Friday, June 22, 2012

Love the Glove

Although it’s been no strict secret, it hasn’t been common knowledge that I’ve been going through radiation treatment for prostate cancer these past several months.

I was diagnosed in December, 2011, and for the past six months I’ve gone through bone-scans, pelvic scans, cat scans, dog scans, raccoon scans…hormone therapy, and ultimately the radiation, which concluded in June. Prognosis is excellent since they caught this early, and Doc says I could be back 100 percent by the end of summer.

So guys, I’m here to join a long list of people, like baseball manager Joe Torre and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who encourage you to get checked out. This is no big deal if caught early. Get yourself to the doctor and go through the tests.

As adults, we know that sometimes we have to do things we would rather not—things like a rectal exam once a year. Hey, it takes four seconds for one of these exams! And those four seconds can bring a year of peace of mind.

Along with a simple blood test, you can spot prostate problems quickly, and if a biopsy is called for and proves positive, there are several different treatments that can beat this thing. Prostate cancer is one of the most curable of cancers, and although you’ve heard this before—early detection is key.

I can’t tell you enough about how swift and stress-free this treatment is. It poses no real threat to a normal lifestyle while you’re going through it (some guys get their daily five-minute treatment on the way to work), and side-effects are both bearable and temporary.

And while dealing with my people—the staff at Delaware Valley Urology Cancer Treatment Center in Cherry Hill—I found them to be one of the most professional, friendly, and calming medical offices I’ve ever been to.

Guys…if you’re over 40, just start looking into this. Don’t put this off. Get taken care of early. The technology available today means that prostate cancer has met its match.

So don’t be afraid of that rubber glove. Four seconds now can mean a lifetime of health.

Besides, I need all the healthy readers I can get to log on to

Although you’ll find access to all of my published work there, you’ll find no mention of rubber gloves on that Web site.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Class of 2012 Shouldn't Neglect Paul

Fifty years ago this month I graduated from high school. I like to believe the intervening half-century of experience has conferred upon me at least some ability to give advice to those of you who now sit where I did back in June of 62.

You’ve heard all the platitudes by now, so I’ll try to be brief, and I’ll try to make some sense—by first telling you a quick story, then, I’m going to get a little Biblical on you. Don’t worry; there’s a lot of good advice in Scripture—not all of it especially religious.

I was not the greatest student back in high school; Aaah, let’s face it…I was a wise guy. No one…and I mean no one…could tell me what to do at age 17. And I had a favorite response for anyone who would try. “I got everything under control,” I would say.

That line always sent my father into hysterics, because, truth was, I had control of very little in my life. That’s because my education (despite my cap and gown) was far from complete.

Well, after military service, and after putting myself through college, I kind of realized that my education was still not complete. I also began to realize that my education would never really be completed.

Then came a day ten years ago, when I finally started to understand why. I reunited with a high school buddy that I hadn’t spoken to for 35 years. After ten minutes he said to me, “What the hell happened to you? You used to be so crazy!” And believe me, he didn’t mean this as a compliment; that is, he didn’t think I had improved since high school.

Well, that’s when I quoted to him from First Corinthians. In chapter 13 verse 11, Paul says, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

So…I’ve been gradually putting away the things of a child for 50 years now. Not all of them—I still try to hang on to my childish amazement of a 500-foot homerun, or of a good guitar riff, or even a pie in the face (done correctly, of course).

And there’s nothing quite as delightful as children’s innocence as they look hopefully at the great things in life…like a loved-one’s smile, or a day at the beach, or a really cold fudgesicle.

So now, as you look at yourself wearing that mortarboard and tassel on your head, believe this if you believe nothing else: Your education begins in earnest—now! And if you’re fortunate, it will never stop.

Best of luck to the Class of 2012 as they move forward. And if you read First Corinthians, Chapter 13 every once in a while, I think you’ll do just fine.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Honor Is Not Chiseled in Stone

My brother John is a doctor of chiropractic. He is convinced that he was put on this earth to get people healthy—one spine at a time! And to that end, he is a zealous worker and advocate for sensible diet and lifestyle choices.

OK, so he knows his mission on this Earth. While recently at his office in Furlong, Pennsylvania, I asked him just what he thought were my reasons for being here. I mean, what’s my mission here on Earth?

He said that I was here to tell people the truth—but in an almost evangelical way. He said that I was to use my writing ability to bring people into the light, as it were. To help the scales fall from their eyes.

He thinks people have been spoon-fed a way of life founded on self-gratification. It’s fed to them through the entertainment industry and through the news media.

This is nothing new to me; I’ve essentially known this for decades. It’s now culturally popular to believe that today’s self-aggrandizement is hip, moral, and if you feel or do otherwise, you just may be bordering on committing a hate-crime.

But this is the first time someone has declared to me that it’s my task to start helping people open their eyes.

So Dr. John has proclaimed me the eye-opener for our country. Well, at least an eye-opener. I have to really bear-down and start exposing untruths. Start debunking some commonly-held dogma.

I’ll start with Oliver Stone, the acclaimed Hollywood director that came into his own after making the movie, “Platoon” back in 1986, for which he won an Academy Award as best director.

Many young people (who would otherwise know nothing about the Vietnam War), take the movie “Platoon” to be gospel in its depiction of the depravity of our army. They in effect, believe Stone, who served in the outfit portrayed—that of B Company of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Infantry Division.

There’s one problem: Stone made it up. When his former commanding officer, Colonel Robert Hemphill, saw the movie, he contacted Stone and asked him why he portrayed events in the movie that never, in fact, took place. Stone gave a terse answer to his former colonel—he said he used artistic license. That was his excuse!

And isn’t that what we’re seeing being advocated today by the industry: a licentious lifestyle?

Most of the soldiers, sailors, guardsmen, airmen, and marines who served in Vietnam did so honorably. Perhaps even Oliver Stone did. Too bad he didn’t continue to act honorably in his post-military career.