By The Men's Editor
Aches, Pains, and Denial
By Gary Sorkin
We read about IT everyday. We see IT on TV. It’s hard to go through a day without hearing about someone we know that has IT. Famous people have IT. People in our own families have IT. There’s no escaping IT. We’ve gone to funerals of loved ones and friends who have had IT.
You wake up one morning and feel a pain or an ache. You’ve never felt this particular one before - you ignore IT. “It’s nothing - it will go away,” you say to yourself. You deny, deny, deny.
As Boomers we are faced with our own mortality. It is not an easy “concept” to grasp. We deny, deny, and deny some more. Not me - maybe you, but certainly not me. We don’t want to know. These aches, pains, and irregularities are not IT. We’re too strong, too young, and too important to have IT. We can’t be mortal. We still have too much to do. The kids aren’t settled yet. My career isn’t where it’s supposed to be yet. People depend on me. I still have a lot of love to give. It’s nothing - it will go away.
But, damn, what the hell is this pain? Please go away.
IT of course is the BIG C - CANCER. Everything we read and hear tells us that early detection can save your life. What does “early detection” really mean? It means going to your doctor and telling him about the ache and pain that you are experiencing early in the process. It means setting up an appointment for a diagnostic procedure. It means catching it, diagnosing it, and dealing with it - BEFORE IT KILLS YOU.
DENY - DENY - DENY
I recently had one or more of these aches and pains that I ignored. I blamed it on my diet. My stress level. My anything but face-the-possibility level. When my older brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I closed my eyes. He told me that his doctor told him that genetics play a big part in the contraction of this particular cancer, I closed my ears. When some celebrity would do a PSA on TV for early detection, I changed the channel. DENIAL.
But, damn, what the hell is this pain?
It began affecting my life. I worked around the pain. I worked with the pain. It got worse. My system of denial was failing me. I called my doctor and made an appointment for one of those awful diagnostic tests. I canceled the appointment. PAIN. I made the appointment again. I canceled it again. MORE PAIN. Damn it, damn it, damn it. This happens to other people, not me.
Sigh, I’ll take the test.
The test is called a Colonoscopy, and it is unpleasant. The preparation the day before is almost as bad as the actual test itself. You fast, you drink a drug store bought liquid that hits you like an on-coming train. You clean yourself out. The test is invasive. It is painful. It is humbling. The doctor puts you in a “twi-light” state, and after some “ooohs and ouches,” it is over. The doctor tells you the results.
My aches and pains were fortunately not the BIG C, not CANCER, but a lesser condition that can be controlled by diet and a better and healthier life-style. When I left his office I made an appointment to check out that “genetic thing” my brother has suffered from.
Denial is the worst thing you can do. Open up your eyes. Open up your ears. Don’t change the channel. Get it checked out as early as possible.
Be here to see your children graduate college. Be here to dance at their wedding. Be here to experience the joy of grandchildren. Be here to love and be loved. Enjoy life to it’s fullest. Make each day the best that it can be.
We have just this one moment in time. Do not risk losing it.
Grow old gracefully.