Blogs > Cliopatria > Pardon My Cancer ...

Oct 24, 2004 9:36 pm

Pardon My Cancer ...

I'm six weeks late in writing about this, because September was Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. It tends not to get as much attention as it ought to have, but I have it. I'm not a very good patient and the procedures can be unpleasant. At one point, I was on the verge of unimaginatively yelling"Fascist Pigs!" at my care givers. But, fortunately, if you will, it's been a long ordeal. I had surgery about six years ago. The surgeons couldn't get all the malignant tissue, so in the meantime I've had radiation therapy; and I am now on hormone therapy. Most of the time, I don't even think about it because I'm a survivor in remission, but the other day my pharmacist called me aside. He noticed that I was on a medication that his doctor had recently prescribed for him, when a bone scan revealed that the malignancy was now in his spine."I wouldn't worry about it," I said."You've got a whole life to live ahead of you." That's my attitude; but take my advice. Men over forty should have regular checkups and do what the doctor tells you. If you live long enough, you probably will have prostate cancer at some point. You have choices to make about it; you have more work to do and more life to live.

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Ralph E. Luker - 10/25/2004

Yes, laughing!

Jonathan Dresner - 10/25/2004

Laughing, I hope. I mean, it's a real sign of progress that we now live long enough to mostly die of cancer...

Seriously, though, cancer is like our own little private armaggedon, internal terrorism, and you're entirely right about monitoring and care.

Ralph E. Luker - 10/25/2004

Jon, It's a good thing I had put my coffee cup down when I read that line about minor cancer being something that happens to someone else! I'd still be cleaning off my keyboard and monitor.

Jonathan Dresner - 10/25/2004

No, it's something that happens to someone else, like minor surgery.

Van L. Hayhow - 10/25/2004

I had cancer about 8 years ago. So far, I am doing fine; so well in fact that my doctor no longer panics (in a good way) when I call. Mine was of a different type so our experiences would not be comparable especially as mine was considered minor. Just a thought, is minor cancer an oxymoron?

Ralph E. Luker - 10/25/2004

Thanks, so much, Tim. It means a great deal to me that they are from you.

Timothy James Burke - 10/25/2004

and best wishes to you, Ralph. There was an article in the Village Voice a long time ago that made a big impression on me about the experiences of someone in cancer treatment that said that until he had cancer, the author had thought of the world as divided into the sick and the well; he then realized it was between the sick and the not-yet-sick. So it helps those of us who know that one day we will face something to hear about how those who are facing sickness now cope with it.

Alastair Mackay - 10/25/2004

For sharing this miserable piece of personal news, and as well for showing how to turn bad news to advantage, as much as is possible. And for the advice on screening, as it is usually too tempting to put off action until Tomorrow. Best wishes, AM

Ralph E. Luker - 10/25/2004

Thanks to both of you. I'm doing very well, according to the doctors. My wife thinks there could be some improvements, but that's another matter!
Hala, I'd love to meet you. Alas, San Francisco isn't on my agenda for November. I'll be in Memphis for the Southern Historical Association convention, 3-6 November; in Atlanta for the American Studies Association convention, 11-14 November; and in Seattle for the American Historical Association convention, 6-9 January 2005.

Hala Fattah - 10/25/2004

Dear Ralph,
Your attitude is wonderful, and what a tonic for the rest of us. Will you be in San Francisco in November? I will. Let's meet, and give thanks for a number of milestones passed.
Best wishes,

Maarja Krusten - 10/25/2004

Best of luck to you, sir. I know everything is relative in these things, but I am glad to hear you are a survivor in remission. I lost my twin sister to cancer--she battled melanoma very bravely for 18 months--and I know the toll cancer takes on patients and family alike. May you remain a survivor for a long time to come! And I hope readers heed your excellent advice on checkups.

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