Resolving Timeline Issues

Why you need to know what a Muppet feels like – early on

Posted on: December 21, 2008

Several years back I received an email with oneliners for men who are going to the doctor to get their prostates checked:

{1} “Take it easy, Doc. You’re boldly going where no man has gone before!”
{2} “Find Amelia Earhart yet?”
{3} “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
{4} “You know, in Arkansas, we’re now legally married.”
{6} “Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?”
{7} “You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out…”
{8} “Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!”
{9} “If your hand doesn’t fit, you must quit!”
{10} “Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.”
{11} “You used to be an executive at Enron, didn’t you?”

And the best one of all..

{12} “Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?

(shamelessly stolen from Living with Prostate Cancer as I have no idea where the original email went)

And this is a story of why is pays to get screened early.

My dad is a bit of a hypochondriac. He’s good about it though: he goes to the doctor regularly and gets checked out.

The other side of it is that he’s also paranoid about drugs. You name it, he can find something wrong with it. Morphine? Addictive. Flonase (a corticosteroid spray for allergies)? Steroids are bad. Tylenol? Bad for your liver. So he avoids drugs like the plague (his drug of choice is often scotch).

We deal with the hypochondria/paranoia by being really irreverent about it. We make jokes about medical treatments.

A couple of years ago, his prostate was enlarged. So he kept going regularly to get checked out and had the blood tests, etc. Long story short, he phoned me back in September some time:

Dad: So I have prostate cancer.
Me: Oh?
Dad: Ya, and for radiation treatment, they’re going to implant some seeds in my butt. So I’ll be glowing out of my ass in time for Christmas.
Me: oh, that’s nice.
Dad: But first I have to go in for some blood tests to check my liver and discuss treatment with the oncologist. And some other test where they put a camera up my butt.
Me: But its early on, yes? And they’ll put the video on YouTube, right?
Dad: Oh yeah.
Me: are they checking your liver too?
Dad: Yep. So I have been very good about the scotch.

(after the blood tests came back and his liver was clear, he celebrated with scotch)

Now, I know prostate cancer is a serious thing. This is how we deal with it as a family.

Dad was scanned early on, and the oncologist put him on a hormone treatment to reduce the size of his prostate. That was about a month ago.

He went in for his 6 month checkup a couple of weeks ago. In his bloodwork, the doctor included the tests for prostate cancer (whatever they measure).

With hormone treatment alone, those numbers had decreased by 50%.

See, what happens is that the cancer actually feeds off of testosterone. So they kill the testosterone production for a bit and essentially starve the cancer. You’ll get some hot flashes, but really, that’s just payback for women having to go through menstrual cramping, childbirth and menopause.

So what’s this mean? Gentlemen, I know its not a comfortable subject, but get checked early, and get checked regularly. Learn the pleasure of being a muppet starting at age 40. Prevention and early detection are the best defense against this: early detection has a 90% cure rate. And quite honestly, if you live in Canada, you have no excuse – this is included in your provincial medical care.

And who knows? You might find Amelia Earhart. 🙂

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