Sunday, November 22, 2015

My politics are EZ - do no harm and mind your own business.

How I became a Libertarian:

As a child in the 1950s, Senators Josiah Bailey, Robert Byrd, J. William Fulbright, Al Gore Sr., and Representative Howard W. Smith (among many others) taught me to not be a Democrat because the racial segregation they so strongly supported just seemed wrong to me even as a child.

Later, President John Kennedy and his brother Robert taught me to dream big dreams and that there may be powerful good in either party (and how we mourned, and still do, their deaths, recalled on this 22nd of November).

Presidents Johnson and Nixon taught me that leaders of both parties will lie, cheat, and steal for power and may not be worthy of trust.

President Carter taught me that a good heart may not be enough to qualify a person for the highest office of our land; and that it is not wise to beat a swimming rabbit while there are photographers present.

In the 1990s and early years of this century, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld taught me that patriotism can be twisted for evil purposes and that we should be cautious with government power overseas while John Ashcroft taught me to fear government power at home.

Both Presidents Bush taught me that you can't trust the Republicans to control spending and government bloat.

Recently President Obama has taught me that any opposition to the policies and actions of those in power can be dismissed and marginalized simply by ad hominem attacks on anyone who disagrees.

Then I took this very short quiz:

Bingo. I'm a Libertarian.

My original intention with this rant was a short Facebook post, but in writing it I decided I'm simply not up to the fights that such a post would generate.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Do not go EZ into that good night (with apologies to Dylan Thomas)

We lost my father in law, Glenn Elwood Baum, this morning at about 2:00 AM MST. He passed while sleeping at his home in Twin Falls, Idaho. His wife, Netta, and daughter, Carolyn, were at this bedside. His daughter, Laurie, said, "He was home, and that's where he wanted to be."

Glenda will travel from our home in San Antonio, TX, to Twin Falls to be with family.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sometimes breakfast is not EZ over the morning news.

My favorite breakfast cereal has been a Saturday morning treat for me since I was about five years old. This morning, I noted that I had only one serving left in the house. Time to plan some shopping. Then, the milk that I poured onto that cereal came out in lumps. I hate it when that happens. Then, I realized, if that's my biggest problem, I am truly blessed. Je Suis Paris!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Modern does not mean EZ.

I want 1999 back. This is NOT the twenty-first century I expected to live in.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The unexamined life might be more EZ.

"I have had to examine myself, from that day to this, and watch my faith, and carefully meditate, lest I should be found desiring the grave more than I ought to do." Brigham Young, upon his reaction to first hearing a church doctrine that he found hard to accept (plural marriage, in his case.)

EZ there...

This morning finds me emotionally unstable. I have kicked a table and *nearly* swept its contents to the floor. I have *almost* slugged a defenseless microwave oven. I am questioning everything I have thought I knew. Except my family, my friends, my love. Sigh. Who am I to be upset?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Positively EZ or easily positive?

October 20, 2015

My biopsy was collected on the afternoon of September 24, 2015, by Dr. Duffey in the urology clinic at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) within the San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC). As I dressed afterward, Dr. Duffey said, "Make an appointment to come back in two weeks. I don't share results over the telephone -- good or bad, I do it face to face."

My appointment for receiving the results was made for the afternoon of October 8th. It was a convenient time, as I already had an appointment scheduled at the ophthalmology clinic on the morning of that same day. For at least 10 days prior to my appointment I found that I was unable to accomplish anything and could not concentrate for 10 minutes. I couldn't read, I couldn't write, I couldn't watch TV or a movie. I did not know why until I realized that at some level I was frightened. Upon that realization, I went and talked to a friend, really opening up. That helped.

I checked into the urology clinic after lunch on the 8th and was directed to the waiting area to see Dr. Duffey. As I sat on the slippery vinyl I tried to anticipate my appointment and receiving the feedback that the biopsy was negative. I mean, after all, I'm not sick, I have no pain, must be no problem, right? What, exactly, would I tell my family? Would I write about it in my blog? Would the doctor ask me to repeat the biopsy at some future date? With these thoughts in my head, I drifted into a light sleep.

"MR. MOYES!" Oh. My name. My appointment. Shaking my head to awaken, I stood and received my direction to Dr. Duffey's office, where I was greeted and seated.

Dr. Duffey did not mince words: "Your biopsy was positive."

There was more; a lot more, and I think I actually recall most of it, but I don't need to write about it here. The summary: of fourteen needle biopsy samples two were negative for cancer, four were questionable, and eight were positive. Of the eight positive samples, some had as much as 60% of the cells cancerous. This cancer, prostate cancer, is rated for risk using something called the Gleason Scale rated from 2 - 10. I recall that Dr. Duffey was professional, positive, and kind. He had earlier, before the biopsy, explained carefully that prostate cancer is not a death sentence -- it is generally not aggressive and most men of my advanced years that are diagnosed with prostate cancer die with the disease, not of the disease. And it is common: nearly half of the men who reach their mid-60s will have prostate cancer. With a Gleason score of 7, I am a patient of "Intermediate Risk." Dr. Duffey outlined my options: (1) Watchful waiting; (2) Prostatectomy by surgery; (3) External radiation therapy; (4) Implanted radiation "seeds." I, the patient, must decide which course to follow.

  • Option 1, watchful waiting is not a good choice for a Gleason 7, Dr. Duffey says.
  • Option 2, surgery is Dr. Duffey's choice, but he is a surgeon and admits to prejudice here.
  • Option 3, external radiation is, he says, also a good choice and tells me I'll consult with a radiation oncologist before I make my decision.
  • Option 4 is not done at BAMC.

So that leaves options 1, surgery, or 2, external radiation. Dr. Duffey assures me that I don't need to make the decision right away but again stresses that I will have to make the decision. He explained that I (and my wife) would be enrolled in their comprehensive prostate cancer clinic whereby we would receive broad counseling from every medical and helping specialty known to man. I was introduced to Janet, who runs the comprehensive cancer clinic and she enrolled me (us) and gave me a verbal overview. In addition to the counseling, we will meet with survivors and current patients and have group sessions. Our first appointment for the comprehensive clinic is scheduled for the 28th of this month. Only after meeting with and being briefed by surgeons, radiation oncologists, nutritionists, psychologists, financial counselors, and the kitchen sink will I have to decide on a course of treatment. I left the clinic on the eighth of October with a bagful of reading assignments: books, leaflets, pamphlets, sheets, and a long list of internet links.

So, I have cancer. Cancer that is common and is not normally considered to be aggressive, not normally considered to be fatal. But my particular cancer is on the more aggressive side of the scale for prostate cancer, hence the Gleason score of 7. I have cancer. It does not have me.

I will have to make a treatment choice. Right now I'm leaning toward the surgery, but I won't make a final decision until after I speak to the range of counselors. Modern surgery is much less invasive than in recent past years. They use an orthoscopic technique with robotic assistance. The doctor says convalescence is normally comparatively short and most men are back to full function within about three months. Some men experience a loss of sexual function with the prostatectomy. Some don't. There will be other side effects with surgery and with radiation therapy. We will deal with those as needed. This is so new to me, because, you see, at age 65, I've never had any invasive surgery; never been hospitalized, and rarely ill beyond a head cold, so I've been blessed up until now. I did have a small skin cancer removed from my upper back a couple years ago, but that was outpatient, quick, and painless.

Now I'm reading the book, "What helped me get through" written by and about cancer survivors. I have shared the news with close friends and family. I don't see any reason for this to be a secret, but I don't think the world needs to know, either. But I need to clarify my thoughts, and writing is one way I do that, so I'm writing. I'm working. I'm scheduling and attending events with my family. I'm enjoying things that I want to enjoy.  I've also told my three sons that they are at increased risk of prostate cancer (their uncle, my eldest brother, is a prostate cancer survivor, so the tendency is definitely in the family) and advised them to ensure they talk to their doctors and get their checkups.

Over the next weeks (months?) we will be busy with appointments and procedures. We will deal with it and do what needs to be done. I thank our Father in Heaven for the good years I have had and for the good days I am having now. My last two blog posts are about family and friends time. It seems sweeter now than ever before and I am thankful. Friends and I are working on an idea for founding a nonprofit organization that should do a lot of good. I am thankful for the opportunity to contribute in a small way. I think I'll take the initiative to do my home teaching, visiting the few families in our ward congregation that I've been called to minister to. I am thankful for that opportunity.

And with this, and for now, I wish you all well. Guys: Talk to your doctor. Have your exam!!