Let's Speak The Same Language

Monday, July 18, 2016


Today in a couple of hours, I get my first treatment with the Cyberknife. Exercised early today at Firstenberg Center and have tried for several hours to get some writing done on poetry collection Up Your Ass and later on my novel about dysfunctional relationships The Porn Writer. I see that I'm unable to concentrate very well so I'll just go home and get a shower and take it easy until I have to set off for PeaceHealth Hospital in Vancouver. I'm told I will have to lie perfectly motionless for half an hour while the procedure is completed, but, even if I do move, the roboticized arm stops and recalculates the position of my prostate in order to continue to treat the cancer with high doses of radiation. I recall when we Americans were all in a tizzy about Strontium 90 drifting into America from Chinese atom bomb testing. Now, I'm hoping that radiation will kill the cancer cells that threaten to kill me. Nothing ever changes except change.

Friday, July 15, 2016


Ten days I've let pass without an entry. Sorry, but I'm keeping busy. I just began the sixth [or 7th] rewrite of The Porn Writer, and I didn't finish the 5th [or 6th] rewrite. My friend poet Geoff Peterson is visiting from Tucson, and it was his comment that caused me to return to "go" and start again. He made some sense about the history of an MFA in my narrator's past that made good sense. So I began again, and I'm happy with it. I had begun the novel with the idea Frank held an MFA then took it out because I thought the idea was cliched. Now I'm putting it back in again. Geoff's considerations had to do with potential audience, then, for other reasons of authenticity, I saw a good reason for it's remaining in the novel, because the real center of the novel is "dysfunctional relationships" that are divorced from the MFA considerations. The MFA is in it only to add to his sense of failure and inadequacy that have plagued all his relationships. 

Reason for relief above. As for the aggressive prostate cancer that threatens to lengthen the odds for my succeeding in my lone bucket list item to get someone other than myself to publish a novel of mine: I finally begin radiation treatments this coming Monday, July the 18th when the Cyberknife will shoot a first heavy dose of radiation into my cancerous prostate. It's only taken from April 25th when my primary doctor found the nodule on my prostate till now.... 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


The photo is of my radiologist specialist, M.D. Faisal Siddiqui. 

 Hanging in there. Got only an hour of rewrite in yesterday, July 6, on The Porn Writer. Now midway into "Chapter 19 - The Tender Trap" after spending the morning and early afternoon getting a scan and an MRI in preparation for irradiation of prostate and lymph nodes. I've been tattooed...three red dots on my stomach for radiation machine alignments. I felt very vulnerable in the hospital setting yesterday. Usually, I have little trouble walking through tests and paperwork and listening to instructions, but I felt shaky old yesterday some of the time

As for my bucket list item. I think I've fallen down on submitting my novels to agents. Will have to knuckle down on that part of the process. I like the sound of that word, "knuckle".  

Yesterday also I put in an appeal to Kaiser Permanente to overturn their negative ruling on the Cyberknife. This morning I called Kaiser to see if they got the paperwork. Yes, they got it, but the appeal won't be looked at for 14 days. What? I'm sitting here with my prostate showing perineural invasion. [In pathology, perineural invasion refers to cancer spreading to the space surrounding a nerve. It is common in ... prostate cancer and....] Those little terrorists can and probably are escaping into my flesh and bones as I write this, and Kaiser wants me to wait two more weeks? I yelp loudly, then Kaiser tells me they'll have to see if my situation "QUALIFIES" for a 72 hour evaluation and it'll take 72 hours to make that decision. What the hell!! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016



For all those Republicans who hate the Affordable Care Act and who also ramble endlessly about "death panels", I have an answer for them. My prostate cancer treatment option that includes the Cyberknife has not been approved. Kaiser Permanente declined the Cyberknife part of the treatment, even though my reading suggests the Cyberknife will more effectively and with more powerful and focused radiation add to the kill ratio of cancer cells in my high risk cancer prostate while causing less damage to surrounding tissue, thus increasing my chances of living longer. My insurance plan is not purchased through the ACA nor is it Medicare. Thus the Permanente doctors on Kaiser's "death panel" have spoken and their decision has nothing to do with the ACA or Medicare. It's a decision based solely on saving the Kaiser Permanente HMO money. As I've tried to explain to hate filled Republicans, "death panels" have existed all along. The poor have routinely been allowed to die and insurance companies make daily decisions that allow people to die, and those decisions have never had anything to do with the ACA. A good friend of mine watched his wife die because they didn't have the money to purchase the treatment that would have saved her, and their insurance wouldn't cover it. That was decades ago and had nothing to do with the ACA or Medicare either. My doctor will try to get the decision reversed. My fingers are crossed.

A story of mine was just rejected by Glimmer Train. Nice rejection letter though. On the other hand, the fatigue lifted today as I worked on The Porn Writer. You know? At the moment I'm troubled more by the Glimmer Train rejection. I do not understand myself at all.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Writing has not been going well since I began taking Casodex as first treatment for the prostate cancer. [For loved ones, even though the "uses section" says Casodex treats "cancer that has spread to other parts of the body" that is not true in my case, but my doctor wants to keep the cancer confined to my prostate until radiation begins and this is sort of "the best defense is a good offense" type of treatment, I believe. Meanwhile I wait for Cyberknife insurance authorization.] 

As to the difficulty in writing I'm experiencing: if you look to the side effects listed on the attached document, you'll note that two of them are "dizziness" and "drowsiness". I already have some old age dizziness that comes and goes in the morning, but I've noticed now a slight fatigue as I stand over my laptop to write. The fatigue feels like a plexiglass shield that won't allow my consciousness to fully grip the dialogue and narration on the page. However I continue to work on 5th rewrite of my novel The Porn Writer for it keeps my mind on other things than the things I might find worrisome if I let them get all my attention. 

ps: I just now thought it might be a good idea to take the Casodex at nighttime, then I notice that "difficulty sleeping" is another potential side effect. Well damn it all to hell. What's a man to do?

Monday, June 13, 2016


It's been 10 days since my last posting and that's too long a span of time, but nothing much has changed as far as my bucket list item and the forces of nature working against it. Am including two pictures I scanned. One of a poem I wrote several weeks past and the other of the nice illustrative drawings Dr. Siddiqui did as he explained my options to Mertie and I
Mertie and I had our second opinion meeting today with Dr. Faisal Siddiqui who performs radiation treatments at Peacehealth and also the more focused radiation treatment called the Cyberknife. His recommendation is against surgical removal of the prostate
in the same terms as Dr. Jason Smith. The best looking option appears to be a two stage radiation treatment. First 5 weeks of irradiation of prostate and lymph nodes with 40-45 on the grayscale (power rating), then 5 treatments of a nearly double amount of irradiation on the prostate alone. After our talk with Dr. Siddiqui, Merie and I felt very hopeful about extended life expectancy. The details of the after care are too involved to put in here. Oh ... I've already commenced working toward my transition to breasts and hot flashes. Dr. Siddiqui prescribed Bi-ka-loo-ta-myd, one a day. He says it will immediately block or slow spread of cancer cells in prostate while Mertie and I decide on course of action. Will need to put plenty of vitamin D and calcium additives into play. 

As for writing. One rejection of 3 poems returned this past week, and the rewriting of The Porn Writer has been slow going. I'm sure there's a subconscious blockage between me and my imaginative powers. I feel, I think I'd call it, "preoccupied". Good beginnings for poems about the cancer come to mind constantly, but the impulse to complete them doesn't follow.

Friday, June 3, 2016


Written upon hearing the good news.
I begin this post with an apology to those who might have been disturbed by the photo of a face that has been devastated by necrotizing fasciitis. It accompanied my last installment of the Silent Boomer's blog because it characterizes the fate of all inhabitants of the globe in my futuristic novel, Ghoul World. I admit, I'm trying to cash in on the zombie craze while at the same time telling an interesting tale. I see it as a movie. 

More good news on the cancer front. The bone scan came up negative for cancer in my bones. So far, the aggressive cancer appears to be confined to my prostate. Thus, my goal—to get someone other than myself to publish one of my novels before I kick the bucket—has increasing odds to succeed. Still, I picture all those little killer cells penned up in my prostate, striving mightily to escape and set off on a killing spree. We'll soon begin radiation and hormone treatments.  Awaiting an opinion from Oregon Health and Science University Hospital before treatment options are finalized. The side effects are interesting, I hear. If my writing slows up for several months, you'll understand.