Thursday, September 24, 2009

My journey back from cancer

I have not said much online, blogging on facebbook, Xanga, or Blogspot, about this particular issue. I just didn't feel like making a bigger deal out of it than I needed to. But, to add to the "fun" of being suddenly and unexpectedly unemployed about 8 months ago, going through the "fun" of starting my own law practice from scratch in the worst economy in half a century, in the midst of it all, I discovered I had cancer.

Prostate cancer. Detected early. Not-worried-about-terminal
issues, but prostate cancer nonetheless.

My family and my church friends know this, and some of you who I have had closer conversations with also know. But I thought I needed to make this issue public, as it is coloring my whole life these days.

Its ironic. I probably wouldn't have found out I had it had I not lost my job. I was on a short severance, and decided to make sure I got a physical exam in before my benefits expired, and I had to switch over to something new. The PSA blood test raised all sorts of alarms, and the biopsy confirmed that I did, indeed, have cancer. My wife and I spent our 25th anniversary in a doctor's office looking at treatment options.

We chose to have the prostate surgically removed -- best option for someone my age to assure against recurrence of the cancer and spread to other parts of the body.

I had the surgery performed on Monday. I was home the following day. Its a pretty amazing procedure, done via laproscopic robotic arms. The Doctor's hands never actually touch my innards -- in fact, I don't believe my surgeon was even in the operating room -- he was next door, with a computer device and a monitor.

I will not know the pathology for another week or so. But the Doc was very upbeat -- he felt that the cancer was primarily confided to the organ, and told me my lymph nodes were clear. He estimated a 10% chance of a need for further treatment (e.g. radiation, chemo etc.).

I am home recuperating. Taking it slow. I am required by the Doc to walk at least 60 minutes a day, in short intervals. I am in a lot of pain, but the Doc explained that I because I'm a "larger" guy (can you say "obese" boys and girls?), there was a lot more material to push around to get the cameras in place inside me for the surgery. So I am SORE.

It'll be a while. A long road back to full health. But I am hopeful. I described what I am going through to one friend as "yucky." And I immediately followed up with "but yucky beats terminal hands down."

Thanks to all my dear friends -- I know there has been an army of people praying for me and my family -- I felt that sustaining us throughout. All the generous and thoughtful support, from reaching out directly to simple encouragement -- I can't beat my family, and the family of God. People who are looking our for my wife, and looking out for my kids. I weep at the concept of how much all of you care for me and my family.

I know its the bond we share in Christ. And what I have received from God through His people helping me in my time of need bountifully testifies to the reality of walking with Jesus.

I also want to thank my children -- Simi, Tara, Cassi & Frank, who have been so understanding. In many ways, this year has been toughest on them. And yet, they have such great attitudes about it all. I am so proud of them all.

And to my wife, Susan . . . who is really holding up the most, music teacher extraordinaire, working mom, now add playing nursemaid to a crabby guy like me. She has, and always will, be the best. She is the closest thing I have seen to unconditional love this side of eternity. And now, I hope surgery has removed the barrier that will keep us from growing old together.

Thank you all for being so understanding.



No comments: