Day 17 – Lost Opportunity

“It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon…”

Those of you who listen to humorist Garrison Keillor’s two hour live radio variety show on NPR every Saturday night are familiar with this famous tag line of his. It’s a show that a college buddy introduced me to in the late 1970’s, and, when I remember, will tune in on Saturday nights as I’m doing things around the house.

This week’s episode was broadcast from Cincinnati’s Music Hall, and I had completely forgotten about it being here this weekend. To me, seeing one of his shows in person would be one of those “bucket list” kind of events. Another would have been seeing Harry Carey lead the Cubs’ bleacher bums in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch at Wrigley Field. But Harry Carey is long gone, and Garrison—like all of us—is advancing in years and has a finite number of performances left in him.

Having cancer does—as cliché as it seems—force you to reexamine your priorities. Granted, I fully plan on beating this and living long after the demon cancer is gone, but it’s also time that I start living a little more, doing the things that I’ve been reluctant to do or have just simply forgotten to do. Like sitting in Music Hall watching Garrison Keillor’s show.

As far as the nuts and bolts of today are concerned, it was a good day. I went to Indianapolis to do a little Christmas shopping and was amazed that the malls were relatively empty. I guess everyone was out yesterday on “Black Friday,” and they stayed home today. I’d like to say that I came home with a trunk full of gifts, but I didn’t. I did, however, come home with a list of things for myself… J Bad. I know…

I’ll have to admit that this four-day weekend has been a good respite from the last three weeks, but I think that I’ll need to get back into the select-a-surgeon mode, writing out questions to ask the surgeon(s) once I meet them in my appointment(s).

Finally, I had a conversation with a friend who stopped by my sister’s house Thanksgiving night about my upcoming colonoscopy. (Yes, I know… A fine topic after a BIG Thanksgiving dinner…) He’s been putting his off for years because he’s terrified of the idea of—BLUNT CONCEPT WARNING—something going up his butt. Instead of being terrified of that, he should be terrified of not knowing whether he has cancer in him.

So guys, all I can say is, GET OVER IT. With a colonoscopy, at least you’re partially knocked out and won’t feel a thing. And with the ol’ DRE—and the fifteen or so seconds of discomfort of having a finger poke around your rectum—it’s what discovered my tumor and led to further testing, diagnosis, and treatment.

Yes, I know it’s one of those, “If you can’t stand the answer, don’t ask the question” questions, but it can save your life. I’m hoping that my early diagnosis and treatment will save my life so I can see as many goofy concerts or radio shows as I want.

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