Do. Not. Like.

So as you all know by now – thanks in part to my incessant whining – I had a biopsy done for possible prostate cancer. The entire day was less than enjoyable.

The day started off with a trip to court, where the gods smiled upon me by getting me out of the courtroom in less than an hour. I was home by 10am, and began the preparations. First up, “the dreaded apparatus” AKA the enema. I’ve never had to use an enema before; the closest I’ve come was a terrible tasting liquid I had to drink before taking a colonoscopy, which had me glued to the toilet for an hour.

The enema was basically the same deal, except more, um, invasive. I won’t disgust you with the details, but if nothing else, they work like a charm.

An hour before the visit, the doctors wanted me to drink 32 ounces of water for the ultrasound. I ended up drinking three 16-ounce bottles, and really, really, REALLY had to pee when I arrived at the office. After ten minutes of agonizing waiting, the doctor called me back and said, “Oh we’re not doing the ultrasound. Do you want to use the restroom?”


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A Simple Plan

For the benefit of those who read the blog and expect some back and forth from me, today will not be that day. Instead, I will be spending the first half of my day off in court, and the second half in a doctor’s office.

Today is biopsy day.

I received a court notice Thursday for a robbery case today. The case is set for 8am, which means little sleep last night, an hour drive in rush hour traffic to basically check in and check out. It doesn’t appear I’ll be needed to testify, but I do need to appear. The plan is to pull the ADA aside and tell him I can’t stay because there is a lot of, um, “prepping” for a prostate biopsy.

The procedure is set for 2:45pm, and hopefully I’ll know the results early next week. Thanksgiving will undoubtedly throw the schedule off, but the sooner I know if it’s cancer, the sooner I can begin treatment.

Apparently I can’t do much for the two days afterward, but I’ll have to go to work. You don’t call out sick on holidays. Luckily, sitting at a desk is not too strenuous, so there shouldn’t be any issues.

I have posts set for the rest of the day, but if – read: when – I’m not around, it isn’t because I hate you. It’s because I’m preparing my perfectly-shaped ass for the scalpel.

Prognosis Negative

My urologist appointment regarding my prostate issues was yesterday, and while I was not looking forward to the event, at least I would know if I have cancer or not.

The doctor reviewed my blood work, and stated my prostate specific antigen (PSA) count went from a 2.9 to a 3.1 in a week. Similar to the first visit, the doctor said my numbers would not be alarming for a 75-year old, but for someone who is five months shy of fifty, they are mildly alarming. The doc said he doesn’t believe I have cancer, but if I do, and we wait another six months, it may be too late.

So, the doctor will be delivering a bouncing baby biopsy next Tuesday.

This was arguably worse news than finding out I have cancer. If I had cancer, we can get right into treatment, but now I need to wait another week – or more – to know the results. It’s both frustrating and frightening.

Today would have been my first day back to work after my days off, but I took a sick day. I needed a day at home to process all this, so I’m not sure if there will be any more posts today. If not, regular posting will appear tomorrow.

No Ifs, Ands, Or…

You may remember this post from a year ago where I saw a urologist for elevated prostate specific antigens. My PSA was a little high, but the prostate was okay. The only condition was I needed to follow-up a year later; in this case, yesterday.

The crazy stupid hot Russian nurse – it’s awesome living amongst Russians – took my vitals, drew blood, and had me urinate into a machine which analyzes it. It was like peeing into a big bucket. Shortly afterward, the doc “probed” me and sat me down to explain a few things.

My PSA level is 2.9, which he described as “a little high for someone who is 49 years old.” He then said, “Now I don’t think this is something we can ignore, and I also don’t think we need to do a biopsy…” Straight talk… I like it. “But I’ll looks at today’s blood work and see you again in two weeks.”

Whew, I dodged that bull-

“That said, if it IS prostate cancer, your version is 100% treatable.”

I’m gonna be honest here; I really didn’t hear anything after the words “prostate cancer.”

So now we play the waiting game. I either have prostate cancer or I don’t, but tune in two weeks from now to see the stunning conclusion!

Oh, and as if the day wasn’t depressing enough, my heart monitor arrived an hour after I arrived home. So now I’m hooked up with electrodes, a monitor, and a mini cellphone I need to press when I have a PVC incident. So yeah, life is just a big old god damned fairy tale.

Sliced And Diced

By the time you read this, I may be bleeding.

Last week was my annual visit to the dermatologist. I have needed regular checkups after contracting skin cancer a few years ago, which resulted in Mohs surgery on my forehead. (Twelve stitches for the win!)

During this year’s appointment, the doctor asked about the cyst on the side of my head. It had been steady at 12mm, but I was going to ask for an extraction this year. The doc checked the size, and apparently it grew from 12mm to 15mm. He agreed it should be removed, and today is the day.

While he cannot predict anything, the doctor did mention the cyst will be sent for a biopsy, just in case. I’m not particularly worried, and I couldn’t care less about another scar, but I’d like to get through the extraction with a minimum of pain and stress. Maybe they’ll let me take the cyst home?

Wish me luck…

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Stefan Karl Stefansson, 1975-2018

I’m going to talk about someone most of you have never heard of – especially those with older children. Stefan Karl Stefansson was an actor who played Robbie Rotten on the children’s show Lazytown.

Stefansson was brilliant in the role, and yesterday, he passed away at the age of 43.

Icelandic actor Stefan Karl Stefansson, who played LazyTown villain Robbie Rotten, has died aged 43 from cancer.

Stefansson was best known for his role on the children’s show, which was produced from 2004 to 2014. He was initially diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2016, but said it had been removed with surgery.

He often shared his treatment and progress with fans online on social media – announcing in March the disease had returned and was inoperable.

“It’s not until they tell you you’re going to die soon that you realize how short life is. Time is the most valuable thing in life because it never comes back. And whether you spend it in the arms of a loved one or alone in a prison cell, life is what you make of it. Dream big,” he posted to Twitter.

I wish cancer would get cancer. Stefan is another wonderful, talented human being taken away far too soon from this despicable disease. The hours of entertainment he gave my kids is immeasurable in time and impact.

Kyle, my 17-year old, was disheartened when he heard the news, as were my other kids. Lazytown was a great, if not odd, show which always brought the goods. Robbie Rotten was a hilarious villain, and no one will ever be able to fill Stefan’s shoes.

Thank you, Stefan, for all the entertainment over the years. You will be sorely missed.

Long Live The Queen

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, and arguably one of the greatest American music artist who ever lived, has passed away. She was 76 years old.

Aretha Franklin, the self-taught piano prodigy, vocalist and songwriter who first conquered the charts in the late ’60s and never relinquished her throne, died Thursday morning of advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, her publicist confirmed.

A musical phenomenon who crossed musical, racial and gender barriers, Franklin began her vocal career as a teenager, singing gospel hymns in her father’s Detroit church. From these humble beginnings she scaled to the very heights of stardom, scoring her first national chart-topper in 1967 with a searing version of “Respect.”

Since then, the artist has notched 77 Hot 100 chart entries, and earned an astounding 18 Grammys out of 44 nominations. In 1987, two decades after her first No. 1, Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and was later named the Greatest Singer of All Time by Rolling Stone.

Everybody who is anybody would agree with that accolade. Aretha was one of a kind, and while I’ll always remember her music, I’ll especially appreciate her performance in The Blues Brothers.

Sleep well, Aretha. Music will never be the same.

Robert Fischer, 1932-2018

Robert Fischer, my wife’s father, my father-in-law, and my children’s grandfather passed away yesterday after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 86 years old.

I first met Bob when I was in high school, since his son Mike and I were good friends. Bob and Betty always welcomed me – and all Mike’s friends – into their home, despite the fact we were literally the Ugly Americans. Imagine the cast of Clerks, without the manners.

Nevertheless, the Fischers treated us like family.

When Leanne was in college, she and I started dating. I was fairly confident I wasn’t good enough for her, but Bob always made me feel like I was the perfect match. After our wedding, Bob and Betty hosted an after-reception party in their home, and in the twenty-one years which followed, Bob has been the perfect father-in-law. He did nearly all our minor home fixes, electrical work, and most importantly, our taxes; none of which are my strengths.

We spent most major holiday dinners at my in-law’s home, and after such diners Bob and Betty would hand Leanne and Mike checks out of the blue. “Put it toward the kids’ tuition, or vacation, etc.” It was unnecessary, but Bob felt otherwise. A true throwback, he was the son of German immigrants, and always wanted his children and their families to have it easier than he did. He succeeded.

Cancer is a despicable disease. I’ve lost friends and family to its curse, and watching Bob’s fight was painful for all of us. He seemed to be fighting back, then it was “day-to-day,” and just like that, gone. I take some comfort in the fact Bob was surrounded by loved ones – Betty and Leanne – when he passed.

I was tasked with informing the kids of Bob’s passing, as Leanne was at my in-law’s home when Bob passed away. Kevin took it hardest, but I don’t think the reality has hit the others yet. They never really knew my father, but “Pop” was a daily staple here. I worry how they will react when they realize Bob is truly gone.

I tried to impress upon them Pop is in a better place; a place without stress or pain; a place without war or hate; a place where will be welcomed when our time comes. Until then, we must trek on, but we must never forget the man, his heart, and his legacy.

Robert M. Fischer was the most decent, selfless, unassuming man I have ever met. He is the type of person I would like my children to emulate. While only related by marriage, Bob was a father to me. I will miss him terribly.

P.S.Posting will be light for a while, as we mourn make arrangements.

Eight Years Gone

Editor’s Note: The following is a repost from January 7, 2010, the day my friend Clay Marc Bond lost his battle with cancer:

My frequent commenter, fellow Penguins fan and blog friend Right Wing Prof lost his battle with cancer this morning. Xopher posted this comment on the Prof’s blog:

My beloved companion and dearest friend fell asleep in the Lord at 1:45 this morning, after a short struggle against an overwhelming foe, with the sweet acceptance that has characterized his gallant witness through this entire ordeal.

His brother Jan, sister-in-law Phyllis, and I were holding his hands at the moment of death.

It is no great understatement that the news is devastating.

I first met Clay Bond in person on July 23, 2007, when a few of us – including Sebastian and Bitter – met at Geno’s Steaks for lunch. I almost missed the opportunity. You know how you sometimes have a mental picture of someone that is completely different from the real picture? Well, that was the case that day. I had never seen a photo of the Prof before, and while I was walking around Geno’s looking for him, I walked right by without even knowing it. After searching for a bit, I decided that I would just go to the car and hope for the best. Thankfully, he and Sebastian saw me and flagged me down. I’m glad they did.

Clay was the exact opposite of what I expected. I pictured a tweed jacket with patches on the sleeves, flawlessly coiffed hair, and the perfect manicure. Instead, I got facial hair, tattoos, and more gun knowledge than more Marines.

Thankfully, I got the latter.

That day at Geno’s is one that I will always remember. The four of us talked and laughed for a few hours, and Clay gave me a parting gift: Season 1 of Sleeper Cell on DVD. I was very appreciative, but Clay dismissed it as nothing. That is the kind of person Clay Bond was. Thoughtful, kind, and selfless.

In the two and a half years since, we e-mailed each other frequently, discussing the Penn State/Michigan rivalry, the Steelers, politics, and the occasional link to a good news story for each others’ blogs. About a year ago, he asked me why I was such a big hockey fan. I used that as an opening to really expose him to the sport. Clay took in a few Penn State games and started following one of my favorite teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins. I would beam with pride when he would send me an e-mail talking about “that awesome game” Sidney Crosby had. While Indiana basketball and Steelers football were first in his sports heart, the Pens earned their place there as well.

He read SYLG often, and commented frequently – sometimes to my embarrassment. When I posted about my skin cancer, he seemed more concerned with my dinky little basal cell issue than his own battle with lung cancer. Again, selfless.

I never posted about this, but I drove out to see Clay on November 20. It was something I simply had to do, and I am glad I did. When I walked into his room, he looked at me and smiled. Pointing to his dry erase board, I saw a list of visitors for the day. There were a few names there, and at the bottom of the list was a large WYATT! It was enough to make me well up.

After we exchanged pleasantries, he asked me, “Wyatt, why the hell did you drive all the way out here?” I looked at him and realized that he was serious. He thought I was insane. Instead of getting all emotional, I went into sarcastic mode and replied, “I’m here to kick your ass out of bed, and if you don’t beat this soon, I’m bringing the SWAT team, MP-5s and flash-bangs.”

I was fortunate enough to spend four hours with him and his son – a terrific person, by the way. I also met Father Alexander, the man who brought Clay back to the Orthodox Church and a few of Clay’s caregivers. When it was time to go, I told him that he better keep fighting, and I would try to visit again soon. Sadly, I will not get the chance.

The drive home was a sad one. I cried for a while and was only comforted by the fact that Clay’s faith kept him strong. He had a terrific support system and was surrounded by family and friends until the end. I am confident that he is with God now.

Die Another Day

Last week I mentioned (in passing) I was troubled with some medical issues. These issues were in addition to the cellulitis, which has now subsided. (Thanks to DocRambo for his expert advice, by the way.)

Any hoo, my last blood test found an elevated level of PSAs. What are PSAs? I had no idea, so I looked it up.

PSA: Prostate specific antigen. A test for PSA may be used to screen for cancer of the prostate and to monitor treatment of the disease.

PSA is a protein produced by the prostate gland. Although most PSA is carried out of the body in semen, a very small amount escapes into the blood stream. The PSA test is done on blood. Since the amount of PSA in blood is normally minute, the PSA test requires a very sensitive method based on monoclonal antibody technology. PSA in blood can be by itself as free PSA or it can join with other substances in the blood as bound PSA. Total PSA is the sum of free and bound forms. This is what is measured as the standard PSA test.

Yeah, scary. The urologist appointment was yesterday, and after an hour of poking, prodding, and (unfortunate) poking, the doc believes I’m in a good place. The prostate is a normal size, and there are no red flags as of yet. The doc will, however, keep on top off the PSA count, and I’ll be continuing with follow-ups. So, good news.

Oh, the (unfortunate) prodding was exactly what you’d think. The ol’ finger in the butt. Dude didn’t even buy me dinner first.

I was able to snare the video of the examination’s aftermath. It’s below the fold.

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