Thursday, February 28, 2013

Prostate Cancer Treatment Update

Bill entering the cancer center

Yesterday I met with my doctor (an oncologist) at the local cancer and radiation oncology center.  I had just about made up my mind as to what kind of treatment I wanted for my prostate cancer.  After meeting with him yesterday, and hearing him explain my options for treatment, I have decided to have radiation seed implant therapy.

Me checking in

Yesterday's meeting took about three hours. The first hour or so was supplying them with all my paperwork (insurance, doctor's, blood tests, medical history, etc).  

The second hour was meeting with my oncologist.  He went over my prostate biopsy result with me.  He explained to me that my cancer was discovered early and I had a 95% chance of survival if I decided on a treatment.  He told me that my cancer ewas "localized" and had not spread beyond my prostate. He said if I decided not to do anything, that maybe I would have another ten years of life.  

Bill waiting with me in the doctor's office

He asked how long my father lived (80) and my mother (86).  He explained to me that I had a "long lived familial history" and that if I got treatment I would probably have another "good" twenty years.  I'll take that!  I'm 71 now, that means I would be blogging until I was 91 years old before I faded out to the big Gay Bar in the sky.

Then he went over my five choices of options.

  1. Do nothing.  Just live with my prostate cancer.  This is the option where I would probably live another ten years assuming my cancer didn't turn aggressive.
  2. Remove my prostate by a radical prostatectomy.  He said at my age (over 70) this probably wasn't my best choice but that I could have it done because he said I "appeared" in good health.  I had long since decided not to go this route because of the incontinence side effects as well as impotence.  I'm not ready to go eunuch yet.  
  3. Hormonal therapy.  This is one I hadn't considered and after hearing the side effects, I decided against this one too.  Basically this therapy turns you into a woman.  They inject female hormones into me to lower my testosterone (as if it isn't low enough already) to slow the growth of the prostate cancer.  Some of the side effects are that I would grow breasts (I already have man boobs which is quite enough thank you), gain weight, lose muscle tone, get hot flashes and basically become a woman going through menopause.  No thank you.  Option out.
  4. Direct radiation therapy.  This is where they pinpoint the cancerous cells in my prostate.  They paint my stomach and make a mold of my hips so I don't move when they radiate me five times a week (weekends off) for nine weeks.  Not only is it inconvenient going to the cancer center for forty-two visits, they also have forty-two times to get it wrong. In other words, radiate a non-cancerous part of my prostate gland. He said I could move or my prostate could move.  A definite possibility that my prostate could move after my experience with the latest video I downloaded from "Clothed Men-Nude Men".
  5. Radiation seed implant therapy.  This is where they pin point (by an very invasive procedure which doesn't thrill me) the cancerous cells in my prostate and  inject 80 to 90 radioactive seeds in my prostate.  Even though the procedure is very invasive (apparently there is no getting out of invasive procedures with prostate cancer) I decided this was the best option for me.  My doctor agreed.  He told me the downsides were that I couldn't hold my grandchildren in my lap.  Bill was sitting with me in the room with him and I explained to him who Bill was and that I didn't have grandchildren nor would I be holding any children (grandchildren or not) in my lap in the foreseeable future.  In fact, I don't think I ever had a child sit in my lap in my lifetime.  He also told me that I shouldn't hug pregnant women.  OH WELL, no worry there either.  Then I told him that I may be near a pregnant women at my upcoming family reunion in October.  He said "As long as you don't hug them for half an hour."  Not likely.  He did say that I could be with a man....close.  Oh well, that's not going to happen either at my age.  The only sexual experience I'm going to have is to be near my iMac watching my latest "Clothed Man-Nude Man" download.  He told me that wouldn't be a problem.  Thank you God.
So my next visit on March 15th, he and my urologist with knock me out with anesthesia, catheterize me (a first, getting catheterized, finally after avoiding it all these years); then they "map out" my prostate prior to inserting the radioactive seed implants at a later day.  Oh joy.  Want to know some of the details?  In addition to "markers" to my prostate though my anus, needles will be inserted through my scrotum.  Good thing I'm out.  

Me waiting for my oncologist

Then when I come too they remove the catheter (not looking forward to THAT) and send me on my way.  He did say that if my prostate swelled up they may have to leave the catheter in so I could pee.  Hopefully that doesn't happen folks.  

Then he said "about a month later we'll do the actual seed implants."  He said they will remain radioactive up to ten months.  I'm not sure if those needles go through my scrotum at this time or while they're doing the "mapping" of my prostate.  I sort of "blurred out" when I head "needles through your scrotum."  

So that's it folks.  I do feel less anxious and more at ease with myself since I made my treatment decision.  Now just to get through it.

Bill checking out the puzzle at the cancer center

One thing I do want to say though, I was very impressed by how they treated me yesterday.  They took their time with me and answered all my question in a patient and respectful way.  I didn't feel rushed at all by anyone, especially the doctor.  That's one of my pet peeves with doctors, some of them never seem to have time to discuss things with you, they're so quick to get to the patient in the next room.  This wasn't my experience yesterday.  

Another thing that impressed me greatly was that they allowed and even encouraged Bill to be in the room with me.  Not only did this save me the trouble to explaining everything to Bill (which I always have to do after visiting a doctor), but it showed me that they respected both me and Bill and our relationship.  I actually got choked up a couple of times, sentimentalist that I am.  

So I'm on my way folks.  I'll still be able to attend the Blog-a-Rama March 22nd and 23rd.  And hopefully my seeds will be implanted in time for Bill and I to take our annual vacation down south.  I'll be radioactive but maybe that's what they need down there to wake them up to the reality of diversity.  Not only will a gay couple who have been together forty-eight years be traveling through red states Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia; I'll be leaving a radioactive trail behind us.  Oh if they only knew.  

Me at Tallulah Gorge, Georgia last year


Wednesday, February 27, 2013


During my high school days I wasn't much good in any sport.  I went out for basketball but never learned how to dribble (sounds like a STD condition doesn't it?) and move the ball down the court at the same time.  Uncoordinated I was. Plus, I didn't like that jab to the ribs I usually got from players on the opposing team when I tried to hang a basket.  Even though I was tall (6'4") for my age (12), Ron wasn't going to be a basketball star.

Next up was football. First of all I throw a football like a girl (my gay gene in full bloom).  Secondly, have you even been on the bottom of a pile up?  All that mud and bodies laying on top of you?  What really freaked me out was the seeing the cleats of the shoes at eye level whilst the side of my face was squashed in the mud.  Ron wasn't going to be a football star, even though I was a tight end (gay gene again).

Next up, track.  I tried the high hurdles but almost always knocked every one down, much to the amusement of my friend Stuart in the stands who would let out a low guffaw that could be heard for miles.  Then I tried long distance running, the mile.  That's four times around the track folks.  First time I ran the mile I noticed that some of my fellow sportsters had ran completely around the track once and were passing me.  I was told that I was "lapped."  I stuck with long distance running for longer than any other sport but after one season decided to give it up after having finished last in all my races save one, in which I finished next to last.  Ron wasn't going to be a track star.

That's me, first row kneeling on the right - 1959

Next up baseball.  Well, since I threw a football like a girl, how do you think I threw a baseball?  That's right, Priscilla Mae throws a long one!  Baseball out, even when I played the outfield.  You should have seen me dancing around the outfield trying to catch a long fly only to have it fall behind me, in front of me, and even one time right on my noggin.  Ron wasn't going to be the next Joe Dimaggio.

Now we come (no pun intended) to a sport that I liked and did well in, wrestling.  I don't know why but I was very agile in wrestling.  I didn't have the weight (I was skinny all through high school, never weighing more than 160 for my 6'4" inches of height) but I was able to outthink most of my opponents. However, I had one BIG problem.  As you know in wrestling, the outfits are tight and some of the holds  Now this is where my gay gene comes into play again.  Because I was young with my hormones just starting to kick in, wrestling was out of the question for me.  Oh sure, I tried it but invariably I became aroused (or halfway aroused-my lady readers might not understand this but I'm sure most of my male readers understand) and I would have to throw the match to end it quickly before I became the butt (no pun intended, well maybe) of jokes.  "Hey look!  Tipton has a hard on! What are you?  A fairy?"  Oh sure, I wanted to GO THERE.  

So last night while I was perusing the local newspaper I came across these wrestling photos that brought back fond (and erotic) memories of the one high school sport I enjoyed - wrestling.  

So what was your favorite high school sport?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Colonoscopies and Other Invasive Medical Procedures

Today's subject is about the importance of getting a regular colonoscopy once you are over fifty years of age.

I was having a hard time coming up with a subject for today's blog post until I read my friend Dr. Spo's blog today. He will be undergoing his first colonoscopy in a couple of days.  I left two comments on his blog on the importance of getting regular colonoscopies.  

I was going to write about my upcoming procedure for my prostate cancer. My first appointment is tomorrow at the radiation oncology  unit at the Tunnel Cancer Center in Rehoboth Beach, DE.  Of course I am dreading this, the precursor to yet another invasive procedure to my body but a necessary one if I am to survive cancer free for a few more years.  Tomorrow I won't be poke or jabbed or suffer humiliation, pain and discomfort.  Tomorrow is a "get to know you" meeting which will take about two hours.  After going through all my options, I have decided to have radioactive seed implants.  More about that in another post.  This post is about the importance of colonoscopies.

I have had three colonoscopies.  The worst part about the colonoscopy procedure is what they innocently call "the prep."  That is the night before the procedure in this you have to cleanse your bowel tract of any fecal matter.  I won't sugar coat this, it is rough.  You have to drink 8 oz glasses of 4 liters of a liquid that taste like a mixture of toilet bowl cleaner and lime juice.  Gag?  After drinking the first few glasses you can call yourself "Lady Gag.....a".  God, it is AWFUL.  During my last "prep", I had Bill take a video of me drinking it and I posted it to You Tube.  It wasn't funny while I was taking it but I knew it would be funny someday.  I sort of see the humor in it now, I didn't then.  Dave Barry has a very funny article about his own "prep".  Hilarious but so true.  To read his colonoscopy article click here.

The actual procedure itself the next day is nothing.  In fact, it's sort of fun.  You don't even remember going out.  My last colonoscopy was in April of 2011.  It was a breeze.  I remember right before I was administered my "flight" medicine, my physicians' assistant asked me "Are you ready for your trip?"  I responded "I am sir".  The photos below were taken after my procedure.  As you can see I was still a little high and just returning to earth.  Now you can see why you need a driver.

Afterwards I was STARVING.  Hey, a little chicken broth the day before doesn't do it for me.  So what did I do?  I had Bill take me straight away to the Rehoboth Diner and I ordered my fav:  Eggplant Parmesan with fries!  This was 10:30 in the morning.  Best eggplant parm I've ever had in my life and I ate ALL OF IT.  

Let me emphasize the importance of having a regular colonoscopy after age fifty.  My Uncle Sam Tipton and my cousin Jeffrey Tipton never had colonoscopies.  Uncle Sam was 67 and cousin Jeffrey was 43. They always refused to have the procedure.  They both died of colon cancer.  My friend Ron B. never would have a colonoscopy. He died last year of colon cancer.  He was my age.  
My good friend and former boss Bill P. discovered he had colon cancer five years ago during a routine annual medical exam.  He had an operation that lasted eight hours.  He was given a one in four chance of survival. He sold his house and moved into a development so his wife wouldn't have to worry about mowing the grass and house maintenance.  He survived his operation only to have the colon cancer return six months later.  He had another operation which was successful.  He has now been a cancer survivor for over five years.  His doctor told him that if waited until the symptoms of colon cancer (usually blood in the toilet which is what both my uncle and cousin experienced), then it is usually too late.  

I know a colonoscopy is a very invasive procedure.  I recently had a prostate biopsy which was also a very invasive (and painful) procedure.  There are always risks involved in invasive procedures but when you weigh the odds, they're just not in your favor when you are over fifty and there is a history of colon cancer in your family.  

I wish my friend Dr. Spo well during his colonoscopy and also want to emphasize that he is doing exactly the right thing.  
My brother John laughing after I told him about my colonscopy "prep" night when I told him of my travails on iPhone FaceTime - brothers - never any sympathy

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ron's Oscar Observations

Maybe next time Bradley, you cutie

First of all, I was so disappointed that my favorite actor Bradley Cooper didn't win Best Actor.  Oh well, Bradley will be around for a long time.  I was very pleased that his date to the Oscars was his Mom.
Seth MacFarland - not funny and won't be back
What was my opinion of the Oscar host Seth MacFarland? I wasn't impressed folks.  I never saw him before and I've never seen "Family Guy" or "Ted" and for sure I won't see those now.  He's just not funny.  Color me a fuddy duddy old man.  MacFarland really lost me with his Abraham Lincoln assassination "joke."  Yeah, real funny Seth.  Captain Kirk was right, you'll go down in history as one of the worst Oscar hosts ever.  

Here are some of my biased and unfair Oscar show observations:

Renee - forget the makeup?

Channing Tatum (hottie) and Charlize Theron - great dancers!
Paul Rudd and another dud performance - who is this guy?
Shirley Bassey knocking it out of the park!
  • Renee Zellweger - what was with the washed out look?
  • Who was that midget woman on the pre show red carpet show?  Squeaky voice and annoying.
  • Channing Tatum, hottie.  Loved the short hair.  Refreshing look on a Hollywood actor for a change.
  • Paul Rudd - what was he on?  Why is he at all the awards shows?  Who is he?
  • Two Edgar Winter look-a-likes won awards.  What is with the woman hair on these behind the scene guys?
Somebody crawled out from under his rock to accept his Oscar 
  • Man, there are some real fugly behind the scene guys and gals.
Fugly ugly behind the scenes Oscar winner - check out the "do"
  • I LOVED the playoff music - JAWS!
  • Still a lot of thanks to the kids from the winners but thank goodness only a few "Harvey Weinstein" thanks. 
  • Shirley Bassey, at 76 years old, knocked it out of the park with her non-lip synched version of "Goldfinger."  
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones lip synched her "Chicago" number.  Just saying.
  • I love Adele but I couldn't hear her.  Whoever thought the overproduction of the orchestra and chorus was a good idea should be banned from future Oscar productions.
  • I was all right with the Less Miserables singing until I saw Russell Crowe.  Russell sings?
  • Barbra Streisand - was it me or did she see nervous?  Miss Perfection, not so much last night
  • Daniel Day-Lewis - good actor but I never got his appeal, he's too intense for me.  Meryl Streep is also a good actor (actress) but does it with ease. DDL always seems like he's trying too hard.  Distracting.
What happened Kirsten?  Poor baby.

Ben, we hardly knew ye
This is not Kirsten Stewart but some jackass who wanted to be different, he was
  • Kirsten Stewart - my God, who beat her up?  I think she's attractive in a funky sort of way but poor Kirsten.  What happened to you honey?
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt - who knew he could dance?
  • What was Ben Afleck on?
  • Jamie Fox - what was with the sequined black bow tie?
  • That whole "thing" at the beginning of the show with William Shatner as Captain Kirk - too long, boring and unfunny.  Love Bill Shatner though.  
The Oscar winners 2013 - congratulations to all - job well done!
  • Seth MacFarland and the "Saw Your Boobs" song - not funny and actually embarrassing.  How about a host that plays it straight for a change?  Just saying.
  • Jennifer Lawrence - fell on the steps to accept her Oscar - how embarrassing. Reminds me of the time I tripped coming from the bathroom at the Purple Parrot.  I missed that step-down and did the "Ron Twist" to avoid falling on my face.  However, I did lose face. 
Jennifer Lawrence trips on her train - private parts lite up

So there you go folks, my unscientific and unfair review of the Oscars.  
Burt and Deborah back in the good old days when movies were magic

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"And the award goes to..........."

Me announcing awards at Girard Bank Bowling Banquet - 1973

Oscar weekend folks!  Have you picked your favorites to win?  I have to confess that I haven't seen any of the movies (I wait until they're on Netflix) but I still have my favorites.  


Bradley Cooper

I've seen clips of his role in "Silver Linings Playbook" and I was very impressed.  I know everyone thinks Daniel Day-Lewis has Best Actor locked up but I think Bradley will be the upset winner.  At least I hope he wins.  He is just too gorgeous not to win. 


Jennifer Lawrence

With all the buzz about Jennifer Lawrence I don't see how she cannot win.  I've never seen her act but I have a strong feeling the tide is in her favor

Me receiving an award as Best Guest Service Representative from Mr. Cordrey, Vice President Hilton Hotels Corp, Epcot Center, Disneyworld, Florida - 2000


Christoph Waltz: 

He is the flavor of the month.  All good nominees but I think the Usual Suspects in this category cancel each other out


Helen Hunt 

I would love to see Sally Field win just to hear what she says after winning her third Academy Award but I don't think that's going to happen.  Helen Hunt has this one locked up



It won't win any acting award but it will definitely win Best Picture.  Can't miss.


Steven Spielberg  

Not even close

Me receiving the 50/50 winnings at the Cheer Center Veterans Day benefit 2004 - ironically I was invited to attend this function at the last minute and didn't have my uniform on - so embarrassed but I still took the money $$$$$$$$

Friday, February 22, 2013

March Bloggerthon

Well folks, the date is fast approaching for the "March Bloggerthon", also known a the "Spotacular" or more conservatively known as the "East Coast Blogger Get Together".  This is your chance to meet Dr. Spo and Someone and other East Coast bloggers. 

For those of you planning on attending please  click this link for more information about The Inn At Canal Square, in Lewes, Delaware; the site of the Bloggerthon. Please click our new video on our website to discover the unique charm of our quaint inn on the canal.  

So far we have about twenty bloggers (and spouses) attending this event which will be held on the weekend of March 22nd and 23rd.  Saturday night, March 23rd we are having a meet and greet catered by Nage from 6 pm to 8 pm.  The cost per person is $25 which includes food and an open bar.  Yes, you heard right, an open bar.  Music will be supplied as well as a few surprises, including a visit by our nationally renown humorist writer Fay Jacobs.

For more information please e-mail me.  Hurry, if you're planning on attending, that time is fast approaching.  You don't want to miss this.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

More I "Never Did That!"

Hey folks, my "Things I Never Did Meme" was so popular and fun that I decided to do another.  Here goes:

  1. I've never visited the Grand Canyon (would love to someday but not by myself)
  2. Never been arrested (although most of my friends have)
  3. Never had a mug shot taken (although most of my friends have)
  4. Never got a traffic ticket (did get a warning once for speeding from a very cute and YOUNG officer)
  5. Never told anyone to go "F_CK" themselves to their face 
  6. Never looked on someone else's desk (at work) when they were away to gain information (although I have since found out most people do)
  7. Never been to the top of the Philadelphia City Hall (although worked right next to City Hall for over thirty years and always meant to go there one day)
  8. Never soaped up a car or strung toilet paper for a Halloween prank
  9. Never learned how to do Algebra
  10. Never built a model airplane (or ship)
  11. Never flew in a helicopter
  12. Never been catheterized (although I understand that will end soon when I undergo prostate therapy treatment...oh God)
  13. Never went hunting (although I disrupted some hunters on my land)
  14. Never rode a dune buggy or an ATV (and never will)
  15. Never danced a waltz (or polka) - would love to learn

That's it for now folks.  Next up is "Things That I Have Did Which Would Surprise You".

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thing's I've Never Done Meme

Time for a fun post.  I got this idea from Dr. Spo Jim.  This is a meme for things I've never done.  This one will be easy for me because there are a LOT of things I've never done.

  1. I've never married
  2. I've never had sex with a woman
  3. I've never done coke or heroin
  4. I've never been to any foreign country except Canada
  5. I've never changed a flat tire
  6. I've never skied, water or snow
  7. I've never driven in a city
  8. I've never eaten lamb
  9. I've never seen a rock concert in person
  10. I've never seen a Broadway show
  11. I've never had a published work
  12. I've never eaten clams
  13. I've never been to a Nascar race or any race (horse included)
  14. I've never been in a movie or TV show
  15. I've never been part of a foursome
  16. I've never seen a Moose in person
  17. I've never sold any of my artwork
  18. I've never won any race I've been in
  19. I've never eaten eel
  20. I've never punched a person in the face (slapped yes)
  21. I've never been knocked unconscious
  22. I've never killed an animal bigger than a  chicken
  23. I've never met Jennifer Lopez (nor do I want to)
  24. I've never met Bradley Cooper (but I do in the worst way)
  25. I never went deep sea fishing
  26. I've never had my appendix removed (or gall bladder)
  27. I've never mucked a horse stable
  28. I've never ridden a horse
  29. I never rode on my father's shoulders (or any other man for that matter)
  30. I never had a sister
  31. I never had a child (see #2)
  32. I never had a swimming pool (one lifetime goal unrealized)
  33. I've never had an affair with a black or Asian man 
  34. I've never had a party at my house
  35. I've never owned a snake
  36. I've never changed the oil in a car
  37. I've never bought diamond rings for anyone but myself
  38. I never learned a foreign language
  39. I never learned how to play the piano
  40. I never learned how to crochet (but I can do crewel and counted cross stitch)
  41. I never laid a brick (but I have laid some men)
  42. I never rode a tractor
  43. I never went on a cruise to the Bahamas
  44. I never met a person I didn't like initially
  45. I never wrote a song
  46. I never sky dived (or bungee jumped)
  47. I never ate an insect intentionally
  48. I never felt a woman's breasts (ewww!)
  49. I never wore a white, silk, slinky dress
  50. I never changed a diaper (yet)
There, that was easy!  Next up, a partial list of what I have done.  A censored list that is.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happiness Is...

The story behind this picture is this:

Every day - at the same time - she waits for him.

He comes... and they go for a walk.

Great to have friends like this. No words needed.
They just intuitively recognize the value of each
other in their lives and act accordingly.
Happiness is having a friend to walk with.........

I have to post something positive today folks.  Too much drama lately on this blog.  

 I'm even more convinced that I made the right decision to have radiation therapy for my prostate cancer. I'm still not sure whether I'll have seed implant or the prolonged fifteen week, five days a week short term radiation sessions.  Yesterday I made an appointment on February 27th with the oncology unit for my introduction to this procedure.  One good thing, the location where the therapy is just a few miles down the road from my house.  

All this is still heavy on my mind but at least I was able to get to sleep last night unlike a few nights ago when I couldn't get to sleep.  At that time I went to bed having made the decision to have my prostate removed.  I just couldn't go that route which is what my inner self was telling me be keeping me up all night.  

On to better and lighter subjects now.  I've dwelt long enough on my health problems in this blog.  I saw this series of photos this morning which uplifted me.  Maybe some of you have already seen it but I think it is well worth sharing again.  

Have a great day!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Decision Made

Lady Mary and Matthew

I made my decision for treating my prostate cancer.  After talking to several prostate cancer survivors and viewing You Tube videos of the different procedures I have decided that the radiation therapy is best for a man my age.  If I was a younger man perhaps I would go for the prostate removal but I just don't want to take the chance of being incontinent for the rest of my life.  

Tom Branson - my favorite hottie on "Downtown Abbey"

This morning I made the call to the radiation oncology center and left a message for them to call me back.  I have to make an appointment to get this procedure rolling.  I know this will be time consuming (probably five times a day for at least twelve weeks) but it is something that has to be done.  I would prefer just to have my prostate removed but because of my near death experience with a hernia operation when I was seventeen years old (17 now I'm 71, I am superstitious), I just have this foreboding feeling that I would have disastrous side effects from the operation.  

Mrs. O'Brien
Having said that, now on to a subject that took my mind off of my present situation.  How many of you saw the last episode of "Downton Abbey" last night?  I won't spoil it for anyone by telling you what happened but isn't "Downton Abbey" just the best show around these days?  I just savor every moment of it.  I love it when they introduce new characters, they're all so interesting.  Tell you what though, Mr. Bates is still boring.  What can I say?  I like Mr. Bates when he's involved in straightening out Mrs. O'Brien.  And by the way, Mrs. O'Brien wasn't about to be done in by a rival lady in waiting.  Good for you Mrs. O'Brien!  And Thomas, I am so happy that he and Jimmy are friends (albeit platonic) now.  There, I haven't given anything away have I?  

Oh I am going to miss "Downton Abbey."  But I'm going to have my own little "series" coming up when I get zapped everyday, five days a week, for twelve weeks.  I'll get through this.

Caregiver Update

  Bill with his hospice nurse last week Regular followers of this blog have no doubt noticed that I haven't been posting on a regular ba...