Part 5 & 6: Prostate Cancer Bliss
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know my blogs are too long, but how else am I going to help you with your insomnia? I can assure you, this blog is the very least I can do to help you overcome sleep deprivation.
For those who cannot wait, the great news is that I was accepted for the Prostate Trial Cancer Study at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Hospital in New York City. This is the Tookad therapy method I mentioned in an earlier post. You can read a summary here: http://sperlingprostatecenter.com/photodynamic-therapy-tookad-prostate-cancer/
For me, what’s very interesting about my previous blogs is how many facts I got wrong or at least misinterpreted or outright misunderstood. In my eagerness to understand my condition following my diagnosis, I have read and listened to just about everyone and everything. I’ve consulted with at least five leading experts in the field … in fact, each consecutive doctor I have talked with appears to be one or two steps better than the last. (Of course the best doctor is always the one that tells me what I want to hear!) The doctors have all been straight shooters – great men, very concerned and helpful. If I had just stuck to what they’ve been telling me all along and not presumed or jumped to conclusions from what others and the internet was telling me, then maybe my previous blogs would be far more gospel than the humorous misunderstandings presented as fact! … Mea Culpa!
The funny truth is I just had to figure things out for my own piece of mind and in my zeal to learn and understand quickly I searched the Internet and talked to everyone with an opinion. In other words, and to paraphrase President Donald Trump, I have been duped by “fake news”. Oh, and regardless what side of the political fence you rest upon there really is plenty of evidence for fake news. One good example, who can argue with the fact your local weatherman has one of the few occupations where he can be wrong 60% of the time and still keep his job? (I like picking on weather people because its safe. If I pick on anyone else I’m apt to be labeled a hater and be castigated for all time for being intolerant and politically incorrect.)
I had hoped to consistently post updates for this blog each week, but last Saturday (9.09.17) we flew out to New York. On Monday, I had a consultation with one more Urologist regarding the Tookad trial / study he is about to begin at MSK, which, by the way, I am told is the #1 cancer hospital in the US (and I hope that much is not fake news). I did not bring a PC with me so my blog, as a result, is a little late and maybe a bit longer and maybe a bit rushed. Again, the great news is that I qualify and if all checks out I will be included with the trial study.
My MSK doctor tells me he is good friends with his British equivalent. If my facts are straight, cross your fingers, then Dr Mark from Europe conducted the Tookad study that released their findings last October. Tookad was 80% effective for the 400 men tested. Dr. Mark approached the EMA (Europe’s FDA) with the results and they in turn told him they were and continue to remain in agreement with the opinion of the FDA. That is, the EMA is not willing to approve Tookad as an effective treatment for prostate cancer until it can be shown to be effective on treating men with mid grade prostate cancer. Consequently, both the FDA and EMA want men with mid grade prostate cancer to be treated with the Tookad drug. If the results are found to be as effective as the tests performed on men with low-grade prostate cancer, then there is a very good chance the FDA will approve Tookad as a viable prostate cancer treatment!
Mid Grade Vs Low Grade
When cancer is found in the prostate biopsy a score from three to 10 is given to rate the seriousness. Dr. Gleason created the scoring system where two found prostate cancer values are added up together. The lowest possible score is three and the highest is 10. Low grade cancer is six (3+3) and under. Mid grade is 7 (4+3 or 3+4 and yes there is a difference) and anything above is considered high-grade cancer. I’m told you cannot have a score under three, but since four and five scores are possible, then that means 3+2, 3+0, 3+1 are all possible but 2+0, or 2+2 is not (don’t ask me why). The European study was performed on men with scores no greater than six.
The FDA is intrigued by the findings from last October, but the next step is to prove the Tookad drug is effective on mid grade cancers. My MSK Urologist is looking for men like me with a Gleason score of 3+4=7 and a PSA under 10 (my last one on May 31st was 9.73).
Tookad is a drug? I thought you said it was deep-sea bacteria?
Maybe it’s both. This is what I was told last Monday (9/11). The doctor who came up with Tookad was trying to find a way to treat his wife’s breast cancer. He realized that chlorophyll naturally attacks plant cancers. He wondered if there was a way to encourage chlorophyll to do the same thing in a human being with cancer.
It turns out that yes, chlorophyll may be the answer. Said doctor then went on to develop a new drug developed from chlorophyll and it is called Tookad. The trick, and the reason for the trials and studies, is that doctors are still trying to find how much chlorophyll is needed and how much light must be used to activate.
NOT SCIENCE FICTION – SCIENCE FACT! (Caution: A little graphic in places)
Chlorophyll naturally reacts to sunlight. Like I wrote in earlier blogs, it don’t like daylight. It gets angry and goes wild. Think Tasmanian Devil. Doctors have to keep the Tookad drug in the dark because even cell phone light can set this stuff off (my take and not necessarily fact).
My doctor and his RN at MSK explained some of the details for what I can expect to happen. The treatment is only performed on Tuesday (I suppose doc has a standing golf game Wednesday and Thursday and Friday is the start of his three-day weekend). I’ll be given the drug and covered from head to toe lest the rays of light disintegrate me like a vampire. So, for a few hours Tuesday I really will be a creature of the night (awesome!) Ooh, what if I have this procedure done on Tuesday, October 31st? Pretty cool Halloween I’ll say!
Lucky for me, they’ll knock me out for the actual procedure, but as I understand they’ll take very thin, (well, I hope they’re thin) strands of fiber optics and insert them into my prostate. Lasers are then fired, (is this cool or what?) which in turn angers the chlorophyll in the Tookad drug flowing next to and in and around the prostate cancer. Since the only light source is in my cancerous prostate, only the chlorophyll present therein will go Tasmanian and hopefully destroy my cancer.
I think I read or heard the actual procedure is about 90 minutes. From there they take me to recovery for six grueling hours! I say grueling because I have to remain covered from top to bottom so that the remaining Tookad flowing through me is not agitated by any light! I can’t play on a cell or blog on a laptop, (too much light), but if I wear sunglasses I can watch a small TV in the far off corner of the room.
Once my vampirism wears off I can return to my New York City lodgings. Because the chlorophyll has violently attacked my prostate, it in turn is going to swell up and cut off my urinary tract unless they first insert a catheter (Yippee! and I do mean pee!). Following the procedure, I’ll need to take it easy for a few days. By the end of the week I should be all back to normal. The following Monday I’ll return for a follow-up consultation and then I can go home. Three months later I’ll return for a blood test and possibly another biopsy. I return again for a follow up after six months and then a year and then every year after, but maybe by then my local urologist will be enough.
The only serious side effect they are aware of is that the procedure will permanently sterilize me. (Make up a joke and insert it here). And assuming all goes well, the cancer will be destroyed or reduced to a level where it no longer poses an immediate or short-term threat. More good news, even if the trial is completely unsuccessful they can do the procedure again. Only if it doesn’t work a second time will I have to seriously consider robotic surgery. (This might be fake news but I believe of the 400 treated in the European study last year, only 6% had to eventually have conventional treatments – i.e. surgery or radiation therapy.)
I really have nothing to lose going with the trial study. My hope is that this proves to be a viable FDA approved procedure to treat men with prostate cancer in the future. Even if it doesn’t work for me whatsoever, the doctors will still have a better understanding on how much drug or light needs to be administered. They will be better dialed in on how best to use this method for treating prostate cancer (and maybe other cancers too!).
Participating in the study makes me feel I am doing something good with my life. It may not be much really, but it is still something and I feel very good about it.
My next step is to have a prostate MRI scheduled and performed, (locally in the next week or two). Once completed I’ll be set and I’ll only need schedule my Tookad procedure. I was informed today (9.13.17) the trials begin when I am in Hawaii! Ha! My doctor told me not to worry about it. Once I’m on the list they won’t remove me from the list. So, it’s just a matter of getting the MRI results to MSK and scheduling a Tuesday that works best. I’m predicting November, but it could be as early as Halloween … and like I said, what better day to be transformed into a creature of the night!
Ramble Alert! Insomniacs need only proceed from this point forward.
What an amazing month I have had. I have gone from resigning myself to having a robotic prostatectomy to cautiously hoping I could qualify for a state of the art cancer treatment. Aiding and adding to my optimism are all these really incredible coincidences … excuse me, Christ-instances. On top of that even, I have been swathed in prayers; deeply cared for by so many I cannot even begin to count, let alone thank (and thank you I do – each and every one of you!). Of course not everyone I know will read this blog, but those who do please know your prayers work. Prayer can and often does make all the difference in the world. My so-called “Prostate Cancer Blues” now renamed, “Prostate Cancer Joy” rests as evidence (see Back to Faith as the bottom of this blog).
Many of you know, last October (2016) Wanda’s Mom said going to NYC is one of the places she would like to visit someday. The first and only time I really visited Manhattan was back in 1973 (I was 13). I’ve been to New York State numerous times over the last 20 years but only passed through Manhattan twice. Like you, I knew all the famous landmarks, (Empire State Building, Waldorf Astoria, Central Park, Carnegie Hall, Times Square, Daily Bugle, Ghostbusters Headquarters, Friends Apartment, Soup Nazi Kitchen), but I didn’t know their proximity to each other. Going to New York City last May made my return trip last week feel so much more at ease. I now refer to mid-town Gotham as my not-so-old stomping grounds. Okay, and on top of that, even though I don’t want to live or move to New York City, I now get it. I understand why people like it so much. I get it and yes, I have to admit, I love NY (maybe not the Yankees so much, but the vibe of the city? YES!).
Sick Humor Aside Note: Did you know NYC has its own sound track? It really does. We arrived in NYC via Penn Station. As we came up out of the station depths we were immediately greeted by the sound of sirens (the song of NYC!). I love the sounds of sirens in New York City. It cries out reality and warns that sometimes those who have come to make it there might just not make it anywhere – anymore! Sorry, sorry. I know, I know, way too much cynicism and way too much dark humor. Hey, see the italics? It means I was joking and I don’t really mean it. Here, I’ll prove it. The truth is, whenever I hear a siren (here, there or anywhere), I treat it like a prayer call. I pray for the people operating or inside the ambulance or the people on the fire engine. I pray they are aided and protected by God in their rush to help and rescue people in need. I pray for the police and the other civil servants in action. I ask God to protect all parties involved and that He guide them all to health and safety.
See, here’s the thing, I honestly believe there would be a lot less road rage if we only knew each other better. If the road is packed and I’m in a miserable hurry I sometimes feel a mean streak when someone cuts me off or tries to make a last second lane change. But what if the other driver was a good friend or a relative? Well, depending on which relative of course, I think I would behave much differently if the person cutting me off was someone I knew. I may still be a jerk and block them from squeezing in, but we would be laughing at each other versus flipping each other.
An Aside Side Note: Don’t flip people off … Nah, that’s too easy and way too common and pretty much meaningless anymore. See, I prefer to mess with them big time another way. I like to blow them kisses. Why should you get all worked up tense and stroke out because someone has bad road manners. You can’t change them, but you can mess with them. So, I like to add to their tension by being overly nice to them!
The point being, our previous trip to New York last May has paid out with many big dividends. Wanda and I are quite comfortable getting around mid-town Manhattan now, which is a good thing as I do believe I will be making four more trips over the next 12 months.
NYC Visit Summarized:
We arrived early Saturday evening and spent most of it getting settled in. One thing we quickly realized this visit is NYC is full of surprises and one should never take the city streets for granted. There are lightly hidden gems waiting patiently for someone to discover if they but go down these otherwise mediocre appearing mid-town streets (On the flip side, some streets have hidden things looking for your gems so please use some discretion!). Last May when we went out to eat we thought we were being pretty thorough with our good restaurant hunting, but most of our epicurean searches left us feeling something was never quite right. We thought we were looking pretty hard for good places to eat and we found lots of places to eat, but we left New York wondering what the hoopla over the great NYC food was all about. This time, this visit, was different. We learned not to judge a New York City street by its appearance. This time, and only a half block away from where we stayed last time, we found some of the best Chinese food we have had in a long time.
We missed it last time, because the road looked kind of dark and creepy. Plus we had Mom with us and we didn’t want to make her walk too far unnecessarily. This time it was only Wanda and myself so we were quite happy just walking, talking and exploring.
(Word to the wise single people out there: take your time finding someone to marry. I suggest you marry your best friend. If you can travel or vacation with someone for more than a week without wanting to go home to get away from them, then I would argue you have a pretty good shot at making it in marriage!)
We used points during our last visit to stay cheaply at the Hilton on W. 57th. This time we again used points, but we stayed next door at Le Parker Meridien on W. 57th & 56th. In the lobby of Le Parker Meridien there is a hole in the wall burger joint appropriately called, “The Burger Joint.” People arrive early, prior to opening, and almost fill up the lobby waiting in line to eat here. Naturally, we had to try it. It’s expensive, but not overly so, (try ordering a burger in the Caribbean island of St. Bart’s cuz that’s expensive!), but the burgers and shakes are pretty good.
On Irma Hurricane Sunday I went to Mass first thing. St. Patrick’s is only a 10 minute walk. And because St. Patrick’s Cathedral is right across the street from 50 Rock (Jimmy Fallon, Sat Night Live, NBC), Wanda and I walked down by the NBC studios following Mass, where Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and others were live broadcasting the coverage of hurricane Irma in Southern Florida. If you were watching Sunday morning around 7:30 am Pacific, then know I am sorry I didn’t wave to you.
We spent the rest of Sunday re-exploring and rediscovering our not-so-old stomping grounds. Highlights included the Swiss chocolate shops ($112 lb for chocolate and where the samples are restricted to smelling), window shopping (Tiffany’s, Sak’s 5th Ave) and hanging around the fine Asian art and collectibles at Christie’s Auction House.
Okay, okay, this is where I throw one of my nieces under the bus … last May Kristin was able to go to NYC with us. She graduated from Seattle U last year and has lots of free time because she has no life, no responsibilities and still lives at home. Its cool though because she’s small; doesn’t take up much room and for the most part smells okay. Anyway, we all decided if we were going to go to New York City then it was mandatory that we also catch a play on Broadway. I really enjoy a good play as nothing really tops a live performance so where better for catching a show than in an authentic New York Broadway Theater!
We all loved the idea so I scoured the listings and boy were there a lot to choose from, but what ultimately caught my attention were the handful of shows featuring movie star celebrities. I mean the one and only Sally Field was performing in a Tennessee Williams play! Kevin Kline was in a play. Bette Midler was performing in “Hello Dolly” (probably her last stage performance). Everyone was talking about how great “Hamilton” was, and telling us to buy tickets no matter the cost. These were all very tempting to me, but the one play I had my heart set on to see was Arthur Miller’s “The Price.” It starred Mark (The Incredible Hulk) Ruffalo, Danny DeVito and Tony Shalhoub, (the actor who played “Monk” on the USA Network). How cool is that?
Ideally I really wanted to see all the above, but we didn’t have much time and we certainly didn’t have nearly enough money. At the end of the day they were all great choices and so I shared the list with my wife, my mother-in-law and of course, my niece, Kristin.
Neither Mom and Wanda really cared what show we caught. They thought they all sounded good and told me and Kristin to decide. Now, I know, Kristin doesn’t really care for super hero movies or super hero actors. She’s not going to care if she see’s the Incredible Hulk live on stage or not, but that’s okay because there are two other celebrities on stage with him! How is she going to pass up on that I ask you?
Okay, here’s how – She’s a twenty something college graduate and we all know what that means … she doesn’t have a clue about almost anything! She thinks she does, and it’s important we humor her (ya know, let her think she’s got it together), but at the end of the day, she’s just an inexperienced twenty something college grad and completely clueless. So I realize even with three stars on stage, she might still not be interested. And you know what, that’s okay. I’m cool with it because I would be thrilled to see Sally Field and I know Kristin really liked Sally in “Mrs. Doubtfire” … (Say it with me – Shoe-in!)
A Sally Field Aside: In my last post I wasted a lot of writing … I mean I wrote considerably about movies. Well, I should have mentioned a little forgotten and overlooked jewel that essentially relaunched Sally’s career. If you ever get the chance, check out and watch, “Stay Hungry” starring Jeff Bridge, Sally Field, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the creepy but very good character actor, R. G. Armstrong. Besides being a great Sally Field movie, it is by far the best Schwarzenegger film of all time … with the possible exception of “Hercules In New York” (preferably dubbed).
Okay, so this deal is slammed dunked, sewed shut, locked and covered. We’re either going to see three stars on stage or one great female actresses. I am content with either play choice. I’ll hope for three stars but settle for one.
I informed Kristin of the choices and the first thing she made clear is that since we had just seen “Aladdin” at Disneyland already there really wasn’t much reason to see it again on Broadway. Consequently, she happily agreed for us to all go and see, “The Lion King.”
“Martha Pus-bucket!” Fortunately I only mumbled the words. Kristin didn’t fully hear it.
“What did you say, Uncle Doug?”
“Uh, nothing really. I said … uh, Martha … Martha Plimpton … yes, Martha Plimpton! I think I read or heard she’s starring in “The Lion King?”
“Martha Plimpton? Who’s that?”
“Right … Okay, never mind. So, uh, yeah, the “Lion King” that’s certainly one option … but hey, what about Sally Field? Wasn’t she just great in Mrs. Doubtfire?”
Oh, who am I kidding. Of course we bought tickets for “Lion King” and it was horrible. Too many problems to spell them all out but supposedly Chase is a proud sponsor and as a Disney Chase card holder I was lead to believe if I buy tickets I would be given upgraded seats at no extra charge, a souvenir drinking cup, a pin and a massage from a fat man dressed up like a hyena. Suffice to say we didn’t get any of it (okay, one of the zebra girls gave me a stink eye). The seats were terrible. They crammed us off to the far side by an exit door and both my wife and mother-in-law refused to return to their seats after intermission!
Okay to be fair, I’ll concede that the performance, the singing and the kid actors were exceptional but that’s it! That’s my only concession! Yes, I am bitter about missing Ruffalo and Sally Field! See, here’s the thing. I actually had a back-up, back-up plan and it included seeing the syrupy “Lion King”. I mean why couldn’t we catch two shows during the trip? So yes, sure, we’ll go see the “Lion King” … We can always catch another play (ya know, a good play) the next night or the night before. There’s bound to be plenty of show times … and there was except for the small fact we booked “The Lion King” our last night in New York (Tuesday) and all the shows are dark and closed on Mondays. Sunday wasn’t an option because they’re only matinees and we already booked tours for Sunday! Consequently, no Ruffalo. No DeVito or Sally Field, or Midler, or Kline or little Tony Shalhoub!
Adding insult to injury, Kristin caught me crying about it and she had the nerve to look me in the eye and say, “Hakuna Matata”!
So why do I bring up and rehash all this misery? It’s because only a few months later Wanda and I return to New York City and this time we don’t have Kristin anchoring us to something lame like, “Frozen”! I’m really excited about returning because there’s nothing stopping me from finally seeing genuine stars on Broadway! I’m almost more excited about this than qualifying for the Tookad test! So, get ready Mark, Danny, Tony, Kevin, Bette and Sally! One or more of you gets to entertain me live!
I tell you I couldn’t be much happier …
Did you know not all shows run forever on Broadway? I guess I just assumed they did or at least ran longer than August. I mean Cats, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Lion King, Aladdin, Chicago and Miss Saigon never end. Apparently celebrity shows do end, but come on! What is up with that? There’s at least a half-dozen never-ending shows in New York right now, but the three I really want to see have already closed. Mark, Danny and Tony paid Arthur Miller’s price and have since moved on. Kevin has de-Klined any more performances. Sally is outstanding in some other field. Hamilton is on the $10 but it’s another 10 months before tickets are available again. – It’s okay though because I still have a trump card in my hand – Bette Midler in “Hello Dolly”!!!
Yes, the tickets are overpriced, but Ms. Midler is leaving the show after November so if we’re going to catch a celebrity on stage this has to be the one! And now that I think about it, I’m good with it. Seeing the classic “Hello Dolly” starring Bette Midler sounds pretty cool to me. If this is her last stage performance of her career then what a great opportunity to see her “swan song” as it were. So that’s the play we’re going to catch – regardless of cost. I figure you only live once so it’ll all be worth it.
Once we booked our airline and hotel there was no going back. We were all set, so the only thing to do next was to book our “Hello Dolly” tickets. I jumped on-line to buy them and yes, there were still some great seats available for Sunday’s matinee (up in the third balcony and only 100′ higher than the attic!) As expected, the tickets were anything but cheap but that’s okay. (We’ll only be in arrears with our mortgage for three, maybe four months at best, but even so I still have a plan. See, Christmas is coming so I figure the bank will be in a forgiving mood!) At this stage I’m pretty happy with my plan. It is working out pretty darn well if I say so myself. And just as I am all set to second mortgage the house for nose bleed seats, I just happen to see, at the very last moment, some very tiny, very fine print: “Ms. Midler will not be performing the week you’re in town Mr. Sparkes. She returns the week following. Sorry, but no celebrity performance for you! We suggest you consider attending a different show. “Frozen,” if you haven’t already heard, is really quite wonderful and very popular with the 20 something female college grads“.
Well, needless to say I didn’t see any movie celebrities on stage, but we did catch a play. Neither Wanda or I have ever seen “Miss Saigon” (one of the forever running plays on Broadway). We figured it was about the Vietnam War but even that was nothing more than a dumb, obvious assumption. We had other choices too. As mentioned, “Phantom of the Opera” and “Cats” were also playing, but I’ve seen both and even though both are quite good (I own the soundtracks), we figured if Miss Saigon has been playing this long (like Phantom and Cats), then there must be something to it.
I told Wanda, “What the heck, let’s give it a shot.” I bought the best seats we were willing to pay, which is kind of funny because we ended up in center seats third row back from stage. Third row center is about $100 less than the seats behind us (which maybe explains why they’re so empty in the picture below!)
I hated Miss Saigon … not the play, but the effect it had on me. Crikey! I even saw it coming. There were no surprises whatsoever. I knew and saw every plot twist before it happened. I knew the eventual outcome. I mean, it’s not as though this story has not already been told before. All the great writers have used this story structure in one form or an other. Yet, in spite of my preparedness, in spite of my reserve to not let it get to me … it really got to me! Crikey!
What a great testimony to the actors, the writers and the heart of the play’s message. It’s no wonder why it continues to sell out. It really is the best play I have ever seen and at the risk of taking Hamlet out of context I have to say, “The plays the thing“.
“Miss Saigon” was followed by a trip to “The Burger-Joint” and after dinner we spent the rest of Sunday evening exploring mid-town Gotham. Apparently I am not the first person to be attracted by the window displays at Tiffany’s.
On Monday, 9/11, we woke up relatively early and turned on the morning news. Although the 9/11 Memorial is on the other end of Manhattan there is still something very poignant and special about being present.
Offically just under 3,000 people died in the 2001 tragedy. Still, the silver lining, the underlying beauty is seeing, hearing and experiencing the resolve of New Yorkers determination to rise above it all. The names of everyone who died were read by surviving family. We heard testimonies from the children who grew up never knowing their parents. We heard from nephews, nieces, mothers and fathers, aunts, uncles and every relation in between. It was somber. It was powerful and a very important moment. Living in Washington state I am sometimes too distanced by my own world to compassionately feel and understand what is going on elsewhere in the world. It is easy to dismiss the past or the destructive events in other parts of the planet. Sometimes there is just too much happening and I feel a sense of helplessness.
As I wrote above, maybe if all of us simply took the time to slow down and really get to know each other better, then maybe we would be less indifferent about our fellow-man. The next time someone annoys you on the road or in the store try to be more patient and maybe throw out a prayer on their behalf. Maybe that’s why God has you there in the first place; to pray for those who really need it but have no one to pray for them.
I never curse anyone to hell, because quite frankly, if I’m that annoyed with them, then chances are they are in a kind of hell already. I’ve written about this before, but for me, the greatest revenge is to pray for my enemies. I would love to see a day when my enemies come to me asking not only for forgiveness, but thanking me for my prayers – in heaven – for all eternity! Said another way, if someone really gets to you, if someone you know is just about all evil as all evil can get, then which would be better, their death or their conversion? Wouldn’t it be better if they had a complete change of heart and spent the rest of their life trying to make it up to you?
There are people from my past who have hurt me deeply (and sadly, there are people I have hurt deeply). I pray for those who have hurt me. Again, I never wish them to hell. I try to pray and ask for their release from hell. And to those I have hurt in some form, big or small, I do heartily ask for your forgiveness. Life is too short to hold onto grudges. If I hate someone and continually send them wicked thoughts what does that do to them? I know first hand what is does to me, but what does it really do to them?
We’ve all had our hearts broken to one degree or another. I can remember a particularly bad break up I had a lifetime ago. I thought I really hated this person. I was spiteful, angry and more often than not, quite petty whenever I was around her following our break-up. Then, one day, I don’t recall the where or the how, but it just sort of dawned on me. I wasn’t angry with her. I didn’t really hate her. No, what was really bothering me, I discovered, is that I still loved her and I hated myself because I could not stop loving her! Hell, that was 30 years ago and I still love her to this day. In fact, I always will. And just to be clear, I am not saying that I am still in love with her. I am not saying I am nurturing those kinds of feelings whatsoever. The euphoria and desire for her died in the 80’s, but my love for her is eternal. People, I believe, are just wired this way, but we often don’t know this or understand it fully. The feelings for hatred I tried to aim at her for breaking my heart turned out to be a self-hatred deflected toward her. I hated myself for not being able to really hate her. I wanted to be indifferent. I didn’t want to care anymore about her. I thought I hated her, and I justified my anger because she had, after all, really hurt me, but what was ultimately making me miserable is that I could not turn off the fact that love really is forever. I didn’t want to accept the fact I would always care regardless what she did to me. (This truth, this awareness, gives me great pause because I have to wonder how our actions toward God must affect He-who-loves-us-eternally in spite of the fact we continually sin and reject Him … )
Okay, so moving right along, after watching the 911 Memorial from our hotel, we spent the rest of the day either hoofing our way to MSK via Central Park or waiting around the doctor’s office. My appointment was at 11:30 and we were seen just before 1:00. We finished just before 4:00 and had to hustle back to the hotel because our late check out (4:00) was clearly going to be missed. Obviously you know by now I was accepted for the prostate cancer treatment study, which I am extremely blessed and grateful about. Thank you again for all of your prayers. I continually thank God for you and all who prayed for me and especially anyone who went out of their way not to pray for me! (HA!)
For dinner Monday, we walked down to Carmine’s off Broadway where they only serve authentic southern Italian family style dishes. The food was great, but the Caesar salad alone would have easily fed four people. After dinner we “Lyfted” back to Newark Airport and spent the night at the Doubletree (yay points!). We caught the 7:00 am flight back home, which got us back by 9:00 am (an hour early), but we were, to say the least, quite worn out for the rest of the day.
BACK TO FAITH
I’ve attached Father Dwight D Longnecker’s article on suffering. Father D is a convert to Catholicisim and now a Catholic Priest (and on that note, one of my favorites to boot – and not just because we’re clones). I found his September 15th 2017 post rather apropos: