Well, two weeks after the diagnosis, and I’m waiting another week for the surgery. I actually could have had it done sooner (like last week) had I elected to have it done in Petaluma (where my new urologist is based), except that I wanted it done here in Sonoma for two reasons: a) the hospital is three blocks from my house, instead of a 20-minute drive over hill and dale and b) two of the four people who would be operating in Sonoma are good friends of Ann’s and mine. (The third is my new urologist, and the fourth — an OR nurse — is the wife of a close colleague at the newspaper.) Since it’s not jeopardizing my health to wait that long, I figured I’d opt for the unique experience of being wheeled into an operating room full of friends.
Speaking of friends, and cancer, and how I’m doing, here’s what I wrote this morning to an online friend and mentor, a Breslover Chasid living in Jerusalem:
"I go in for surgery (a starboard orchiectomy) on July 9, at 3:30 p.m. California time. My CAT scans and bloodwork look good, with the doctors saying there's no evidence of lymphoma, Baruch Hashem. But we won't know until the orchiectomy and pathology thereof whether or not that's true, so perhaps I ought to say 'B'shaa tovah [in a good hour].' ;-) For now, anyway. The doctors assure me that, as far as they know, I should be ultimately fine, though it's unclear at this point what that will entail -- either surgery followed by a little chemo and radiation, or surgery followed by a lot of chemo and radiation. Either way, it's a useful experience which I hope to use in my rabbinate.
"One downside is that I'm in a bit of pain since last Sunday, so am taking mild opiates (Vicodin, or hydrocodone). I'm also drawing disability because I went into the newspaper office three days after my diagnosis, looked at my desk, and thought, 'There's no
way I can do this right now' (pardon my language). After assuring my boss that I'm not a wimp (his response -- "You've pretty much proved that on numerous occasions -- but you have a priority, now, so go home"), I discovered that the pain and attendant medication would keep me from working anyway. I can't believe how supportive and loving everyone has been.
"To paraphrase one of my favorite lines from the TV program The Simpsons, 'Baruch Hashem for sending the doctors to save me from the cancer Hashem sent.' However, the vicodin is making it difficult for me to study -- intolerable! ;-) Here I am, literally surrounded by seforim [holy books] and the time in which to study them, and unable to concentrate! But that's one of the reasons I love Hashem -- because Hashem's sense of humor is weirder than my own."
The waiting is sort of getting to me, in that it’s trying my patience, in that it’s a TOTAL DRAG not to be able to read (my first love!) since my attention wanders after about a half-page or so. Fortunately, however, I was hard-bitten by the original Dungeons and Dragons bug while a wee high-school junior lad of 16 in 1978, and have been writing a largely Arduin-basedcampaign off-and-on ever since. I’m doing a lot of work on the basic document right now, since it’s pure creativity on a deadlineless basis (“Should the elves live behind this mountain? Where shall I put the goblins? Why hasn’t anyone slain this dragon yet?”) It’s nice to have some mental knitting; maybe I’ll post it when I’m done.