In an attempt to redefine the rules that govern republication in and on both newspapers and the Interwebs, I reprint the first OutPosts submission by David B. Boyce for the Standard-Times in over a year. OutPosts is David's consideration in the Liberal Media's Gay Agenda of othering straight people like me. He's also a friend. I have no idea if anyone would just click the link provided above, so I'm sharing this in full with the widest possible on-line cross-section of people interested in Fall River radio, popes who eat fish on Friday, old boats, and Alyson Hannigan. I also wish to point out his reliance on a "driving" conceit throughout the piece -- what "drove" him to the hospital, how he handles a "skid," and "steering clear of...dark places." While the rest of the edition has stories about break-ins and tips for car owners. Which I know he didn't plan, obviously proving the conspiracy mentioned earlier. Which just shows what a clever smartypants he is. Since my byline last appeared in these [Standard-Times] pages, my life has been quite an unexpected, yet intriguing adventure. At least that's the way I've chosen to regard it. I think if I'd elected to see it all in a negative light, which could have been done all too easily, I might not now be here writing this.
He writes :
The hope is that, many many years from now, we'll all look back at this, laugh, and throw mashed peas at each other. I'm not reprinting all of your columns here, so: Get back to work, Boyce!
A year ago April 11, I was diagnosed with advanced, Stage 4 prostate cancer that had spread to my skeletal and lymph systems. What drove me into the hospital ER after a self-imposed, too-long delay was what I thought was sciatica, which turned out to be an enlarging tumor on my spine. Once it was surgically removed, the pain I had been suffering (and treating with an overabundance of acetaminophen and ibuprofen) disappeared, which was an enormous relief. I then had to deal with the realities of having an unusually aggressive cancer that is usually slow-growing.
After a week in the hospital, I was sent home with hands full of prescriptions and a rather uncomfortable catheter. Ailing in a hospital bed is easy compared to dealing with the same things at home, as good as it felt to be back in familiar surroundings. My first night in my own bed, after just a couple of hours of sleep, I awoke with a start into a surreal and horrifying night terror. I knew I was safe, but for the first time in my adult life I felt completely alone, without any control of anything, or on any firm ground. I was cold-sweat scared to the point of panic and tears.
As I slowly regained my spiraling senses, I thought, oddly enough, of the instructions in a driving manual that state, "When you go into a skid, turn in the direction of the skid." So that's what I did. I imagined confronting my terror head-on, as a three-dimensional beast, with color and shape, smell, taste and sound, and I pictured it and all those qualities shrinking and fading, until finally it disappeared.
My little demons tried the same thing the next night, but I'd already armed myself against such an attack, and was able to vanquish them quickly and with control. It was a good lesson to learn, as there are innumerable emotional pitfalls to receiving a terminal diagnosis. But with clear and positive thinking, a team of great doctors and advisers, and the loving support of family and friends, steering clear of those dark places is easier. And the Zoloft I was prescribed helps immeasurably.
Since my diagnosis, I have been on testosterone suppressant therapy, as the male hormone is a chief controller of prostate cancer. As a result, I've experienced many of the usual manifestations of female menopause, including mood swings, hot flashes and body hair loss. I'll have to continue this therapy for the rest of my life, but it has successfully kept my cancer under control.
One reaction my doctors warned me about was the possibility of this therapy causing a predisposition for forming blood clots, which happened at the beginning of February this year. I had two pulmonary emboli in my lower right lung, and a tiny heart attack, was hospitalized and treated with Heparin for a week, and now take daily doses of blood thinners and anticoagulants. That means, should I bruise or cut myself, I bleed freely and dangerously, so I'm careful not to have accidents of any kind. But my stamina is returning to normal and my attitude has been positive,thanks again to loving and supportive family and friends.
Needless to say, none of this has anything to do with my being gay, but I suspect that gay men deal with their bodies differently than do non-gay men, because we use our bodies differently. However, like most men, we delay going to a doctor because we think we know what's going on and that we have control. And there are free prostate cancer screenings available through a variety of regional organizations, whether or not you have insurance. Check out the Internet for those services.
Like the Chinese proverb that some read as a curse, "May you live in interesting times," my last year has been interesting, a series of true learning experiences, and a time of deep introspection about my mortality. I take life a bit easier now, and I'm more grateful and less glib about assuming things. I am truly humbled by the love and support I have received, and I am so glad to be back.
Thanks for reading. Take care until next time.
Since my byline last appeared in these [Standard-Times] pages, my life has been quite an unexpected, yet intriguing adventure. At least that's the way I've chosen to regard it. I think if I'd elected to see it all in a negative light, which could have been done all too easily, I might not now be here writing this.