[Photo is of a plaque on a firehouse near where I live. It is a memorial to the 12 firefighters from of that unit who died on 9/11. (Only one man returned.) The sentiments apply equally to the men we have lost to PC, including my dear friend, Hughie. “I can die but canna part, my bonnie dearie.”]
All week long in the PC groups I’ve been reading beautiful tributes to a man named Harry Pinchot. I’ve been scratching my head, wondering — who was this guy? Well, I’m sure I’m not the only one. Turns out Harry was a longtime PC patient, a friend in need and deed, and loved by many. Chuck Maack called him an “Advocate’s Advocate.” Harry worked closely with Dr. Stephen Strum at the “Prostate Cancer Research Institute” (“PCRI”). In fact, he was their first employee. A friend sent me the text of a speech Harry had given, and I’m posting some excerpts Ted and I found poignant (full text is available on yananow.net).
ASK NOT WHAT YOUR WIFE CAN DO FOR YOU”
“We, that’s you and I, have come to expect our wives and partners to be there for us in our time of need, to care for us, to share our fears, to be concerned when treatment is not going well and to celebrate when our test results are good.
“We can talk for hours about PC with friends and acquaintances and expect our wives to not only listen ad nauseam but to also agree with us at all times. We often become fixated with our problems — and the fear of our own mortality– while at the same time becoming oblivious to the needs of our spouse.
“We must remember that SHE not only has to deal with our mood swings, declining health, unusual diets, anxiety over PSA test results, doctor visits, insurance and all the other issues relating to our disease that we deal with — but she must also face her own fears. These are real and pervasive fears which often are not fully shared with us. She must come to grips with the very real possibility of losing her spouse, her lover, her life partner, her best friend and often her primary source of income.
“When we lay our heads upon our pillow for the last time and go gently into the night our problems are over. It is she who must pick up the pieces and move on in life’s journey without us. Recognize her fears and the load she must carry. Do not dismiss her concerns because you deem your concerns to be of greater significance. They are not!
“Ask not what she can do for you but rather think of how you can make her life with you a pleasant experience and not a burden. Ask yourself what you can do to make her life now, and after you are gone, a better life.
“Express your appreciation for all the things she does for you. For she changes the bed sheets, cooks your special meals, reminds you to take medications and fluffs the pillow of life for you, while she suppresses her fears, her failed dreams and disappointments, because she loves you.
“Every man, even those as dense as I am, understands that roses are a symbol of love and affection. We have all given roses to our wives and daughters on special occasions when we wish to express our love and affection for them. Please take your partner’s right hand in yours and, holding a rose in your left hand, look directly into her eyes and repeat after me.
Please accept this rose as a symbol of my love for you, and as an expression of my appreciation and recognition of all that you have done for me. For being my partner, for being there at my darkest moments, for sharing both my victories and my disappointments, for caring for and caring about me as we travel down the road of life together?'”
Make that a LONG-STEMMED ROSE. Preferably a DOZEN.