Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Medical Week

This has been medical week for me as I had prostate and colon examinations. 

I know what you're thinking. Ugh!

Neither are pleasant procedures but can be life-saving in the course of a person's life. They are used to detect signs of cancer and other abnormalities.

I visited the urologist because my PSA (prostate-specific antigen) was on the high side of normal on a previous exam a few months ago. This time it was well within the normal range. 

I had the digital rectal exam and my walnut-sized prostate was normal. More importantly, there were no nodules. I'll be back for another exam in 12 months.

The day after the prostate exam, I was on a liquid diet in preparation for a colonoscopy. It also involved a mega amount of laxatives to cleanse my intestines. As you can surmise, I spent a considerable amount of time on the toilet. 

I went to the hospital the next day to have a colonoscopy, which involves inserting a colonoscope (a thin tube with a camera attached at the end) in my colon, which transmits images to a screen and lets the doctor see if there are any polyps. 

Polyps are small growths that can develop into cancer. Most folks remember former President Reagan undergoing the procedure back in the 1980s and doctors finding polyps. That was the first time I was aware of that type of exam. 

My exam was clean, so to speak. By the way, it lasted about 20 minutes and I was asleep the entire time, so if you're concerned about your personal dignity, they're in and out before you know it, and you're on your way home after a short recovery period. (My wife and I went to Cracker Barrel before going home.) 

I won't need a colonoscopy for another 10 years unless I notice any abnormalities that merit another exam. I was also polyp-free on my previous exam in 20o5.

I know a lot of folks who don't look forward to these types of examinations. Guys have prostate exams; women have pelvic exams. And we both have colonoscopies. No fun, but necessary. 

And there is a peace of mind in knowing that these exams can save lives. I know quite a few folks who are cancer survivors because these exams detected early stages of that dreaded disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. It estimates that 222,800 will be detected this year, and there will be 27,540 deaths. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, according to ACS.

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women. ACS estimates there will be 93,090 new colon cancer cases this year as well as 39,610 rectal cancer diagnoses. It also notes that a person has a 5 percent of developing those cancers in their lifetime so the odds are slim that you will develop this cancer. But the adage better safe than sorry is something to seriously consider.

Also, March is Colon Cancer Cancer Awareness Month and National Prostate Health Month is September.

I hope this post will encourage you to take advantage of medical exams for your healthy well-being.

Until the next time...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Thoughtful Pause

I must confess that I haven't made any progress on my manuscript this month. 

And I must add that it's intentional.

I have been busy with activities outside of writing, but I won't use them as excuses for not working on the manuscript. 

As mentioned in previous posts, sometimes it's good to step away from a work in progress in order to get a fresh perspective on what's been written. I did that with my last novel, "The Bully List," going back to it four months after the first draft. I discovered a renewed energy and enthusiasm about the story when I delved back into it.

That's the plan with my current work. After I sort things out in my head -- and I do think about it daily -- I'll jump back into it without hesitation. I'll know when that time comes. 

Until then, I'll concentrate on short stories and other writing endeavors. For one thing, I hope to get back on a semi-regular schedule with posts to this blog.

Until the next time...

Monday, February 9, 2015

New Adventure in 2015

Last year my wife and I took a guided tour to "America's Beautiful West," which included riding Amtrak trains from Chicago to San Francisco and back. 

It was a memorable 14-day vacation, making stops at places such as Grand Canyon, Yosemite, John Muir Woods as well as cities such as Las Vegas, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City. 

Big Ben in London
This year we have international plans: London, Paris, and Rome. 

Ten years ago I spent about a week in irresistible Ireland, visiting such picturesque places as Dingle, Ring of Kerry, and Cliffs of Moher. Someday I plan to return and take in more of the treasures of the Emerald Isle.

Eiffel Tower in Paris
Since that trip, I've always wanted to go back to Europe. I'm still mapping out places to see in the Old World, which will be a New World for our senses.

We're looking forward to visiting some of the museums, art galleries and historic places and experiencing the sights and sounds of these great cities. 
Colosseum in Rome

If you have any tips or recommendations on traveling in Europe, please let me know. 

I wish I had the time and resources to travel to many European destinations, but I hope that will come on another vacation. 

I'm looking forward to sharing my thoughts and photos from this new adventure. 

Until the next time...