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Living Through Illness

With the passing of another bumpy, up-and-down year, the road ahead in 2007 is as smooth as prayer, imagination, and courage can make it.

Where there are chuckholes, fill them in with gravel and the hot tar of repair. Where there are curves, slow down and pay attention to warning signs. Where there are straight stretches reaching to the horizon, be careful about over-confidence and thin tires.

The same can be said about rowboats and canoes on their voyages to the sea. Where there are leaky hulls, they need caulking. Where there are rising tides, there should be respect for watery realities. When shooting rapids, watch out for others in their vessels, each with its distinctive quarterdeck cruise log. Each captain and each deck hand has an equal right to safe passage.

All this has the distinct ring of time passing, years accumulating, lives lived. Yet, another way of looking at it is humanity’s journey with handfuls of measured moments to be nurtured and treasured. Each dip of paddle or oar has its place in the grand plan of cooperation. Sometimes, the pieces of the puzzle won’t fit as perfectly as mortal man would choose.

Prostate Cancer—Living Through It is my book for the 2007 Kentucky Book Fair. The first rough draft of the manuscript will be ready for our editor February 1. I’ve tried to write it to encourage and sustain the large number of Kentucky men who will have the disease, manageable if detected early.

For too long, men have shied away from talking about the chuckholes, leaky hulls, and rising tides of testosterone. It’s high time to be better educated about male reproductive anatomy. Women typically are more honest about their physiology with its unique needs and demands.

As for me, for the past 13 years, I’ve been paddling my canoe with the help of a trained urologist and oncologist, who don’t for a moment pretend that they have all the answers. Doctors are as mortally flawed as the worst of us. Their anatomies share a remarkable similarity with the best of us. We patients may outlive the healthiest of the surgeons, nurses, and researchers.

Some choose to flow with their spiritual boats without benefit or regard to specialists who scope their way up- and downstream in the valley of the urethra.

“Uncle Jed” of Cynthiana and his herbs have a rich history and a host of followers who share a passion for natural remedies founded in Native American traditions.

There is healing through spiritual growth. Freedom of religion includes the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science belief.

Some souls have chosen to stay home, tending fires in their own way, one piece of seasoned wood at a time. All I ask is the right to seek my own medical destiny. So, when I had colon cancer surgery last April, prostate cancer surgery in October, chemotherapy in December, I never forgot to pray for the best outcome possible. Each radiation treatment, each hormonal injection sparked new hope.

I kept all my doctor’s appointments. I read Wallace Stegner’s Remembering Laughter, Angle of Repose, Big Rock Candy Mountain, Spectator Bird, and All the Little Live Things.

All I asked for was a fighting chance to survive through flash floods, shifting landfalls, sandbars, and careening debris in the darkness of the forbidding night.

The year 2007 will be 365 sunrises filled with bright new days and creative voyages leading to exciting ports of call, 12 months of revitalized opportunities for leadership, shining occasions for improved understanding. Most of all, there’ll be 52 weeks of prayers for forgiveness, acceptance of eternal truths.

Prostate Cancer—Living Through It underscores the positive word, “living,” which means moving confidently toward a common horizon on the same sea, sending back moisture in the Great Water Cycle. Sharing information doesn’t cost anything—it’s as free as the air we breathe.

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