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don't put off today for tomorrow...tomorrow has its own problems

 

 

Clarion ForeW0rd Five Star Review of “The Decision.”    

 Not too shabby!

HEALTH

The Decision: Your prostate biopsy shows cancer. Now What?
John C. McHugh

Lulu

978-0-6920-0565-1

Five Stars (out of Five)

There is very little that is more startling than getting a call from a doctor with the news that the
diagnosis is cancer. A recent article indicated that 200,
000 men are diagnosed with prostate
cancer in the United States every year; 25,000 die of the disease. Dr. John C.
McHugh, an
experienced urologist and surgeon, brings a rational, no-
nonsense approach to the decision
regarding treatment for prostate cancer in The Decision: Your prostate biopsy shows cance
r.
Now What? McHugh knows of what he speaks: Not only has he couns
eled men with prostate
cancer in his urology practice for more than 25 years,
but he himself was diagnosed with the
disease at age 52 and experienced the gut-wrenching decision that is the subject of his book.

Importantly, Dr. McHugh does not overwhelm the reader with too much information. He
is writing for the man who already has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. “Right now,
you
don’t need a big, comprehensive book about the causes and intricacies of prostate cancer;
that is
irrelevant to you.” What a man at this point needs is specific information about hi
s options for
treatment that is relevant to his particular circumstances.

According to McHugh, the man diagnosed with prostate cancer needs to know about his
cancer, his general underlying health condition, and the best treatment options available to him.
While the author is a urological surgeon,
he is not biased toward a surgical solution. He
recognizes that there are valid reasons for choosing other options for treatment,
such as radiation
and seed implantation. McHugh gives a detailed discussion of the pros and cons of each mode of

treatment in language easily understood by the layman. Along the way, the author relays various
experiences he and others have had in the course of selecting a treatment.

Significantly, the author describes and discusses the various side effects of each of the
treatment options he lists: surgery, radiation and seed implantation. Considering only the
treatment procedure without its attendant side effects is only half an analysis, he believes.
For
instance,
radiation treatment is quick and easily administered and allows the patient to return to
work sooner than surgery.
But radiation can also complicate pre-existing voiding problems and
may have longer lasting and uncertain detrimental effects.

McHugh has written an invaluable tool for the man facing the decision of how to treat his
prostate cancer.

This reviewer too knows of what he speaks, having been diagnosed with prostate cancer
nearly six years ago. He had robotic surgery and is living an active, cancer-free life.

John Michael Senger

 

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to stick or to fish....that is the question...the decision revisited

If you look at prostate diaries you’ll see a story called “Diaper Diaries..the screenplay.” In the story there is reference to a party that I gave for the OR staff at our hospital about ten days after my prostatectomy. The fourth annual ” Pig Jig” was held this past weekend, not at Lake Lanier but at a little cabin I have on the Chattahoochee river.

So, I have this friend, Billy, I love him I really do but he is a ” flaming liberal.” He is indeed a bit too much. I mean he left the Obama sign up in his yard, that I have to pass going to work everyday, for about three months after the election. The reason I love him is that he is a great father, he loves the outdoors and is a consummate river guy. We have hiked together in the Wind River Range, we’ve fished there and better yet he brought gourmet cheese when the rest of us brought freeze-dried stuff…. we didn’t know better… he did.

After the election and the Obama care came to be, I left a book of mine on ” The Decision” in his mail box, remember it is on my way to work. I put as an inscription, ” Billy, I have gone to writin, since Obama care.”

So…. the party is on the river and sure enough even though I forgot to invite him, he shows up anyway, and I am glad he did… did I say I love the guy. In front of about ten people gathered around a conversational circle he says, ” John, did you know that your book may have saved a Liberal’s life. I went and had a prostate exam after reading your book.  Really John…this may backfire on you. It really could save a Liberal’s life. Did you consider that?”

“Dammit. What was I thinking and why in the hell did I give you the book? I didn’t mean for YOU to go  get checked.”

Anyway, I always go back up to the river to see how much beer was left over and to check up on anything that might need tidying up. While I was there I decided to wet a hook and go fishing. Now the pepe is a problem when it comes to fishing. It’s dangerous. She chases the lure and I worry at she’ll bite at it and hook  herself. I gravitated to a technique of throwing a stick, her passion, one way and fishing the other.

The picture above represents me catching a fish while Pepe is chasing  the stick and then getting back retrieving it at the point I have caught the fish and am about to release it.  What you see is a conflicted Pepe, the stick or the fish that is the question….a ” Decision.”

It ain’t easy. Life is not easy, is not fair and it does not discriminate. Decisions, decisions…some work out and some don’t. I have my share of investment decisions that did not go so well. Folks make decisions about prostate cancer treatment, or not to pursue treatment and then have to live with it, good or bad.

Remember Robert Frost and decision. Just because you took the road less traveled doesn’t mean you took the right road or that there will not be regrets. Research, prayer, luck, good people around you my friend is all you can do…..its complicated and conflicted.

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Chloe in Forsyth Park Savannah

two paths but only one traveler can you be- with prostate cancer treatment decisions you have to do your homework, know your disease and make a decision. once you have “traveled down that road” of the prostate cancer decision, you can’t go back. that’s why its such a hard decision.

in the last stanza ” and that made all the difference” is usually interpreted as a positive difference. that someone took that path less traveled, maybe a harder path, and that because of that everything was better. the poem however does not say that. the paths are about the same and he reports on his decision with a “sigh.”

so too is the decision about prostate cancer, because you will never know how you would have done if you had chosen surveillance, surgery, or radiation if you did not choose that option.

frost died of complications of prostate cancer at age 88. he probably could not void, had a channel turp and then because of his age and other medical factors and complications died more of old age than of prostate cancer per se. it is however interesting how the poem relates to the prostate cancer decision and how patients will beat up themselves, the cancer and the doctor about how they do after a particular treatment. for surveillance-that the disease progressed, for radiation – some radiation side-effect or return of the cancer and then surgery- incontinence or erectile issues. “way lead unto way” and often the initial decision progresses on along it’s own defined path.

now you know the ” rest of the story.” sorry mom, you told me wrong on this one, however the road less traveled concept does work, i.e. taking the harder path can often work out for the best. but it doesn’t always and then you will never how the other way would have turned out. a tricky-tricky- poem indeed and a tricky-tricky disease as well.

read it again…..

Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval.  1920.
 
1. The Road Not Taken
 
 
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5
 
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10
 
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15
 
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 20
 

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"say whaaaaat?"

I know you’ve read the poem, ” the road not taken” my mother referred to it as the road “less traveled” and that is the problem with the common interpretation. It is more complicated than you would think and may have a different meaning than you thought. It also has a prostate cancer decision implication. This is the tease. Read the poem a couple of times and then see what you really think it’s about,  then apply to prostate cancer and the decisions related to that. And then of course we find that Frost had prostate cancer and died of complications of  it, albeit at an old age. More later… I have a little story to tell about the poem that I’ll share tomorrow. Enjoy this classic, it has so many turns. Research what Frost himself said about it. Hint: the road less traveled is not necessarily the  better one.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

…Robert Frost

About.comProstate Cancer

Robert Frost and Prostate Cancer

By , About.com Guide

Updated January 02, 2009

About.com Health’s Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board

Robert Frost was an American poet who wrote extensively about life in late 19th and early 20th century America.

During his life, Frost was one of the most respected and well-known American poets. He received numerous awards, including four Pulitzer prizes for poetry and over 40 honorary degrees. His work was known around the world.

Frost’s Health and Prostate Problems

Frost suffered from a number of health problems throughout his life, including depression. Toward the end of his life, he developed severe bladder and prostate problems that forced him to endure several lengthy hospital stays and undergo numerous treatments of varying effectiveness.

In 1962, while living in the Boston area, Frost was diagnosed with prostate cancer1 and subsequently underwent prostate surgery2.

Around this same time, Frost had reportedly suffered from a bladder infection, or cystitis, as well. Bladder infections are common in men who have urinary obstruction3 (which is commonly caused by an enlarged4 or cancerous prostate).

Frost never returned to full health following his surgery. He eventually developed a blood clot in the lungs (a pulmonary embolism), which led to his death in 1963.

Source:

Pritchard WH. Frost’s Life and Career. Modern American Poetry. 2001.

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