Well, the horse is all saddled up and we're burning daylight.
After four very long months of seeing specialists, undergoing tests, having a biopsy taken from my prostate while still awake and then having several lymph nodes removed from my bladder, and a full scan of my entire skeleton, at 8:15 Monday morning I'll walk into Lake Hospital System's Lake West Hospital (sorry, but us Lake County old timers still say "West End").
There I'll have what's left of my prostate poked with about 70 rice-grain-size hollowed-out titanium pellets (or "sees") that are filled with radioactive material (I believe Iodine-125, and imported no less).
The brachytheraphy - as it's called - will take roughly 60 to 90 minutes. In five years the process has a 96- to 98-percent survival rate.
Of course it's a life-altering procedure with a host of potential nasty side-effects.
But those are the unknowns.
What IS known is that without the treatment - and had I not been so paranoid about getting screened for prostate cancer every year since I turned 50 some 12 years ago the chances from eventually dying of these disease would have been almost certain. Or so says the doctors, and I'm not one to disagree.
So for a few seconds during each old-man check-up I allowed for the physical exam as well as the drawing of blood for the PSA test.
No regrets, only what might-have-been had I not insisted on the exam/test.
Come Monday afternoon I'll find myself on a strange new trail but I feel a sense of confidence, too.
I'll let you know how things go.
For now, I'm going home to enjoy a fancy meal of boiled lobster and a sweet potato topped off with brown sugar, maple syrup and a small dollop of butter.
I figure I deserve it, especially since on Sunday all I'll be allowed to have are liquids with no sugar or creamer to sweeten my coffee. Now that's punishment enough.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn