1.1. My Cancer

I have metastatic cancer. To be medically precise there is osseous metastatic disease within the left ischium and another in the left iliac crest. In simple words: 

I have cancerous lesions (tumors) in my hipbone.

A general route for prostate cancer is prostate to bone. It tends to be the same with breast cancer. It always has struck me as an ironic play of nature that the sexual/reproductive parts of both women and men are increasingly subjected to cancer. For millennia we did not live long after our reproductive years. If we insist on living longer than nature intended (defying her intent) nature will make us pay. There are no moral and/or ethical foundations to nature.

So we live longer and in 2004, at the age of 69 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer (Gleason 6 – a mild rating). After 4 years of “watchful waiting” the Gleason went up to 7 and I had my prostate removed in November 2008. Unfortunately, the cancer had already escaped the capsule and a lesion was discovered by chance in November 2010. 

Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that we were planning an extended trip to Paris in December, a month and a half away. But I did not go nuts with this news. All of a sudden a whole new set of synapses were taking the “bad” news and directing it to a different part of the brain.

It was a major paradigm shift. It was as if some unconscious mechanism shifted my conscious thinking. I no longer had to worry if the cancer would spread and metastasize. It had! The fear had been removed.

That understanding, and the reading of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s, "The Emperor of All Maladies," has brought me to this blog. To me, the best line in Mukherjee's book is: "(Cancer is) organized chromosomal chaos." He is referring to my chromosomes. My chromosomes, no one elses. I have taken ownership of my cancer. I have taken ownership of my metastatic lesion. I am a “Metastatic Man.”

I do not use the word battle. Battles are fought to be won. There is no cure for cancer. Everything we do is a holding action. The goal: to live as long as I possibly can within a lifestyle that I am comfortable with.

I do not like to suffer. I’m not much different than most people. Nor do I want to cause suffering to those around me whom I love and who love me. I have seen many people with cancer truly battle with their cancer. The criteria for them is doing anything and everything to keep breathing. Breathing is not that great when you’re hooked into tubes, when there is pain, when the agonizing treatments reduce one to an experiment – “let’s see if this works.” Where in many cases, the cure is worse than the ailment.

Everyone is different. Many put their bodies and their loved ones through incredible torture. I believe I am not one of them. I have not reached the fail-safe barrier, between living my lifestyle and becoming a jackass for toxins. Maybe I’ll never get there. Maybe I will. Can’t tell what I will do till then, but I can continue to believe in what I say I will do.

In the meantime, I am going to write about life and living, about dying and death from the point of a Metastatic Man. And I am going to write it with joy in my heart.

I ask everyone who reads this blog to come along with me: offer your views, your experiences. I will ask physicians and non-medical healers to contribute. I will ask wives, husbands, children, relatives and friends to join in.

In this, we are all for one and one for all.