Finally, I spoke to my urologist yesterday. Here’s the scoop. At the time of surgery the cancer had invaded 35% of my prostate and a small percentage had nearly reached the margins of the gland. The Gleason Score for the tumor was an overall 4+4 (or in simpler terms an 8) meaning that this was an aggressive tumor. The biopsy of the lymph nodes was clear of any indications of disease. It seems that surgery was the right choice…hooray! Sadly, however, my urologist, a man who has cared for my prostate and other urological problems for years, is leaving his current position to accept a huge promotion around 200 miles from Chicago. Good news for him and I’m sure I’ll get over the shock of a new urologist.
So once again, life throws a curveball. One reason I never advanced as a baseball player is the simple fact that I couldn’t hit a curveball no matter how hard I tried. Catching up to a fastball, no problem but that damned curveball would never hold still long enough or be in the expected place when I took a swing at the pitch. Once I gave up playing kids games, however, I learned that life’s curveballs, difficult as they might be, are always subject to a period of adjustment. It is almost like Kübler-Ross’s stages of grief with acceptance being the ultimate goal. I found that coming to acceptance is a matter of deciding what the worst possible outcome is, accept that outcome and work hard to see that that outcome is avoided if at all humanly possible. Acceptance is, in this sense, an active step; one that requires a positive approach to any difficult situation.
Look, I know that grieving over the loss of one’s urologist is maybe a bit crazy, but the end of any relationship is always difficult, especially one that is long-standing. It is, however, just one more example of how I can use the ethical tools I am developing to remain on an even keel during times of hardship, great or small. In this case, I turn outward and, rather than feeling sorry for my loss, I feel a sense of joy for this extraordinary physician and care-giver. I wish him well and I am absolutely certain that he will hook me up with one of his partners who will afford me the best of care, albeit, most likely without the smiling bedside manner that separates him from the crowd.