dr. David Roberts, medical director of an Atlanta clinic that caters to businessmen.

Men will need to weigh their fear of having a potentially aggressive cancer versus treatment that can cause ugly side effects.

Another option if cancer is found is watchful waiting — that is, doing nothing — but that can mean high anxiety.

And all of these options are weighed in McHugh’s book.

In a sense, prostate cancer for a man can be compared with a woman’s diagnosis of breast cancer. The decision process is the same, McHugh said, but everyone knows about breast cancer and its emotional and physical effects — whereas a prostate is something you don’t see, and its role is unintentionally lessened.

“But it has a functional side that makes the decision of what to do terrible,” he said.

And because men often avoid the prostate exam to begin with, prostate cancer quickly can go from the slow-moving kind to something that progresses fast.

“Men don’t have a rectal exam until they’re 50, and they don’t like it,” he said. “I call that ‘the perfect storm.’ It’s the exam they don’t want and the flawed misconception that it won’t work, leads to the perfect storm.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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