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The Story So Far...

I started this blog in 2006 to talk about the wine my wife and I drank, but I was too drunk to keep it up. Between then and now, I didn't really have much to talk about. I was having fun. I didn't need to share much past the annual Christmas letter. I left those old posts there because they are actually pretty funny. Sort of a "Come on in, the water's great!" ovation from years ago.

I'm kick starting this thing again because I need to talk.

In the last year I started racing mountian bikes again. I lost a lot of weight, got energized in a way I hadn't felt in years, and felt ready to roll into my 50's with life to spare. I still kind of feel that way. Except for that damned PSA screen in March.

"Prostate Specific Antigen", in case you were wondering. It's "controversial" in that the blood test is wrong 75% of the time. It looks for an antigen that has some relationship to the prostate and often does appear elevated when cancer is present, but not always. That was a comfort when they told me my PSA was five times above normal. They put my on Cipro for a couple weeks and my doctor scheduled an appointment with a urologist three weeks later for a follow-up. Important life lesson: something serious is going on when doctors begin scheduling appointments for you without first checking to see if you're available. Forget blood tests, you know you have cancer when your doctor tells you when you are showing up for an appointment.

I'm just going to come out and say this: don't schedule teeth cleaning and a digital rectal exam for the same day. You just can't go through that and not feel really violated. You've just ended up spending the day with relative strangers sticking their hands in pretty much all your orifices and it's hard to live with that.

I'll also say this: the digital rectal exam, if you've never had one, has nothing to do with pixels and computers and everything to do with someone with a pair of latex gloves, some KY jelly and a mission. Now, lots of men my age have had digital exams by their doctor. You don't know what a digital rectal exam really is. When you've had an exam performed by a veteran urologist whose spent most of his adult life doing nothing but looking for cancer in old men, then you've experienced a real digital rectal exam! You will finally know pain. You will know the kind of pain that makes you cry and involuntarily urinate.

The doctor couldn't feel anything wrong. I was healthy. No symptoms. Urination was obviously no problem. I assured the doctor that my ejaculate was just fine too thank-you-very-much. He was convinced this was a fishing expedition but ran me across the hall to do another PSA screen. When it came back nearly as high as before, the whole conversation changed. He wanted to do a biopsy and, despite his non committal attitude, I could tell he thought something was wrong.


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