A furious week of reading and education of all the options before our next appointment.
Option#1…. Observation with Monitoring: Exam+PSA
Okay, lets do nothing? I’m forty-seven? How long before the cancer gets out of the prostate and into the surrounding lymph nodes and tissue? That is if in fact it has not already spread? Damn!! Jeez!! Lets see, uhm? do I want death now? or later? Lets take a big pass on this one.
Option#2…. Radical Prostatectomy
Oh wow, I can be neutered and never produce jizim again? I don’t quite understand? Nerve sparing surgery technique? How in gay hell do you spare the emotional trauma after surgery when you have to learn to piss again? To orgasm without cum? Possible impotence, and incontinence? I’m more confused than a one legged cat trying to bury shit on a frozen pond!!
Option#3…. Radiation Therapy, External Beam or your choice of Radioactive Seeds? Say what?? Would I like fries with that? I can only decipher that if they fry all the nerves, there is still no guarantee that cancer will not return, and then have to have a salvage prostatectomy with no chance of nerve sparing? Oh jeez, the possibilities are endless? A bottle cap cock and a sack of scrotum wrinkles with balls that retract into the body cavity? Impotence to boot!! What a pretty picture!!
Option#4…. Cryotherapy? Comparable to radiation by freezing the cancer cells to death. A new treatment with no long time results yet? OINK..OINK. me? A guinea pig ? Lets not even go there!
Option#5…. Hormone Therapy. This involves removing all the testosterone from the male body, and treating with female hormones that cause the cancer to go dormant! Now, most of our friends would say anyone who kept a large feathered boa under the skirted table in the living room was “NELLIE” enough. Oh great.. Like the world needs another approaching fiftyish overweight drag queen? Just not an option. I am sorry. As a gay male? I fit more in the “Butch Bull Dyke” category. Femininity is for camp humor only. Not a life style.
Our next appointment day arrives. Now as an Older homosexual with an experienced past, one learns to take nothing for granted concerning our lifestyle. There always seems to be some “NATZIE” Christian right spirit leering about with a rule book entitled “THE HETERO RULES OF GOD AND MAN” just waiting to remind you that your rights are second to their self appointed, but confirmed fucked up lifestyle. At this point only the healthy spirited gay person who in longevity has survived that sicko morals and dogma would understand the threat. Hey who are we to judge? Its okay to slap your wife and kids around as long as your in the pew on Sunday morning and the rent on your mistress’s apartment is paid in full. And your two ex-wives and children are to blame for your mis directed poisonous state of self loathing. Sure, go ahead society will turn its head while you direct your anger at our lifestyle cause you feel guilty about jacking off some boy during puberty that you never really got over. And truth be known? If you could suck your own hetero cock? You would! Sure you would!! But then what we would call you? Hey, in answering, I become the same as you. I’ve spewed too much already. In the past I have just called you “precious” and showered you with butch soap before sending you home to your wife.
So, back to appointment day. That soap box has a splinter in it anyway. In preparing the questions for answers derived from self education week, we decided the good doctor was right. Radical Prostatectomy was the best
course of permanent treatment for me. So now the good doctor is going to saw me in half and remove a precious part of maleness. We should make sure he is one of the “enlightened ones”. These are the truly good people on this earth who spare the world personal judgment and kindly go about treating equally all they encounter in life. But, just to make sure? We should use precaution. If we were in fact heterosexual? All these issues would just be a given. I decided that a man going that far in my body cavity from the opposite side deserves the truth. For myself, I did not need to wake up from surgery scarred, or disfigured by way of a rednecks scalpel. So I composed this cover letter with a list of clinical questions attached. The following letter was to inform the good doctor with courtesy, so as to save any conflict, or neglect that might affect myself or significant other during the treatment.
To: The good doctor
After reviewing the treatment options, I agree that the best direction for my prostate cancer is Radical Prostatectomy. I cannot imagine having the job of informing a patient of the diagnosis and suggested treatment. I applaud the manner in which I was informed. Thank you for the direct approach. I must admit, that I remember little of the facts presented as my body found denial mode and was trembling in limbo for most of the session. The complete melt down did not occur until reaching the car.
With complete confidence in you, as urologist, and surgeon, we feel you are the best man to approach curing my prostate cancer.
There are questions and conditions of which must be addressed. With respect for the Doctor/Patient boundaries, there are individual and personal issues that cannot go without answers. Bruce, whom you met at the appointment is my significant other, my next of kin, family, power of attorney, life partner and caretaker for near Twenty years now . It would be expected that he receive all spousal rights, information, and courtesies extended to married couples. If for any reason, personal or otherwise, these terms are not acceptable to you, we would accept a referral by you to another competent urologist.
We have just been through Papillary Squamous Cell Carcinoma this summer with Bruce, and are still in caretaker mode. Our hospital of choice is St. Johns, as we have always been pleased with care there. Not to mention we actually live next to their parking garage.
We have decided to deal with this prostate cancer positively with laughter, jokes and giggles on the surface. Not for one minute discounting the seriousness of condition and cure. With all that out of the way, there are a number of questions concerning the cure itself.
Wow, now that’s out of the way. His reaction to the letter he read in our presence was classy. Extremely classy and professional. So much so, that I ask him if he understood verbally, and was glad to hear his side smile response, that he had no problem with that at all. An enlightened one. Thank you Jesus!! And with that behind we went on to the questions feeling much at ease. He with us , and us with him.
I’m not much of a drinker these days, as my youth was filled with many a staggering party. I could feel the need to just let go and perhaps an episodic slouchy drunk was just what I needed to cope. Bruce takes over the shop at 1:30 most days and this Friday I pull in the drive way to find our long time friend and housekeeper Gary there arranging and tending to our home and life as he has now for many years. The usual back door greeting “honey? I’m home” jokes and a very personal discussion about my predicament over a cigarette. I suddenly became even more depressed and suggested that Gary drive me to the neighborhood gay bar so that I might stay out of his way, and do some woeful self pity shit. Gary hesitated at first, not wanting to be an enabler of bad deed. None the less, his submission was safer than letting me drive myself. As I said Gary has known us a very long time. He pulled up in front of Renegades bar at two-ish in the afternoon, and would not even let me go in by myself.
He walked me in, sat me down on a stool, mumbled to Dancer Greg the bartender, then checked on me one more time before his exit. I knew full well, that Greg now knew my story, but not my intoxicated intention for the afternoon. It was not long before he had to tuck his skirt for my adventure.
As I sat at the bar at two o’clock in the afternoon it dawned on me that I was the only customer. Now how in gay hell can you have a “pity party” without innocent unsuspecting souls to commiserate with? I ask dancer Greg when the bar started to get full and he said not for a couple of hours. Well, “GAY DADDY” aint having that shit. In proper queenly manor I retrieved my cell phone and called every number on the save list. Without explanation I said “just quit whatever you are doing and go directly to renegades bar in gay haste” I would explain when they arrived. Several shots of straight sky chased by water glasses of cranberry and vodka later the masses began to arrive. There was, Mike, and Daryn, Justin, Bruce, Doctor Dan, Doc john, along with others they had called in concern. Not to mention, the entire cast of the movie “PEARL HARBOR”.
I was such a mess by this time I cannot remember them all, but Greg ask me to come back everyday at two o’clock as I was good for business. Bruce swears I was on the floor at times. I don’t doubt it. He thought I was the happiest drunk he had ever seen, as well as the heaviest. But everyone that mattered knew the story from that afternoon on. We had a surgery date and prepared to process the last jizim filled weeks.
The two or Three weeks preceding the surgery were more mental preparation than anything. I went to work as usual, but while there on the side prepared to up date my wills. Retrieved the Living Will, and Dual power of Attorney papers for what was to be ahead of us. For years, in jest one of my sayings was “WELL, JUST SHOOT HER IN THE DICK!!” That old actualization tool of the 70’s came to mind, and perhaps I had said it too much? For in fact, I have been literally shot in the dick! I choose to delete that little one liner for awhile till this plays out.
February 13th would be slash day surgery. Out of mind for the most part, but you can damn well believe I called up some of those old mercy fucks for one more jizim spray!! And a few new ones to boot! I had so much fun with my cock that when our friend Doc John called and ask is there anything he could do? I replied “ hell yes, Sister!! I’ve worn the skin off the side!! call me in some antibiotics to heal this tenderness!!” Which he did promptly and with concern. Nearing slash day on a solo mission of cum slinging, I caught the DNA in a cloth, double bag zip-locked it, and ritually placed it in a small round stainless steel canister. It lies in the bottom of the freezer for no reason except that I once was whole. It is like the great creator just chose to not renew my cock hunting license. They were returned VOID, EXPIRED, JUST SHOOT HER IN THE DICK. Like he said, cut that bitch off. He has had more than his share of hot sport sex.
I cried some, laughed some, took stock of the man above and beside me, and shared the time behind with reference to the times ahead. Seems everything I went to do in those weeks I approached as this might be the last time? Is this the last time I go to the flea market? The last time I enjoy sex? Perhaps the last time I unlock the shop door? The last time I piss on my own? My luck is bountiful in so many aspects, and this one time required more than chance or luck. Slash day approaches.
I was to be in the hospital at least three days. The second day being Valentines Day, I set out to find the perfect VALENTINE for Bruce and thanked him for a wonderful life. You see the drama queen surfaced. If he got the card on Valentines Day? I may be dead. What a swan song! Seems I, as a gay man have always been dragging some bitchy queens through ordeals they insisted they did not want to participate in. “It would be just like that bitch Jared to die first!” I could hear them from the grave. Other than the timing, there was no joke in my message.
The day before surgery found me scurrying about, Bruce let me have most of the day off to feather my nest or pick a cremation urn. I wished at this time the ashes in a 1947 Howdy Doody Cookie Jar, and dragged around bar hopping had not been gayly done already. No food after six o’clock, and the Fisting enema special before surgery was all that remained.
The Clamppets [my born family] were to arrive the next morning and spend the day in great family concern with Bruce in the waiting room. I had just begged and pleaded that my Father not attend. That reason would in itself be another book. Seems they all do just what they want, and try to convince you that it was in your best interest anyway. So here we are, surgery morning, Mom, Pop, [who have been divorced since I was TEN] Nurse Rachitt, my older sister Sissy, followed by the 45 year old baby girl Kathy.
They parked across the street and all entered at the same time. We bonded as closely as any dysfunctional family can, while Bruce played the Daughter-law-role. Sis was a little perturbed that Bruce was in charge and in less than subtle ways dropped hints of her disapproval. Kathy as usual was peeking out from behind her bangs, and all three of us stepped out side to smoke one last time. We even had a photo session. Its rare the original cast of “Paradise Lost” are in the same place at the same time. Now deep down, you know that you are loved by your parents and siblings, and I must say with all the rancid water under the bridge their presence was comforting. Our family is most individual, and each knows his own way. Next to each other is the making of one of those oil and water family movie saga’s you always see during the holiday season ending with everyone crying and forgiving . Yeah right, “You go ahead and start without me, I am trying to quit!!” Hey love is the known factor here. It’s that closeness thing that scares all of us, me think.
Any ways here they are, coffee hugs and awaiting the removal of my prostate. I have to trick them into giving Bruce and I a thirty minute head start. They complied and we went ahead to be checked into pre admission testing room. I remember little after the first IV, but they all were there when I was wheeled out of my room, and a tear I detected on Moms cheek. I remember vaguely seeing my cousin Charles and the long hall way that led to the operating room. How surreal!! That old grade school cafeteria tan tile all the way up the walls. There were people everywhere. I struggled to see what each was doing. Another IV and a sweet girls voice explaining the journey ahead of me. There was the kind doctor suddenly. He pulled down his face mask smiled and ask if I was ready? I replied “I’m ready if you are sober?” He smiled again. Counting backwards I slipped from conscience between six and three.
I remember being in the door of my semi private room next. I heard them all scurrying about the door, and being pulled on to my bed. That peculiar cowboy, my dad was crying and he bent to kiss me on the forehead. I heard him say he just wanted to hear me speak. So I did, Now go away!! Go count cows and money. There was Bruce all tear eyed, and Mom and Sis and Kathy, and Joe our loyal and long time friend. Hail, hail, the gang is all here. The day it seems was more stressful on the waiting family than on me. So stressful that Sis and Kathy had to shop for shoes and find a BINGO hall just to cope.
The Sleep and pain were the most I remember that first day, and awaking to see Bruce laying across two chairs for the whole of the night. The next day was little to share other than the visitors, flowers and gifts. There was Daryn and Mike. Pretty John, and Nathan. Steve and John, and my precious niece Shelia sat for most of the day. My old high school chum Joe and his wife. More percocet please, percoset. This is when I first became aware of my surroundings. There was Nurse LINDA!! Super Nurse Bitch from Hell.
Nurse Linda looked like one of those black and white crime photos of the murdered victims of Richard Speck back in the 60’s. Oh, all right already, so you have to be as old as I am to remember that nationally known murder case! She had one of those little starched half moon caps with some superior stripe across the top. At first I thought she was concerned for my painful situation. She was concerned all right. She was concerned that she was on a double shift and wanted little bother from me!! She was most successful at letting my pain get ahead of my medication! What a superior bitch!! It was on about the end of the second day, that a fill in doctor from the urology clinic checked in on me. What a SAINT this kind doctor was. He called in my own prescription, so that I did not have to rely on Nurse Linda. So like a junkie, I hid my own pain medication and applied as needed.
As previously mentioned, I was in a semiprivate room. In the next bed was a very old naked man between ninety and death, who in great concentration tugged and pulled at his catheter. Later that day, another older fill in doctor came in to check on me. He went right to the old guy in the next bed, thinking it was me. He was sort of shocked that a man as young as me had just had a radical prostatectomy. “Not much to excite either of us Doc!!” I said. Another large nurse came in and announced my private room was ready. I was in such pain, I requested not to be touched, much less moved to another room. And besides, Elmer Fudd in the next bed made little if any fuss.
Now in the hospital, I discovered, there is a job of dubious distinction. This job is the catheter cleaner. That’s right, he goes all over the hospital, cotton swab and soap cleaning every catheterized dick in the hospital about 4 times a day!! Where does a semi retired gay man apply for this job??
About the middle of the second day they came to retrieve my zombie roommate for a return trip back to “GODS LITTLE WAITING ROOM RETIREMENT HOME”. It did not occur to me that his bed would be filled again shortly. If I had known this, I would have suffered the discomfort of the previous offer to move to a private room. It was not long before an entourage wheeling a bed full of head trauma victim came crashing into my pain filled world. Having lots of gay friends with flower industry connections had my first side of the room cluttered with bouquets and well wishes.
Seems they had to move every arrangement twice to cart my catatonic roommate to the far side of the curtain. It was like being caught up in the movie with Dan Akroyd, “Ground hog Day”. Everything happened over and over again. Bruce was there, and some lady kept calling on the phone wanting to know about the new person. I heard Bruce say “look lady, I’m here visiting someone else. I don’t know anything about your son” Then he abruptly hung up.