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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fringeville #109, July 20 2014

Randomness with a purpose...
My apologies to anyone who expects my prostate cancer blog posts to progress in a linear fashion, moving from step to step in a clear path from point A to point B.

It ain't happening that way, folks, because it's not how I am living it. I suppose the purely medical side of all this is doing that, but that is totally and completely separate from how this whole thing is affecting me as I experience it day-to-day. There is a purpose to all this. I will get to point B, whatever the hell it is. But I am going to take a lot of side journeys. Be warned.

I have had to take a pause. I am still in that pause. This is just a post  to say yes, I am still here and yes, there is a lot more to say about this journey.

But I am in mourning.

I didn't realize it at first, but in reading some of the other posts from prostate cancer patients on the web I learned that the underlying darkness I have been experiencing is in no way uncommon. And then I read a post from a man who put it more or less this way: "I am in mourning for the man I once was."

When I read that, it was a revelation of sorts. The man I used to be ceased to exist on May 14, 2014. The surgery was a success. Most of the news was good (but some was murky, as it always is with a cancer). I recovered physically very quickly. But something was clearly not the same. My family noticed it. You're not the same as you were before the surgery.

Ah, but how right they were about that, despite my denials!

Because, you see, the man they know no longer exists. He is gone. A different fellow is here now, one I recognize well at times and one who is at other times a total stranger. Some men simply cannot handle the loss of self that often comes with prostate cancer. The suicide rate for men after a prostate diagnosis is about twice what it is other men. Heart attack deaths are also higher.

Strictly from my own perspective, it is not any one thing. It's not the vanishing of the sexual side of life. It's not walking around wearing piss guards so my pants aren't stained. It's not peeing on shoes. It's not the spike in blood pressure every time an ED ad runs on TV, or a radio commercial hawks prostate supplements.

It is all of that. All of it and more. It is a sense that what makes a man vital has been robbed by disease and in its place is an empty fellow who mourns what he once was. A man who looks in the eyes of people he knows and wonders what they are thinking. Can he raise the flag? Why is he still losing weight? Poor bastard, probably dribbles on his shoes. 

I see that at times. I do.

So yes, I am in mourning. But I consider myself lucky. I have myself so involved in so many things that I don't have the damned time to contemplate eating shotguns or aiming my car at an oncoming chicken wing delivery truck. But I can imagine all too well how some men simply cannot deal with the darkness that comes into their lives at some point after diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. It is there, all the time, and there is no telling how long it will last. A month? A year? Forever? Even when you think it is gone, it returns without a warning. In my case, out of nowhere I get hit suddenly with a tremendous wave of sadness; of loss. It is never the same trigger. Perhaps it is a familiar stretch of road.. Or a picture I find from before the diagnosis. Or maybe it is nothing at all that ushers in that crippling wave of sadness.

My own therapy at this point is to work even harder. It is the only way I know to escape. I have to pour myself into something. I might even pick up a 3rd shift job somewhere. God knows, I might as well do something useful instead of laying in bed staring at the ceiling and I can use the dough.

So there it is. There's the latest update. It is not eloquent or polished. Sorry if it is darker than you, dear reader, may like. And like much of my new life, it is non-linear and meandering. So be it. I will go with that flow, wherever it takes me.

Back soon. Promise.

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