Have decided to keep a little journal for the next while. It follows.
Cancer a Journal
Oct 28th 2007
I guess I should let you know how this situation has affected me.
I have been led to believe there are several steps (if that is the right word) one passes through after being told they have a form of Cancer.I’m not sure of just exactly what they are, but shock, disbelief, anger, why me, resignation, etc. etc. come to mind.When Don Fransen told me it definitely looked like Prostate Cancer due to my PSA number, I wasn’t too worried, as I knew a slight rise in PSA was often no big deal. He continued to inform me it wasn’t just elevated but it was very high, and along with what he had felt with the digital test it was important we take action right away.
From that moment I accepted I had Cancer. I went home and told Beth, I think we were both just in shock for a few days. I have never had any feelings of "why me?"It is more "why not me?" When you consider the hundreds of thousands of people who get cancer every year, why should it be a big deal if one more gets this disease. The only difference is it is me.
When I think of all the lovely brave little children who have suffered through this terrible disease without complaint, it would be the height of hypocrisy for me to cry “why me?”.I feel for the parents of these young people. I feel for the patients that have young children and spouses that will be left behind.
I think of my precious little Great Granddaughter Madeline and her parents, who passed away at the age of four months, "why her?"
We mere mortals will never be able to answer the question why. We can only mourn our loved ones and pray.I am not angry, I have been resigned to whatever is ahead from the first few days.Dying is our last big hooray, we all will have our day sooner or later, we must do our best to see this through with dignity, and compassion for the loved ones that are also suffering.Our time on this planet is of definite duration, we cannot see into the future, non of us know whether we will be here twenty years from now or two days from now.
I still have no idea how long I will be around, but it is probably a little shorter time than I was planning upon.I am so very fortunate, I have a loving wife, four loving children, thirteen beautiful and loving grandchildren, and two precious Great Grandchildren. We have several wonderful friends, some from early childhood, others more recently, all are appreciated!I am so blessed. I have had an interesting life, accomplished a few things, been disappointed a few times, tried many things, always tried to be fair in any dealing, care for the poor, etc. etc. – I am satisfied - I have tried!
It was Oct 2nd 2007,the day after I passed my motorcycle ride and could quit worrying. I was in to see Dr. Don Fransen about my numb feet problem. He decided I should have a complete medical before he sent me to the neurologist.On Oct 8th Don called, had me come straight in to the office. He informed me I had a very high PSA, and along with what he felt on the rectal exam there seem to be little doubt I had Prostate Cancer. I certainly was not expecting this news. He said he would get in to see a urologist as soon as possible.
Got in to see Dr. Omar Nazif on Oct 16th, he confirmed the diagnosis and arranged for me to have a biopsy and Cystoscopy on Oct 24th. Omar then pulled up a chair beside me and then reached for a book with lots of pretty pictures of various stages of cancer. He said it was time to discuss options.After having just endured the finger up the bum exam, it was rather difficult to intelligently discuss options with anything remotely resembling dignity. But I tried.
“Well it its like this Larry, the sooner we begin treatment the better your chances. There are two treatments we can begin immediately, they both accomplish the same thing – the reduction of testosterone - which will slow the growth of the cancer cells. The first and probably the best treatment is we cut off your testicles”.
“What’s the second” I blurted.
“I thought you might say that.” Omar said with a chuckle.“ We will start you on estrogen, pills initially then powerful shots that last a month or two”.In the meantime he sent me to the Cancer Clinic where I received estrogen pills and a vial of liquid estrogen that I would receive via a shot to my stomach.
I started on the pills on Oct 17th.Had the biopsy done at the Surrey Hospital. There is a lot of waiting in various little rooms at the out patient area of a large hospital. You wait to sign in. You wait even longer if you don’t know you must get a number.After getting the little thing they put on your wrist you wait for a nurse to come and get you.Eventually a nice nurse comes along and says to follow her.
You come to an area with several little cubicles like a dressing area in a store.
“Ok Mr. Bennett take off your pants and your underpants, you can leave your shirt and shoes on”.As she was telling me this she reached over a female patient (she smiled at me) who was sitting just outside the door to the cubicle, and grabbed two strange looking housecoats.
“Put both of these on, tie them at the front, when you’re finished, come out and put your clothes in one of the lockers – do you understand?”
I nodded, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant but I figured it would work out. I got into the little room, the door wouldn’t lock but it was mostly closed. I got off my clothes without much trouble.
I picked up the two housecoats, they both looked the same, one blue, one yellow. Tie them both at the front, that was what the nurse had said.
Seemed reasonable to me, maybe a little drafty, but after all, whatever the Doctor was going to do I figured was at the front.
So trying to hold my clothes in one hand, and keep a modicum of modesty with other hand I stepped out of the door to where the lady was still sitting.
She looked at me.
I looked at her.
She looked up and down. She laughed.
“I don’t think you have those on the right way around”.
“I think there should be one to the back and the other to the front”.
“You think that’s the way eh”.
“I’m sure it is”. She said, still trying not to laugh.
So I went back in and followed her instructions.
Things had been going well so far.
In a few minutes another nurse came and got me and my wardrobe advisor, and took us both down to another waiting room with several other patients.She sat on one side, I on the other, every time I glanced at her she seemed to have the beginning of a little smile, but she quickly controlled herself.
I became friends with a few guys ahead of me waiting to get a Cystoscopy, gallows humor was definitely in vogue. They all had there procedure’s and left, leaving only me and the lady waiting when Beth came to see what was taking so long.
She mentioned I had the housecoats on properly (seemed a little surprised). I casually mentioned I had a bit of trouble initially but the lady across from us helped me out.
They both had a bit of a laugh.
Finally Omar came out and invited me in to the small operating room. The first thing I noticed was the stirrups, I knew they used for female exams, boy was I lucky I was a male.
“Just get up on the table Larry, on your back”I lay down on my back between those stupid stirrup things.
“Slide further down Larry, further, a little further, there Ok."
Suddenly he took my legs and put them up on the stirrups, as he was telling me what he was about to do to me.
Although Omar was very professional and kind, it was rather difficult for me to be chatty. Try and visualize (or maybe not) lying there on my back with my gowns open and my feet firmly planted in steel stirrups.
After a camera (which I was sure wouldn’t fit) pushed in the front and another contraption in the rear I was finally finished, the end of a very interesting day.