Sitting down with my urologist after hearing the diagnosis of adenocarcinoma of the prostate to discuss the options for additional screening and possible courses of treatment, one of the things he advised was to change my eating habits; “Eat healthy,” he observed. That was about two weeks ago, maybe three, and I have yet to change my diet. While I know that it is best to eat more veggies, less red meat and so on, I am having trouble making the commitment to doing so.
So what is up with that? Here I am, making arguments for the ethical relationship with the other and I am avoiding the ethical relationship with myself. So here is what I have decided to do…and it won’t be easy. I decided to limit my consumption of red meat and eggs to once a week. I figured I would start with a basic commitment rather than make an entire plunge into something I am pretty sure I won’t be able to maintain. It would make my wife quite happy if I added fish to my diet, but I can’t stand the stench in the house after most fish is cooked so that is hardly a legitimate option unless I add fish while eating out. In place of the protein from the red meat and eggs, I can easily substitute dairy protein in the form of cheese, yogurt and milk. In addition, the vegetarian staple of beans and rice along with the addition of tofu in stir fried veggies seems to be a reasonable option as well.
The plan is to follow this plan of eating for the next month while committing to blog about how I am holding out. About four weeks from today I will have my surgery which may screw up my plans a bit but who is to say. In the long run, I am certain that this change in lifestyle will be good for me and for my family as well, if I can maintain it.
All that being said, as I write this I am cooking a mushroom barley soup with lima beans and lentils. Now there is a marrow bone with a bit of red meat attached and two short ribs for flavor, but the meat per serving will be less than one ounce. The soup along with a small salad should prove to be a hearty fall meal, one that fits within the bounds of this new approach to eating a bit more healthy.
Here’s the thing, I am looking to focus on eating healthier in order to positively effect the outcome of my prostate cancer. At the same time, I know I have absolutely no control over the outcome in any real way and that if I thought I did I would be ready to become obsessive over the outcome itself rather than to focus on the moment that surrounds the actions I take in this very moment. For me this is less about results than it is about acting appropriately, of becoming present for myself in order to be more present for others; it is an ethical responsibility that I cannot pass off to any other person; there are no substitutes. So here I go, ready to jump off the cliff and see just what might happen if I stay focused on this moment, the one that will never be repeated, never be reenacted. It is in this very moment that I make a decision to act or not act, to do what is next before me or to shirk. It is a choice, an ethical choice that I am placing at my own doorstep. Only time will tell how successful this will be.