Friday, September 5, 2008

Stand Up 2 Cancer

Okay, I'll admit to crying at the drop of a hat. I don't really sob, it's more that my eyes well up with tears and overflow. Sometimes they flow through my beard and drip off my chin. Usually I mop them up before they get that far. Now you are probably asking right now "What got you started this time?"

Well, I just watched a one hour television special aired on the three big channels, ABC, CBS, and NBC. (Fox counter programmed with "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?") The program, Stand Up 2 Cancer, was a telethon for cancer research. It featured a number of celebrities as well as normal ordinary people whose lives have been touched by cancer (survivors, patients, family members, and friends). It also featured doctors making great strides in cancer research.

A close friend of mine, Mark, is currently undergoing chemotherapy for his third bout of Hodgkin's lymphoma. (Check out his blog at I've been spending a fair amount of time with him this summer. As I watched this program at first I was thinking of him and my mother who died, in 2000, from cervical cancer. Then it hit me I am a prostate cancer survivor. I don't often think about my own cancer (I was very sick afterwards with diverticulosis, totally unrelated to the cancer).

I am very lucky, my tumor was classified as Grade 1a (which means that it could only be diagnosed by a biopsy). Treatment last January was to have my entire prostate removed by robotic-lapriscopy using a machine called a DaVinci. The surgery went well with few complications. Thanks to the DaVinci there was very little nerve damage (no incontinence and few problems with impotence). Compared to Mark or my mother I suffered very little.

Each of us fights cancer in our own way. My mother was 88 years old and chose to accept death gracefully and with considerable faith. Mark is fighting his cancer with patience, enduring his chemotherapy and its side effects. And thanks to my many friends I, too, am a cancer survivor.

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