Posts Tagged ‘will rogers’

youth is wasted on the young

Ten reason why I should be on the Colbert Report

Let’s go flying Will      Will Rogers-One of my heroes                 Wiley Post

Several years ago I had the idea that it would be neat to visit my mother on mother’s day by plane. I have a friend who is an ophthalmologist, a pilot and owns a single engine plane. I asked him if he would fly me down to LaGrange, Ga on mother’s day, pick her up, fly back to Gainesville to spend the day and then fly her back. In retrospect and even just typing the itinerary for that day, it seems a bit much. My mother was about 75 at the time. I really don’t know what I was thinking. Anyway both my friend and my mother agree to the plan and one Saturday morning I met Steve at the Gainesville airport to embark on the little adventure. It was a cloudy and overcast day. I did not appreciate the significance of that at the time, but anyone who knows anything about small single engine planes is that you don’t fly on overcast days. The reason is that if something happens to your “single engine” by the time you descend out of the clouds there is no time to then find a place for an emergency landing. Unbeknownst to me Steve had been recently rated to fly with no visualization using only his instruments, i.e. instrument rated. He was looking forward to utilizing his new skills and quietly excited about the prospect of flying by instruments for the trip. (John Kennedy Jr. was instrument rated.)

I had been in a small plane before. I flew around Augusta one time with another friend and I have been in them on fishing trips out west so I was no stranger to this type of plane. The cockpit was very small and of course once the plane is running it is very loud. Steve gave me a set of headphones by which we were to communicate and as well serve as noise reducers. So off we go. The sky which to my appraisal when we got to the airport was scattered clouds, once we became airborne was much less scattered. In fact all I could see is white. It was if we were a tiny capsule and then placed in a sheet or something. Nothing but white, tight quarters and noise. There was no view, which I thought would be the fun part; you know looking out the window on the way to LaGrange like a kid would. None of that white all the way there.

Steve then told me of the flight plan. “We’re flying over Atlanta’s Hartsville Airport.” I joking said, “The busiest airport in the world?” “We’re okay, I have a flight plan. I won’t be flying where the other planes will be.” I ask, “Wouldn’t it be better if we could see?” “John, I have a flight plan and I have my instruments. The airport controller will be directing me. We’re good. Don’t worry about it.”

About two hours later Steve says we are about there and we begin to descend to the LaGrange airport, still no vision but I can see the altitude change on the instrument panel and I see a diagram of a runway. As we come down out of the clouds, I see was appeared to be airport type structures and then he opens up the throttle and we go back up quickly and begin to circle around. “I overshot the runway. I’ll get it this time.”

Meanwhile, I was later to find, my mother was in the terminal talking with the attendants there and witnessed the whole missed runway thing. Before they knew that the plane they just witnessed was the one my mother was waiting on someone said, “Who are those idiots. They shouldn’t be flying today.” My mother said sarcastically, “That’s my ride.”

On the second pass Steve lands the plane without a problem. He then pulls out a black eye patch and puts it on. The significance of which had to do with Will Rogers and Wiley Post. Wiley post set records for flying in the 1920’s and had an eye patch that distinguished him. He and Rogers loved to fly together and in fact both were killed in a plane crash in Alaska. Post had jerry- rigged the plane for more power and that was felt to be the reason for the crash. My mother comes out to the plane to greet us and says, “They are laughing at you two. Did you over run the runway?” I say, “Put this on mom. It’s a Wiley Post eye patch.” We take some pictures of mother with the eye patch in front of the plane. She then said she wanted to think about the rest of the trip over lunch.

One of the things I used to love about visiting my mother was going shopping and eating with her during my visit. We’d go to Wal-Mart to get various things for her home and a few Sinatra C.D.’s and go eat some where. She loved Ryan’s buffet style menu because she could put things like cornbread and meat in a napkin and take it home.  She’d say as she slipped the food in her purse, “This for Cooper. He loves Ryan’s cornbread.”

We first drive to Belk’s at the mall to get mom some shoes. She tried on several pairs, walked around a bit and we bought two. She got some lingerie as well and then we headed to Ryan’s. Something that is important about this portion of the story is the situation my mother found herself in when we had to move back to LaGrange. She was divorced, no job, five boys, and had to live on the good graces of her mother that was 73 at the time. It hurts me sometimes to think about what that meant to her self esteem or ego. I often make my self remember her plight in down times to make me realize how good I have it compared to her; she was fifty and had nothing but her boys. I worked in a Napa parts store all through high school and gossipy men would ask me about my mother. Invariably it would be someone that grew up in LaGrange with my mother. “John how is Jennie these days. Is she working?” To me it was a dig (as my mother would say) and salt on an open wound when they would ask things like that. They all knew she was living with her mother, and had returned to LaGrange in not the best of circumstances. I am sure it was juicy fuel for gossip. One of the reasons I had the drive to be a doctor was for my mother, thinking it might give some degree of “bragging rights” some degree of respectability. I was also in hopes I could be a financial anchor for her as well and that she’d never “want.” So keep this in mind for the next part of the story.

My mother, Steve and I were eating, mother was squirreling away her food when this lady comes by and stops. In a tone very familiar to me and one I had heard so many times growing up when gossipers spoke to my mother, “Well hello Jennie. How are you?”

The lady began to condescendingly inspect my mother’s clothes and hair and the biscuit in the napkin. “I am fine Mary Louise. How are you?”

 “Just fine. Just fine. Who are these young men you are with?” Now she was inspecting Steve and me.

“These are two of my sons. They are both surgeons. This one flew down here on his plane to visit me on mother’s day.”

Bam! Take that. Man that felt good to me then and every time I reflect on the occasion. I know it must have felt good to my mother. Steve did not quite know what to make of it and just sat there. A classic mom remark, a sarcastic white lie with a bite and purpose. One thing about her. She may not have had the best situation financially or position on the social hierocracy, but she never felt inferior to any one. She’d remark that Eleanor Roosevelt would say and she said to me many times,” No one makes you feel inferior without your help.”

We drive back to the airport, park and walk toward the plane.

“So mom. Do you want to fly back with us to Gainesville?”

“John. There is no way in hell I’m getting into that plane. Not after what I saw.”

“Well. I’ll call you when we get back.”

“Don’t bank on it,” she said sarcastically.

Back in the plane Steve says he has the option of different flight plan for the trip home.

“We’ll go by way of Athens this time.” Again, white all around all the way home.

We get back without a hitch and I call my mother that all was well. I swore to myself I’d never fly in a small plane unless there were clear skies. The next day I am doing a prostate biopsy on a retired airline pilot. I mention to him about my experience and he looks at me incredulously. “You went flying in a single engine plane with no visibility? That’s stupid. I’ll fly a 747 in a thunder storm, but I wouldn’t be caught dead in a single engine plane with clouds around.”

I did not really get the “clear skies” concept before the flight.  I do now.

Are you getting a feel for my mother?


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if i catch you cheating again it will be your funeral and my trial...sonny boy wilson

 Will Rogers  

I have a serpiginous  route to the Chattahoochee river from my home. I love it… my wife hates it and she hates being the passenger when I am driving on small ” back roads.”   

My daughter told me in the car one time when we taking that the route that my incessant talking and my driving made her nauseated… whatever.   

The picture above is a church  on my route to the river and  has an interesting and thought-provoking  saying each week. They put them  up on the little  marquee each week.  I take a picture of the new one each week. They are always good  and always make  me think. I pull over on the side of road, take a picture and then use it in my sunday school class as a lead in to a lesson for that week that I am teaching.   

So…anger controls you… it is very much like forgiveness and grudges… if you don’t forgive you carry that weight around with you daily. You have to forgive others to  free yourself from the  incumbrances that grudges and not forgiving  promote .  I am not good at it…yet. I am a work in progress in that regard, but I can recognize it when I see it in others ( isn’t that a funny trait we all have).  

About anger…I feel a lot of anger out there among the prostate cancer world (Ablin’s NYT letter) about several things:   

  • drug companies are pushing products on the public that they don’t need
  • the American Cancer Society’s stance on screening has provoked emotion and yes anger
  • the PSA is something that makes money for drug companies and urologists
  • men are being treated for prostate cancer and it is only “profit” motivated
  • it is better to not treat everyone at the risk of only 3% percent dying
  • the cost of prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • blaming the caregiver for complications inherent to the treatment of the disease…whether it be surgery or radiation
  • using the retrospective scope to blame the medical field or yourself  for whatever you have been through with prostate cancer
  • anger for having been treated at all, for have had a PSA obtained, not having been pushed to do nothing
  • “they didn’t tell me this” mentality
  • Lorenzo Q. Squarf
  • I could go on and on.

We are all adults. We all can consult our doctors and friends and the internet. As I have said before when I lost money because of a friend recommending something that turned out bad and they apologized to me.  I say to them and i say to you…” I am a big boy, it’s a decision I made and I will deal with it.”  Remember that no doctor can make you do anything.   

When I had my prostate removed I did not know the surgeon, I did not know that I’d be cured, I did not know whether I would  have the complications peculiar to a prostatectomy( which  I had by the way…three months of incontinence). We are all big boys. Your doctor tells you your PSA is high. You do your research and decide if you want to take it to the next level. You are a big boy….make a judgement specific to you and go with it; to blame others or be angry about the ” medical establishment”  I feel is being disingenuous and certainly not fruitful.   

Will Rogers (not Roy Rogers) was asked one time why was it he’d be invited to presidential inaugurations only to make fun of the president that invited him. He said of presidents, “They are big people.”  

My advice to you…..be “big” throughout this very troubling and emotional time after having been told that your PSA is elevated or that your prostate biopsy is positive… but of course do your due diligence in advance and thoroughly… before your “Decision.”


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to really know why someone acts or thinks the way they do, you have to go behind them and look at what they are looking at. Will Rogers

American Cancer Society Got it Wrong: Study Confirms Prostate Cancer Test Saves Lives

Jul 2, 2010

American Cancer Society Got it Wrong: Study Confirms Prostate Cancer Test Saves Lives

PR Newswire


ZERO Demands ACS Apology to All American Families About Prostate Cancer Testing as New Proof Emerges on the Effectiveness of the PSA Test

WASHINGTON, July 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — With a new study showing the PSA test reduces the prostate cancer death rate by 44 percent, ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer demands an apology for all at risk of the disease from the American Cancer Society, which has long discounted the importance of prostate cancer testing.

“It’s time to ‘Man Up’ and admit they were wrong,” said ZERO CEO Skip Lockwood. “This new study clearly shows the PSA test does save lives, even though the American Cancer Society and its chief medical officer, Dr. Otis Brawley, have long disregarded scientific data and the advice of 17,000 urologists across the U.S. that this test reduces the prostate cancer death rate.”

The new study out of Sweden, based on a 14-year review of 20,000 men between the ages 50 to 65, found that PSA testing reduced the prostate cancer death rate by 44 percent. These results were published June 30 in the Lancet Oncology medical journal.

“With 2010 statistics predicting a 17 percent jump in prostate cancer deaths – the largest in more than a decade – the ACS should be encouraging men to take control of their lives and get tested,” Lockwood said. “Instead, ACS is more concerned about sexual side effects rather than saving men’s lives – though it quickly changed its tune when it said the same thing last year about women getting a mammogram.”

ACS became embroiled in a firestorm of controversy last October by seeking to change its guidelines that women did not need an annual mammogram until age 50, instead of 40. ACS quickly backed off after an outcry from the public and health and government officials. ACS says men should consider getting the PSA test at the age of 50, or age 40 or 45 depending on one’s family history with the disease.

“Like the mammogram, we acknowledge the PSA test is not perfect – it cannot distinguish slow-growing tumors from rapidly growing ones – but until new methods for testing are developed, it’s still the best tool available for early detection and prompt treatment of prostate cancer,” Lockwood said.

While the new report says 12 men need to be diagnosed in order to prevent one cancer death, Swedish scientists say they found that the risk of over-diagnosis was not as high as previously thought, and that “the benefit of prostate cancer screening compares favorably to other cancer screening programs.”

Despite the lack of support from ACS, the value of early detection through PSA testing is supported by more than a dozen leading U.S. organizations. This includes the American Urological Association, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Prostate Cancer Research Institute, Malecare Prostate Cancer Support, Men’s Health Network, National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions, Prostate Cancer International, Prostate Conditions Education Council, Prostate Health Education Network, The Prostate Net, Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, and Women Against Prostate Cancer.

“The only difference between the PSA test and mammograms is there aren’t millions of men who will stand up to the claims being peddled by Brawley and the American Cancer Society,” Lockwood said.

About Prostate Cancer …

1 in every 6 men will get prostate cancer sometime in his life. More than 217,000 cases are expected in 2010 – on par with breast cancer.

There are no noticeable symptoms of prostate cancer while it is still in its early stages. This is why getting tested is so critical.

African Americans and men with a family history of the disease are at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer.

Nearly 100-percent of patients survive at least five years if prostate cancer is detected early (i.e. cancer still contained within the prostate).

About ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer (ZeroCancer.org)

Zero prostate cancer deaths. Zero prostate cancer cases and, for those with prostate cancer, it means a zero PSA. Our name conveys what we stand for – zero tolerance for prostate cancer. At ZERO, we commit ourselves not only to reduce prostate cancer or alleviate the pain from the disease, but to end it. We see a future where all men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer will be cured or manage their illness with good quality of life, with the support they need to minimize physical and emotional suffering, and to cope effectively throughout their cancer journey.

To accomplish our goal, we provide comprehensive treatment information to patients, education to those at risk and conduct free prostate cancer testing throughout the country. We increase research funds from the federal government to find new treatments and we fund local grants to end the disease.

SOURCE ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer


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