Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Receiving A Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer is a Disruptive Moment

Disruptive moments are what Gordon MacDonald, author of The Life God Blesses, describes as an unpleasant slice of life . Disruptive moments frequently occur in the context of what begins as a routine day. Suddenly and unexpectedly, something happens that brings about an unwanted, unwelcome, and sometimes catastrophic change in your circumstances, health, or well-being.

On one such routine day for me, I had a doctor’s appointment to obtain a prescription refill. While I sat in the waiting room, thanking God for my current state of good health, I could never have imagined that was I was fifteen minutes way from experiencing a disruptive moment.  During my appointment, my urologist examined my prostate. He felt a “suspicious lump,” which a biopsy would later confirm was prostate cancer.

Philippians 4:6–7 came to mind. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (NKJ, Thomas Nelson). Unfortunately, I didn’t experience a reduction in anxiety or the peace of God.

I knew too many people who had died from a variety of different cancers.  Additionally, I’d spent two years as a medical social worker. I left that career, and my wife left her career in medical oncology because of our mutual need to get away from suffering and death. The diagnosis of prostate cancer brought these words to my mind: excruciating pain, suffering, and death.

Based on my experiences with cancer, I felt fear, terror, and endured many sleepless nights. The fact that my faith made little or no difference in the way I was coping intensified my fears. During this phase in my journey, I prayed for three things: wisdom—because I needed to chose a way to treat my cancer; peace—because sleepless nights were interfering with my ability to cope; and the ability to find humor everywhere I could. Our prayers and the prayers of others were answered.

It became evident to us we were called to write a book to help others cope with prostate cancer. Since we’ve written our book, we’ve had the opportunity to share our experiences on radio talk shows.  I’ve been invited to write articles for magazines. I designed and host an online, faith-based pre- and post-prostate surgery support forum, which receives thousands of page views per month.  This month, our local newspaper is doing a feature story about our ministry. We stand in awe at the number of doors that continue to open for us to help others. None of this would have or could have happened if we ignored the call to write our book.

Connect with Rick Redner: http://www.whereisyourprostate.com/

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving Day Thoughts From a Prostate Cancer Survivor

Thanksgiving thoughts -I find it very easy to be thankful when great things happen, when the blessings flow, and things are going my way. In fact on most Thanksgiving meals we go around the table and share something positive that happened during the year that we're thankful for. 

For me the most amazing verses the in Bible about thanksgiving are from: Hab 3:17-18
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fol
And there be no herd in the stalls--
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.

All those events taken together spell nothing less than a disaster of immense proportions. Even though Habakkuk lived through these events, his reaction was to rejoice in the Lord. That doesn't mean he was glad or happy about the awful things that happened. It means he re-focused his attention from his circumstances to a God who loved him. 

I certainly didn't feel like rejoicing in the Lord, nor did I feel the joy of my salvation when I received the news I had prostate cancer. It took many many months and sleepless nights before my faith began making a difference in how I experienced the reality of living life without my prostate. Almost 3 years post surgery there are issues that I experience every day that remind me that I left my prostate in San Francisco. 

After reading this verse this year,  I decided to re-focus my attention away from the things I'm  thankful for. This Thanksgiving I'm challenging myself  to take the worst things that have happened this year and find ways to rejoice in the Lord and find joy in the God of my salvation. Anyone else willing to do this?

 (I'll spend other days thanking God for the amazing blessings I've received this year.)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Am I Really "A Basket Case"?

Someone who read I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours? posted a review on Amazon.com describing my wife and me as "basket cases" I must confess I went through a range of emotions. The first was anger. I didn't mind being attacked as much having someone attack my wife.  I wanted to strike back in some way. After the anger died down, then came hurt. We poured our hearts out into that book and shared very intimate details of our lives in order to help others. I couldn't believe someone would be so callous as to call us "basket cases".

Then the learning began. It occurred  to me that whenever you step into the public eye, especially if your motivated by your faith as Brenda & I are,  you can expect to run into two types of opposition. The first is haters. They will do what they can to betray or hurt you. They take a perverse pleasure in causing you harm.

The second form of opposition is detractors. They're the folks who'll say awful things about you personally or what you are trying to do. We had our first experience with a Detractor with someone who reviewed our book on an Amazon Review. He used his review to attack Brenda & I personally.

I've learned can't reason with a hater or detractor, It's God who has the power to transform Haters and Detractors. Paul was a hater. He help kill new believers.He was transformed by the Lord. That's what you do with Detractors and Haters, turn them over to Jesus.
The last thing you want to do is attempt to reason with them. That effort is doomed to fail.

One of the most amazing things about Jesus is how often He prepares you for what you'll face in this word:
John 15:18-19
If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

If you are out there doing serving the Lord expect to experience opposition from Haters and Detractors. When you do REJOICE!

I would preferred to read when Haters & Detractors surround you fight back. Fighting back frequently involves responding to sin in the flesh with sinful strategies. That is the way of the world and every Christian has done this in their lives more than once. The Bible gives us the opportunity to respond differently. Rather than to feel angry and seek revenge the Bible tells us that's not now how to respond to a blessing.

Luke 6:22-23
Blessed are you when men hate you,And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven,

That said, sometimes it's also appropriate to take action.Since I believe it is against Amazon policy to write personal attacks in reviews, I reported the Review to Amazon.

So today I received a double blessing. It took restraint and self control on my part to follow this directive:

Eph 4:26
Be angry, and do not sin

Yet I found a way to do that. I wrote amazon asking if that personal attack could be edited out of the review. Whether they do that or not, I felt good that I took appropriate action rather than find a way to strike back at the person who wrote the review. So I got angry, but didn't sin. That was a good spiritual lesson.

The second and most important opportunity is to learn is to experience the gift only our Haters and Detractors. When we can see things from an eternal perspective we have the opportunity to rejoice and leap for joy. I'm not there yet, but each day brings me closer.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Christmas Message

During this season the words merry or happy are used frequently. We say things like Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Thanksgiving or Happy New Year. When we say that, we are expressing our desire for that person to experience happiness during the holidays. The Season by itself has no inherent power to bring about happiness. In fact many people find themselves seriously depressed during the Holiday Season. That’s especially true if someone near and dear to you died. His or her absence is felt more powerfully at this time.

Because of the cultural expectation to be happy during the holiday season we frequently embark on a search for things we think will bring us the happiness we are supposed to feel. More often than not, despite all our efforts, many of us find that sense of happiness is very short lived.    Our happiness will be elusive if we make it conditional on a future event. So if you say to yourself “I’ll be happy when (fill in the blank)________, you’re not likely to happy for long. Even when the when wished for event comes about. I’ll give some examples. I’ll be happy I finally own or receive ________ as a gift.  I’ll be happy when I find someone to love me.  I’ll be happy when I break off this awful relationship. I’ll be happy when I have children.  I’ll be happy when my children are grown and leave home. The list is unique for each of us, but results are similar.  When the wished for circumstance happens, we’ll  experience an increased measure of happiness, which over the course of a few days or weeks all but disappears.

Scientists have studied this issue and have come up some interesting conclusions. I’ll share some of them. First, that positive circumstances, meaning the things you believe will make you happy accounts for about 10% of the happiness you’ll feel.  Another interesting finding is that most people have a set point for how happy they will be.  So everyone will experience a rise in happiness in reaction of receiving a gift or a experiencing a positive life event. Over time, you’ll drop back down to your set point until something novel causes it to rise again. That’s often what drives people to seek out pleasure. They get bored with their set point and need do something even though in the long term it might be destructive, as long as it moves the needle of happiness up for a brief period of time. Ask someone who is hooked on shopping how long the purchase of a single item provides them with a feeling of pleasure.

So, what is it that can bring us lasting joy and happiness?  I think all of us at one time or another seriously believe that having more money  would make us happy. Next time you are at the grocery store take a look at some of the magazines that feature the rich and the famous. Their lives are often much messy than our own lives. Drugs, alcohol, unfaithfulness, and divorce, which are all very common among that group, is an indication their wealth and fame didn’t buy them a happy life.

If more money, a change in circumstances, or possessing new and expensive stuff won’t make you happy what will?
Many years ago a very rich and powerful man conducted what I believe is the best study in human happiness ever performed. He published his findings in a book called the Bible in a Chapter called Ecclesiastes. I’ll spend the rest of this letter sharing some of the conclusions from his study.

The Beatles were right-Money Can’t Buy Me Love (or happiness)  Finding#1  Eccl 5:10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. Increasing amounts of money can’t bring permanent happiness. In fact it could lead to an obsession to earn more.

The words from the song “You Gotta Have Friends” is also true. Living life in isolation is a formula which keeps in the bad stuff of life inside. In addition it prevents the good stuff that life and relationships have to offer to enter into our lives. We were not created to live life alone.  Finding#2  Eccl 4:9-10
Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.

This doesn’t mean you must be married in order to be happy. There are lots of married people who are miserable. It means you need to have friends and/or family that have your back, who you can rely on, and who love you with the love that’s meaningful to you. It also means you have people in your life that you love with a sacrificial love.

Finally, if you desire to live a joyful life, it can’t be done without applying Finding #3 to your life.
 Eccl 2:24-26
 Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I?  For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good.

That which will truly bless your life and provide you lasting happiness, is wisdom, knowledge and an attitude of gratitude to giver of all things. Joy comes from the hand of God.  So check your focus during the holidays. Is it about parties, presents, and shopping or good food? Or will remember Jesus is the reason for the season. We will experience His love and blessing this time of the year? Will you share those blessings with others? We you live with an attitude of gratitude for what you’ve been given, or will you be jealous of those who have more. For this season and every season of your life, happiness is a result of your attitudes and the choices you’ll make based upon what it is you value. Therefore,  CHOOSE WISELY. Remember that the Creator of this Universe wants to have an intimate relationship with you.  He’s the giver of  eternal joy. That’s a joy we experience here and now. It’s also the joy that we take with us into eternity. It’s my prayer that the joy of the Lord be with you this season and in every season of your life.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Death & Dying From A Christian Perspective

Two unrelated events occurred together and ended up making a strange connection in my mind. The first event was the death of my sister in law's husband. Two years ago he was healthy. He had every reason to believe he'd live another twenty years or more. In the course of eighteen months took away his good health, and then his life.

The second event paired with this death is all the decorations I see in the stores for Halloween. There are many masks and other items that make death and dying look very gruesome. These images aren't limited to Halloween. If you turn on the TV and watch any Detective show you'll see many gruesome images of death, murder and mayhem. According to the University of Michigan Health System, by the time a child is 18 they will have seen 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders. I can't help but wonder how these experiences shape and influence our thoughts and fears related to death and dying”

As I've entered the sixth decade of my life I've experienced the loss of Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, Uncles, and friends. Some of those deaths were sudden and unexpected. Others were long and drawn out involving a significant amount of medical care and pain.

When I evaluate the source of my fears, it isn't about dying. It's much more to do with the process which I've witnessed too many times. Far too often dying involves a long, drawn out period of time filled with pain and the humiliation of the loss of body functions like urinary or bowel control. I've always appreciated a quote attributed to Woody Allen who said, “I don't mind dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens.” Neither do I.

There are some very specific verses in the Bible, which shapes my thoughts about death in a very positive way. In fact I wouldn't want to face the prospect of dying without this knowledge, beliefs and faith.

To the thief on the cross next to Jesus, Jesus said to him in Luke 23:42-43
Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

That's an amazing promise, on the day of your death, if you believe Jesus is your Lord and Savior you are with Him in Paradise. Paul tells us this journey happens in the blink of an eye when he writes in 2 Cor 5:8
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

I like the immediacy of the promise. Death is the beginning of a journey. The Bible distinguishes between our Spirit which never dies and our body which does. According to the Bible the separation from our body is temporary because there will come a day in which our spirit will inhabit a new body which is both incorruptible and immortal.

In 1 Cor 15:53-55 Paul describes this process very clearly.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"  

Halloween presents images of death and dying that are in direct contrast to the Biblical images of death. I find it difficult to break free of the cultural images of death. For me to do this it involves spending more time focusing my attention on the Biblical passages about death and dying. How about you? What's a greater influence on your life, is it the cultural images of death and dying or the Biblical images and promises about death and dying?

As a man in his sixties, also diagnosed with prostate cancer, I've long past the time of "youth's universal illusion of immortality" Sooner than later I will face the prospect of dying.

 I'm grateful to and comforted by Paul who immersed himself in this topic and concluded with a victorious shout “O Death, where is your sting” and to the one who defeated death, Jesus Christ.

If you are someone you love is dying of cancer, visit my website. While it's main focus is coping with life before and after prostate surgery, there are also helpful links to anyone who is facing death as a result of cancer. Here's the link:
Welcome Page

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Christians Coping With Prostate Cancer

Before anyone takes offense with this post, I want to assure anyone of any faith or no faith at all they are welcome to join our Pre and Post Surgery Prostate Cancer Support Forums. There you'll find information that you won't find in other places. It's my goal to help every man with prostate cancer to base their treatment decision on the facts there are provided about their disease rather than their fear of cancer.

My specific area of focus is  prostate surgery. There are other sites to get information about the various options to treat prostate cancer. My goal is not to promote or bash surgery, my goal is to inform and provide accurate information which is lacking in most of the sites which promote surgery as the treatment of choice.

Coping with prostate cancer is a life long journey. According to an unscientific poll on my website, men were asked if they were satisfied with their post-surgery sexuality.  Only 5% of the men who responded were happy with their sexuality following prostate surgery.

It doesn’t take a scientific study to determine that for the majority of men who chose surgery there will be undesirable changes which continue for years, and for many couples for the rest of their lives. These changes have the potential to cause an identity crisis in men as they find themselves unable to perform at levels prior to surgery.

Since the majority of men often link their identity and manhood to their performance in the bedroom, it’s very likely man men will experience a post-surgical depression even when surgery has cured them of cancer. The question for many men is how their faith will impact this crisis.

Is there a place for Christian men to go for help coping with prostate cancer?  I’m happy to report there is. If you are interested in discussing and learning about how faith makes a difference in coping with prostate cancer please visit the following sites:
Don't Waste Your Cancer
Post-Surgery Forum Thread on Faith
How to obtain a forever healing
Why my faith made a difference in the way I faced cancer
Some of the Bible verses that came true in my life

 If you or someone you know is coping with prostate cancer share this blog with them. If you are the one coping or your partner has prostate cancer I hope you'll visit my website:
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours? Website

When you do, I hope you’ll join the forum and become an active member sharing how faith does impact the way men and couples cope with prostate cancer. Here's one promise that meant a lot to me throughout this long journey of coping with prostate cancer and life without a prostate:
Rom 5:3-5
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;  and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

If you need information about surgery visit the pre and post surgery forums which you can link to from my website.
Blessing to you and your family as you make treatment decisions and learn to cope with life as someone with prostate cancer.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How a story about Prostate Cancer Will Appear In Modesto Bee When I Gave Up

For many months I've been writing our local paper the Modesto Bee asking them to do a story about prostate cancer. I wrote letters to many reporters. When one responded,  I asked my Publicist to contact the Bee. I thought a Publicist would get the results I was unable to obtain. He requests were also ignored. I wasn't ready to quit so I wrote a letter to the opinion column hoping to get my letter about prostate cancer published. My letter was not chosen to appear in the paper.

Next I went on-line to ask people to write a letter to the Editor hoping that there would be strength in numbers. When all my attempts failed, I comforted myself by telling myself I’d fought the good fight. I congratulated myself for the many different and creative ways I tried to get our paper to do a story about prostate cancer. I committed myself to trying again next year for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month 2014

On the day I made peace with giving up, a Modesto Bee Reporter who was helping me place an ad in the paper gave me the suggestion to call the Editor directly. I thought I have nothing to lose, so I placed the call. I didn't expect anything to happen. A few hours later a Modesto Bee Reporter called me. I told why I thought I would be important for the Modesto Bee to write a story about prostate cancer. I shared the statistic that 1 in 6 men will receive this diagnosis in their lifetime and with early detection prostate cancer can be cured. I shared my belief that a story in the Modesto Bee would save many lives. To my surprise he agreed to do a story about prostate cancer. I hung up from that phone call amazed that my final effort resulted in success.  A verse from this poem came to my mind:

“And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won, had he stuck it out;”

Just as I was ready to quit, I decided one more try and that try resulted in SUCCESS. So I decided to include the whole poem in this blog. If you are struggling with anything I hope this poem will encourage you.

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
 When the road you are trudging seems all uphill;
 When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
 And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
 When care is pressing you down a bit -
 Rest if you must, but don't quit. 

 Life is queer with its twists and turns,
 As every one of us sometimes learns;
 And many a fellow turns about
 When he might have won, had he stuck it out;
 Don't give up though the pace seems slow;
 You may well succeed with another blow.

 Often the goal is nearer than
 It seems to a faint and faltering man;
 Often the struggler has given up
 When he might have captured the Victor's cup!
 And he learned too late, when the night came down,
 How close he was to the golden crown.

 Success is failure turned inside out,
 The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
 And you never can tell how close you are
 If may be near, when it seems afar.
 So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit,
 It is when things seem worst you must not quit. 

 Author : Unknown

Thursday, September 5, 2013

National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Sept 2013

I never knew that September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month until a year after I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, I’ve had yearly PSA tests and yearly rectal exams for more than a decade. I must confess at the time I thought it was a waste of time, money, and a whole lot of discomfort to be checked every year since I never considered it possible that I’d end up with prostate cancer. I wonder if most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are as shocked as I was when I received the news.

For most of us who get this news, our prior experiences with cancer will have a huge effect on how we receive this news and how we will react as well. Unfortunately for me, I’ve had experience as a medical social worker and my wife has experience as an Oncology nurse. The both of us have witnessed many people die of cancer related illnesses.

The words came to my mind when I was told I had cancer. Those were pain, suffering and death. I wanted every single cancer cell out of my body as soon as possible. Since I’m a high tech fan the idea of robotic surgery appealed to me. I had no idea how surgery changes your life forever.  That said, knowing what I know today, I’d do the same thing.

Not every man feels that way. Here’s what a man wrote on a prostate cancer support forum after his surgery:
I found out I had PC Feb. 2011. May 9 2011 I under went a radical prostectomy. Worst decision I ever made. 2 years later I still suffer from the side effects of the surgery. My life has change forever. I'll never be the same again. I am in a deep depression and forever will be. I would NOT suggest surgery to anyone. There are other alternatives to consider. Please don't make the same mistake I did.

This man is in serious psychological pain and believes his life was ruined forever, even though he’s been cured of prostate cancer.  I can’t stress this enough, if you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer take your time, do your research and decide whether or not aggressive treatment is necessary. Many men do very well with active surveillance and dietary changes.

One in six men will receive the diagnosis of prostate cancer. This is a very treatable disease when it is diagnosed early. Therefore it’s important for every man over fifty, (age forty if prostate cancer runs in your family) to get both a PSA test and a digital rectal exam yearly. In honor of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month if you are over fifty make an appointment, get your PSA and the digital rectal exam. The life you save may be your own.

If you want more information about prostate cancer and/or robotic surgery visit my website at:
My website

Friday, August 16, 2013

How To Avoid Buyer's Remorse After Prostate Surgery

Buyers remorse is an emotional response on the part of a buyer in a transaction, which may involve feelings of regret, fear, depression or anxiety. Buyers remorse is difficult to deal with when it involves the purchase of an expensive item. When it involves deep regret regarding the removal of your prostate this feeling of  remorse can ruin your life for weeks, months or years.  I've collected a few quotes over the years from men who've expressed buyer’s remorse on various on-line prostate support forums. Here’s a sample of some of those quotes. The first quote came from a man who died from prostate cancer approximately 6 months after writing this heartbreaking post:

Regret! Not from PC but from decision to have a radical prostatectomy.
It's now about nine weeks after surgery and things seem to be getting
worse.The physical pain from the surgery is gone but everything else is 
deteriorating. There is not a minute where I don't regret my decision and 
prefer to just evaporate. There is no denying it; I am now a freak. I don't 
respect myself and, in all honesty, I don't know how others would respect 
me either. Sleep is now my only comfort. Perhaps a very deep sleep will 
help me to evaporate, permanently.

Other Expressions Of Buyer’s Remorse:
I’ve asked myself a thousand times since my RP in June 2009…..WHY? I can still say I wish I had never had the surgery.

I’m 7 months in and wish I never let them talk me into having it removed. My life has changed and just keeps getting worse.

May 9 2011 I under went a radical prostatectomy Worst decision I ever made. 2 years later I still suffer from the side effects of the surgery. My life has change forever. I'll never be the same again. I am in a deep depression and forever will be. I would NOT suggest surgery to anyone.

I just feel like a freak afterwards. I feel like I'm not even a man anymore. I wish now that I had never let anyone touch me, and that I would have preferred that I had just let the cancer kill me instead. Had I known then what this would be like, I would have told them to kiss my ass. I'd have just taken whatever time I had left. I won’t ever go within a mile of another doctor.

Buyers remorse is often accompanied by a depression and sense of hopeless and futility about life. You can feel this way even when you've been cured of cancer. You are not alone. Many men feel this way, but knowing that doesn't make your life any better. One positive outcome in reading blog is this: A secondary cause of pain is that you can judge yourself very harshly for not feeling grateful to be alive and/or cured of cancer. There is no need to get down on yourself for feeling this way. That said, I believe the level of discouragement and depression expressed in the comments above requires men to do something they hate to do.....GET PROFESSIONAL HELP.

I'm convinced God still has a plan for your life and it's a good plan, but you'll never get to experience this plan until you get the help you need to overcome your sense of discouragement, futility, depression and possibly your wish to die.

If you don't get help, you'll not only miss out on the wonderful plan God has for your life, the chances are you'll ruin your marriage, and relationships with the people you love most. You will withdraw from everyone and everything.

In the book Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend they explain that healthy boundaries keep the bad out and allow good in. Unhealthy boundaries do the opposite. They don't allow the good in, and won't let the bad out. Without professional intervention there is a great risk of wasting years and perhaps decades of your life living in misery.

Here's a few links to find out if there is a prostate cancer support group near you:
Us Too International
Prostate Cancer Foundation
Man to Man

If you are thinking about surgery, the best way to minimize the possibility of you experiencing buyer's remorse is to get accurate information, develop realistic expectations by talking with at least 6 or more men who've had surgery. Here are some websites to help you find those men:
Healing Well
Prostate Cancer Info Link

 Since where you will land post surgery is in a great part dependent upon the skill of your surgeon, find one who has performed a minimum of four to five hundred surgeries. Read, discuss, and learn the facts before you make the decision to have surgery.

Last but not least, don't believe the ads and the on-line marketing for robotic surgery. Maintain a very skeptical attitude toward the men who were cherry picked to advertise for treatment centers. They will tell you how easy it is was for them to get their life back after surgery. It’s highly unlikely you’ll feel that way.

In my book I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Sexual & Spiritual Aspects of Prostate Cancer I share both my personal experiences as well as my professional training as a Medical & Psychiatric Social Worker to help other men and couples overcome buyer’s remorse, depression as well as a variety of pre and post surgical issues. I priced the Kindle addition below $3 to make this resource affordable. You can look inside the book, and read the reviews at

The best cure for buyer’s remorse is not to develop a case of buyer’s remorse in the first place. Knowing what life is like without a prostate before surgery can help you to avoid this very painful and distressing condition.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why Rejection Hurts

When my book I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? was first published I sent a copy of the book to Family Life Today. I was told it would take a minimum of three months for the review process. I waited until the 4th month before making a follow up call. When I called I was hoping to receive the good news that this important and effective ministry dedicated to strengthening marriages would be interested in a faith based book written to strengthen the relationship of couples coping with prostate cancer.  Sadly I received the news this topic did not fit in with their priorities.

When I hung up the phone I found myself feeling hurt, angry and rejected. For four months I thought my book had a serious chance to be utilized. The fact of the matter was it never had a chance. I wish I could have received this information before I sent the book in for review.

I have nothing but respect for the work and ministry of Family Life today. I understand they don’t focus on how diseases effect marriages. Even though I've come to the conclusion this wasn't a rejection, I still felt  rejected.

I don’t know your history with rejection, but I know mine. I've been turned down on dates. I've had women say “no” when I asked them to dance. I've been stood up more than once and had a few “it’s not you, it’s me” heart-breaking kind of breakups. All of those experiences occurred decades ago. I've been happily married for thirty-three years. Based on the intensity my feelings, I've come to believe that your whole history with rejection gets re-activated and re-experienced. Therefore, those old feelings of hurt come right back as if they were fresh wounds.

Admittedly I've also experienced a number of fresh wounds.  I can’t find any Christian organizations interested in supporting men and couples coping with prostate cancer. I've visited six Churches in my community. I've donated books to Church libraries and wrote letters to the Pastors explaining that 1 in 6 men in their congregation will find themselves diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Not a single Church asked for additional information, or invited my wife and/or I to speak to the Seniors at any Church about prostate cancer, even though we offered to do that.  Not a single Church that accepted the book into their library sent a thank-you note for the donation. One Mega-church in my community turned down the book donation, and refused to take a free copy for their Pastor.

I expected to find more doors opened than closed. I expected to find support and encouragement. My assumptions and expectations were wrong.  More doors will be closed than opened. Words of encouragement and support will be few and far between.

One response to rejection is to take yourself out of the game, so you don't experience this rejection over and over again. I'm no where near that place. When I feel rejected, I think of someone who is near and dear to my soul was also rejected:
 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 
(Luke 17:25-26 NKJV)

Because He was rejected, I know this:
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 
(Heb 4:15-16 NKJV)

Whenever I feel hurt, rejected, frustrated or disappointed, I know it's time to take those feelings straight to the throne of grace where I receive the acceptance and encouragement I need to press on.

What’s your source of comfort when you feel rejected or alone?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Who Says I'm a Failure?

As I was training for my Masters Degree in Social Work I learned about Freudian concepts, as well cognitive therapy. Very little was taught about the role of siblings, peers, and school teachers in the development of our self-esteem. Currently, it is recognized that our siblings play an important role in our self-image and self esteem.

I don’t know how old I was when my sister told me I was fat. That wasn't true, but for an entire year I refused to wear shorts. I didn't want anyone to see my “fat” legs.  As I look at pictures from that time in my life, I feel a sense of sorrow that I believed what my sister said rather than what was obvious to the eye when looking at my pictures. I was a very skinny child whose body image was messed up because my sister decided to tease me by telling me I was fat. Unfortunately I believed her rather than the reflection I saw in the mirror.

She was the smart one in the family. Her teachers enjoyed having her in the classroom. I was very different. It was a disaster for me to be in class if a teacher had experience teaching my sister before me. Undoubtedly, the teacher would make an unfavorable comparison more than once during my time with that teacher. It didn't take long for me to resent both my sister and my teachers.

While I hated the comparisons the fact was my sister was consistently an A student, while I struggled to get C's and D's. Beginning in Kindergarten, I learned the best way for me to get attention was to act out in class. Rather than receiving praise from teachers, my teachers devised special punishment dittos I had complete after school in detention. My experience with detentions began in Elementary School and continued throughout High School.

Many of my teachers made it clear they didn't like me. I remember one teaching telling me she wished I’d get sick so she wouldn't have to see me in her class. From Elementary School through High School  I was a very slow learner. I was put in special classes for slow students. In High School, while all my friends were deciding on what college to attend, my adviser told me I wasn't college material. She suggested I forget about college and learn a trade.

My friends were academically brilliant. They were all A students in Elementary School, High School & in College. I was the dumbest kid in my peer group.  My friends did what kids do, they teased and reminded me of this fact many times throughout the majority of my Elementary and High School life.

These experiences had a profound effect on my self-esteem. Even though I went to college and graduated with honors when I received my Bachelor’s Degree and my Masters Degree, I attributed my success to taking easy classes rather than believe I’d earned those honors. I always considered myself an academic dummy.

I've come to believe all of us have a committee in our heads. Most of the members of our committee are  siblings, peers, teachers, parents, and a few people who for better or worse had a major impact on our lives.

If you were blessed with the capacity to get good grades, had a skill that was valued, or had the status of being in a high valued peer group, the chances are you have some fans on your committee. They are the ones  who believed in you, who encouraged you or  had a positive impact on your life. These committee members  provide you with positive feedback and encouragement when you need it.

From the other direction, if you did poorly in school, were in a low status peer group, or had family members who were highly critical, abusive, or absent in your life, the chances are that the majority of your committee members are not your fans. In fact they consist of a group of individuals who are highly critical of who you are and what you do. They are your detractors who never have anything positive to say.

My committee recently held a meeting after a week went by without selling a single copy of my book I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours? on the Amazon website. I was surprised to hear from committee members that I fired long ago. I wrote down some of their remarks.

Committee member #1 said “I told you not to write that book.” #2 said “I warned you that you’d lose a lot of money if you self published your book.” #3 said “You're not smart enough to write a book, why would you think anyone would read something you wrote?

Then I heard from the Chairman of the board. He had the most to say. Here’s the summary of His remarks:
He began by saying well done good and faithful servant. If you didn't sell a single copy of your book, I’d still be well pleased because you were faithful writing down the ideas I gave to you. We both know your book won two awards this year and it will win a third award before the year is out.  Your on-line diary has received more than 40,000 page views. Your blog has more than 5,000 page views.  Your website receives more than a thousand page views a month. Your Pre-Surgery Forum and Post-Surgery Forum set a record number of visits when 100 people visited the forums in a 24 hour period this week. You've received more than 90 likes on your author Facebook page and the number of page likes grows higher every day. If you examine your website and book statistics you'll notice you are helping people with prostate cancer in this country and  around the world.

It's important for you to understand, the awards you've received, the amount of  people you reached, or the number of books you've sell does not determine your success or failure in my eyes.  It makes no difference to Me whether you sell one book or a million books. What matters to me is whether whether or not you've been faithful and obedient carrying out the mission I've placed in your heart.

Therefore, give up your worldly definitions of success and accept what's really important, My blessing and approval.  I know you've invested a lot of your money in this ministry. I've asked you to leave comfort zone many times. It was necessary to take risks and develop new skills in order to spread the word about the ways in which I can help others cope with prostate cancer.  I'm pleased with all that you've done in My name.

I was grateful to receive that message from  the Chairman of my board.  If you've got too many critical board members on your committee, or you'd know you need a new Chairman of the Board, this Bible verse is for you:

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  (Cor 5:17-18 NKJV)

When Jesus became the Chairman of my Board,  I gained the authority (and ability) to fire my entire committee. The old fired members sometimes pay me a visit, but I've learned to ignore their remarks. I wait to hear from the one person that matters, the Chairman of my Board, who is Jesus. With your invitation, He's willing to become the Chairman of your Board  if you invite Him into your life as Lord and Savior.

 I've had decades of experience with Jesus as my Chairman, I can tell you that if you allow Jesus to be the Chairman of your Board, (as well as your Lord & Savior) your life will never be same. Will you accept His invitation?

An addendum:
One day after writing this blog I sold both soft covered and Kindle editions of my book on Amazon. While I was delighted  this occurred, I didn't feel any more of  a success on that day than I felt the week prior when no books sold. Lesson learned, Thank-you Jesus.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Important Life Lessons I've Learned From Our New Puppy

                                                       Life Lessons From A Puppy

Toby was 7 months old when he came into our home and our lives.  The woman who previously had Toby during a critical time in his developmental life was diagnosed with cancer. It’s unlikely she was well enough to spend time socializing Toby with other dogs or exposing him to a variety of new situations, places, and new people. She returned him to the pet shop at 6 months of age because she wasn’t well enough to care for him.  Toby spent the next month in a glass cage by himself at the pet store. When we took him home, he was 7 months old.

Toby is very shy dog. He’s sensitive to all novel circumstances. He is easily spooked. For example upon a taking a walk we walked over a grate. It made a noise that frightened Toby.  For five consecutive walks after that experience Toby would freeze, sit down, and refuse to walk forward every time he saw a grate. In other words he developed a phobia about grates after one unpleasant experience with an unexpected noise. I was shocked he could develop such a strong negative reaction based on a single experience. I knew immediately he’d be the most difficult dog I’d ever trained in my life.

I don’t believe in giving a puppy free access to food.  I believe puppies should  work/train in order to earn their meal. One of our first lessons I wanted Toby to learn had to do with trusting me with his food. I began our lesson with feeding him by hand. At first he’d take some of his food in his mouth and run some distance away in order to eat it. Once he finished he’d repeat this cycle. He never got tired of this. He’d take his food and run away.

 We did this for many days until the day came when he decided to stay close and eat in my presence. Once he started doing this, I’d surprise him by adding an additional tasty treat. Now, he wants me to rub him while he eats close by. However, a sneeze or cough can send him scurrying away. Now that he trusts me he’ll comes back quickly. It’s going to take weeks, possibly months to desensitize him. What makes this task more challenging is Toby’s refusal to take food when he’s frightened.

Toby gave us a demonstration of how easily it is to lose his trust. My daughter Kate was using powder. She decided it would be fun to powder Toby’s nose. Had I been there, I would have warned her not to do that. After she powered Toby’s nose he ran away from her. When Kate tried to call him back Toby wouldn’t come, instead he actively avoided her. I told Kate it could take days for Toby to regain his trust in her. I’ve had dogs all my life but I’d never lived with a dog with such a sensitive spirit.

Watching how much purposeful work and time it took for Toby to regain trust in Kate taught me a valuable lesson.  I’ve learned I can’t yell when I’m frustrated or raise my voice when I’m angry. Physically punishing him with a corrective jerk from his choke collar is out of the question.  As I typed the last sentence Toby found the wire to my laptop and began chewing it. A firm “no” brought Toby’s chewing on the wire to an immediate halt. He came to me expecting something positive to happen. I didn’t disappoint him.  I stopped typing to retrieve and offer him his rope chew toy. He happily took his chew toy to his pillow and chewed on the rope to his heart’s content. For good measure, I use my clicker (which I wear on my wrist at all times) to click/treat him for chewing on his toy. Both of us were pleased with this outcome.

I’ve come to the conclusion I can’t train Toby the way he needs to be trained. I’m out of my league and I need help. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, the help I need won’t come from a dog trainer. The help I need must come from the Lord. I need the fruit of the Spirit which is:
….. love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Gal 5:22-23 (NKJV)

I don’t posses any of these traits. I’m easily frustrated, short tempered, prone to use punishment, gruff, and lacking in self-control.  The personality traits I possess are the exact opposite of what Toby needs to learn and to thrive. The good news is I don’t train Toby with my personality traits. I train him when I have access to the fruit of the Spirit. In those moments we are a great team. Both Toby and I are doing so well together. He’s a fantastic dog who challenges me to solve problems and teach me ways that don’t come natural to me. In fact it’s hard to know who is training who. It’s clear we are both training each other. The end result of Toby’s training will transform him into a well-trained and affectionate friend. The end result in my training will transform me into a better person. It’s a win-win. Toby will be a better dog and I’ll be a better person. You can’t lose when you are living a Spirit controlled life.

I wonder what aspects of life you’ve encountered where you realize you don’t have what it takes to do the task well. For me it’s parenting. As Father’s Day approaches I’m vividly aware of how important it is for me to be a Spirit controlled father. I confess I spent way too much of time as a Father using my own personality. That was unfortunate for me and for my children. The good news is that it’s not too late. In the same way I can be a better trainer for Toby, I can also be a better Dad to my children and a better husband to my wife.

I want to give Toby special thanks for teaching me that lesson.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thank You Prostate Cancer

This week my wife and I adopted a puppy. The timing was bad, but the story was compelling to us. Toby was sold to a woman when he was 7 weeks old. A few months later she was diagnosed cancer. Given the effects of radiation she found herself unable to care for her new puppy. She asked the Pet Store if they would take him back. He said he would.

The dog was at the pet store for a month before we met him. He was selling for 1/6 the price of a King Charles Spaniel, and my wife has always wanted this breed. So even though the timing wasn't right, we made a heart decision rather than head decision and took him home with us.

Today our second day wasn't an easy one. There was lots of crying. When I woke up I found Toby's crate full of poop, so was Toby. That's the hazard of living in a pet store. The dogs get use to laying in their own pee and poop. Today my head was laughing manically at my heart saying: "I warned you, but you didn't listen."

 Last night Toby's previous owner was given our phone number. I understand she is receiving radiation treatment and may not feel well enough to call.  I'm praying she will call us so we can give her pictures, updates, and even a visit if she so desires. That said, it could be too painful and she could want a clean break. Time will tell.

If I had not been diagnosed with prostate cancer, we wouldn't have adopted this dog. If I had not been diagnosed with prostate cancer and we had adopted him, I wouldn't have thought at all about contacting the previous owner who is coping with cancer. I wouldn't have offered to send pictures, give updates or visit her at home.

 It's nice to see that having prostate cancer has given me new sensitivities. So I can't believe I'm saying this, but thank you prostate cancer, and more importantly, thank you Lord. This verse has come true in my life:
 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28 NKJV)

It's a promise you can claim as well if Jesus is your Lord & Savior.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How My Experience With Prostate Cancer Influenced My Decision To Get A New Puppy

On 6/4/13 My wife and I did something that defied logic. Let me re-phrase that. We used heart logic rather than head logic. On 6/3/13 we visited a pet store that sells puppies. We weren't in the market for a puppy we just wanted to see the breeds they were selling.

Visiting any place that has puppies is a dangerous activity for me because I have a soft spot for dogs. I usually find at least one I’d like to take home with me. Yesterday was not an exception to that rule. On our visit we saw a beautiful 7 month old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  For years Brenda has longed for a Caviler King Charles Spaniel but the $1,500 price tag was more than we could afford.

This dog was much older than the all the other puppies in the store.  We were struck by the price tag. He was selling for 1/6 of the price we've seen  Cavaliers sell for.  Despite the deep discount and the fact that the dog was quite lovable, we made it out of the pet store that day with out taking him home.

The next day I called the pet store owner who happened to be the breeder as well. I wanted to know the dog’s history. There was no way I’d purchase a 7 month old dog who’d been in a cage by himself for 7 months. The owner/breeder  told me the following story:
The pup was sold when he was 7 weeks old. The women who purchased him was diagnosed with cancer shortly after she brought him home. She realized given her disease and the treatments she required there was no way she could take care of a puppy. She called the pet store and asked if they would take him back. They said they would.

He’d been back in the pet store for about a month. Since he was now 7 months old, they reduced the price so they could find him a new home quickly. On both our visits we noticed that Toby was very shy. Under normal circumstances I would not adopt a dog with his temperament.  Yet somehow, being  prostate cancer survivors, my wife and I felt a special bond to this pup who lost his home because his owner had cancer.  We took him home that day.

We also felt a bond to a woman we never met. She’s not only coping with a recent diagnosis of cancer, she is also coping with the loss of her beloved pet. Tomorrow I’m calling the pet store one more time. I’m hoping the owner/breeder has the previous owner’s phone number. We want to tell her that her dog has a new home where he’ll be well cared for and loved. We also want to ask her if she’s well enough and interested in having us visit with Toby.  I hope this will be possible.

As I reflect on the fact that I've got to train a new puppy who is going to require months of training, and who isn't housebroken, I wonder if I've lost my mind. Truthfully, I don't know if it was the compelling story, the amazing price, the fact that I'm a sucker for cute dogs, or a combination of all three that came together in a way that resulted in our making a 10-15 year commitment to love and care for Toby.

This much my wife and I agree upon, sometimes in life it’s important to throw logic out the window and listen to your heart. Because we did that, here's the newest member of our family.

After the call to the pet store I'll write a follow up note about our efforts to locate Toby's previous owner.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Personality Trait Necessary For Success

Have you ever wondered- What’s the difference between someone who is successful and someone who isn’t?

What personality trait enabled Abraham Lincoln amount to anything when he had this list of failures:
Lost job, 1832,Defeated for legislature, 1832, Failed in business, 1833,Sweetheart (Ann Rutledge) died, 1835,Had nervous breakdown, 1836, Defeated for Speaker, 1838, Defeated for nomination for Congress, 1843,Rejected for Land Officer, 1849
Defeated for Senate, 1854, Defeated for nomination for Vice-President, 1856,Again defeated for Senate, 1858
Elected as President 1860.

Do these events sound like they come from a super athlete?
I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan

Thomas Edison provides us with the answer to a personality trait that necessary for success with two quotes about failure:
 “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

The personality trait necessary for success is perseverance, which is a steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. I’m not into poems, so I’m not an authority as to what the best poem might be about any topic, but this is clearly a great poem about the value of perseverance:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
 When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
 When the funds are low and the debts are high,
 And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
 When care is pressing you down a bit-
 Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
 As every one of us sometimes learns,
 And many a fellow turns about
 When he might have won had he stuck it out.
 Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
 You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
 It seems to a faint and faltering man;
 Often the struggler has given up
 When he might have captured the victor's cup;
 And he learned too late when the night came down,
 How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out -
 The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
 And you never can tell how close you are,
 It might be near when it seems afar;
 So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
 It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

I don’t know what challenge in life you are facing where temptation and/or logic leads to you to believe quitting makes sense. I do know it is the presence of preserving, not the facts, that frequently makes the difference between success and failure. A very important question to ask yourself today is: What area of my life currently requires perseverance in order to turn failure into success?

The last and most important question to ask is where can I get the perseverance I need to order to succeed?
Some folks were born with this trait, others developed it over time. It's very possible to achieve great things with your own God-given level of perseverance. For those people, Jesus has a warning:
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Mark 8:36-37)

In some ways I feel blessed that I'm frequently tempted to quit. I know I can't rely on my own level of perseverance. I need to tap into the best and most powerful source of perseverance. It’s found in a relationship with Jesus.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;  and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom 5:1-5)

Jesus wants to give you more than perseverance. He takes the things that could destroy you to produce perseverance, character and hope. For me that's offer too good to refuse. Each of us must ask ourselves if you want to enter into a relationship with Jesus, so He could  pour His power, His perseverance, His character and hope  into your life.

I often marvel how many people turn down this offer and say to the Creator of this universe "I'd rather do it myself!"

I've taken Jesus up on His offer. I can testify that Jesus took me from being frightened out of my mind when I received the diagnosis of prostate cancer and transformed me into an award winning author who shares his transformation with others.  I'll be expressing and sharing my gratitude for the rest of my life. What will you do with Jesus offer to you?

Monday, May 20, 2013

How To Gain a Heart of Wisdom

                                                                 Ps 90:12
                        So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

A common question adults ask of children is “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Children often answer this question with a career choice such as a Doctor or Fireman, etc. If you move up the developmental and maturational ladder, by asking the same question to college kids it’s more than likely you’ll receive a similar answer in terns of hearing about a career choice.

As I ask myself that question now that I’m less than a decade away from retirement, my answer is completely different and has nothing to do with a career choice. I’d like to be known and remembered for two things. First I’d like to be known for my capacity to love, and second I’d like to be known for possessing a heart of wisdom.

I suspect you can’t possess the former without possessing the latter. The Bible clearly says that knowing what it means to number our days will led us to a heart of wisdom. So what does it mean to number our days and what wisdom might we gain from doing so?

There is a healthy way to number your days and an unhealthy way to number your days.  I don’t know why, but I always find it much easier to discover the unhealthy ways. For example I’m currently on vacation in Florida. As the days move closer to our departure day, I’m not only counting the days, I’m feeling very sad as I do so.  Rather than enjoy my final days in Florida, I could easy waste and ruin the time by focusing my attention on the fact I have so little time left and immerse myself in my feeling sad and/or miserable about a wonderful vacation drawing to a close.

A far better decision is to accept the sadness and at the same time realize I have two full days left to enjoy. It’s important to ask my wife and myself how can we make the best use of our time.  We can discover what we’d like to do and experience,  before our time in Florida comes to an end.

To gain a heart of wisdom we can’t live our lives (or our vacations) as if we have all the time in the world. Time is one of our most precious commodes. I wonder how differently we’d live if we’d ask ourselves each and every day what would we do, where would we go, and what would we say to people in our lives if we knew today was our last day to live.

I once asked that question to a man with a type A personality. He said “I’d go to work like I do every day, but I’d bring my child with me!”  His answer is a great example of an unhealthy way to respond to numbering your days.

Prostate cancer or any other potentially life threatening illness, (as well as the process of aging) are vivid reminders that life is short. As we number our days we can ask ourselves some important questions:
1. What do I want to accomplish in my life?
2. What must I do to make those accomplishments a reality?
3. How and what would I be remembered for if I died today?
4. Is that how I want to be remembered? If not what do I need to do to change the way I’d be remembered?
5. Are there things I need to attend to that I've been putting off?
6. Are there things I need to say or do before it’s too late?
7. Are there things I regret that I can do something about?
8. If I stood before the throne of judgement would I hear Jesus say:
      'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you  
      ruler over many things. Enter into  the joy of your lord.' (Matt 25:23)

As you read this I have no doubt some very important questions will come to your mind. As they do, write them down. Set some new goals, take the necessary actions to minimize if not eliminate the regrets you have. Use the gifts and talents you've been given to serve and love other people.  Learn to number your days to gain a heart of wisdom.

Monday, May 13, 2013

What My Dog Taught Me About Love

I've had dogs in my life for as long as I can remember. Looking at baby pictures, my first dog King, became my friend while I was in diapers. When I began Junior High, King was still a good friend. There have only been brief periods of time in my 61 years that I've lived without a dog.

While I've loved each of my dogs, Teddy a Cavapoo, (part poodle, part King Charles spaniel) is my favorite dog. He’s been part of our family for 7 years. It’s ironic to me that my favorite dog is the only dog I've ever had who is not reliably housebroken. Teddy can go months without an accident in the house. Every single time I've thought he’s gone for so long without an accident perhaps he’s finally house broken Teddy will pee or poop in the house. He’s especially prone to do this when it rains, because he hates being out in the rain.

It’s miserable living with a dog who isn't house broken. What I hate the most are the times I've  discovered his pile of poop by stepping in it barefooted. It’s totally gross and disgusting to feel dog poop between my toes. No matter how long I wash, I feel disgusted for days.

I thought putting Ted in a crate might help. It didn't, Teddy will poop in his crate. Worst yet, he didn't  mind being covered in his own poop. The process of getting him clean was both smelly and disgusting. There was no way I was willing to go through that process a second time. By necessity, I gave up on the idea of using a crate to stop him from accidents in the house.

Still determined to get the upper hand, I used clicker training to teach Teddy to pee and poop and command. This works most of the time.  Yet he won't give up on the periodic reminders he''s not house-broken. I find it ironic a dog that periodically pees and poops in the house became my favorite dog.

There’s two more disturbing issues that's unique to Teddy and troublesome to me. If we travel with Teddy and I have to leave him alone, he’ll cry his eyes out. It makes no difference if he’s with the rest of the family. The minute I leave, he begins to howl. He’s so loud you can hear it from hundreds of feet away. This doesn't happen at home, I can leave for work and he’s fine with that. Away from home he's less secure.

 Secondly, there’s an issue with our sleeping arrangements when Teddy goes on vacation with us.  At home Teddy sleeps down stairs by himself. Occasionally Kate (our daughter) will take Teddy upstairs and allow him on her bed. Not me. I've never ever let a dog in my bed  until our first vacation with Teddy. Kate tried to have Teddy sleep beside her. Teddy would have no part of it. He cried and cried until I let him on my bed.

 I know I shouldn't have given in, but it was late at night. There was no doubt his loud protests would wake half the hotel guests if I allowed him to cry for hours on end, so I took the easy way out and let him on our bed. The good news is he’s relatively small and doesn't take up that much space. My wife and I slept the entire night without either of us being aware we were sharing our bed with our dog.

Now Teddy insists on sleeping in our bed whenever he accompanies us on our vacation. At first I didn't mind, because he stayed in one place and never bothered me. Now that he’s certain he has a place on our bed he became a bed hog. There isn't a single night we don’t end up fighting for bed space. He tricked me with a few peaceful nights, which are now distant memories.

To sum things up, my “favorite dog” pees and poops in the house. Teddy is the only dog which required me to invest a great deal of time and money with a professional trainer. I wanted professional help with Teddy's separation anxiety. In addition to his private lessons, I paid for a class to help Teddy become certified as Canine Good Citizen. I specifically asked the trainer to focus on the task of separation because I knew that was Teddy's most difficult challenge 

On testing day, he easily passed every test but one. When I gave him to stranger and went behind the barrier Teddy fell apart. He howled like a baby. I’d never been so embarrassed. We were the only ones who failed the test that day. I'll never forget the kind words of encouragement the trainer gave me which helped me leave the facility that day with my dignity intact. She said Teddy was a very obedient and likable dog who was obviously very bonded to me. She said if your going to fail this test, that’s the best reason to fail.

For those of you who think this is an easy problem to fix you need to know when I board Teddy in a kennel which has an out-door park, Teddy will cry for weeks on end until the day I return to pick him up. Obviously letting him cry it out until he gets over it doesn't work when he’s capable of crying inconsolably for weeks on end.

Once again I took to my clicker. I've tried to increase the time Teddy can tolerate being without me. I thought I finally made progress when I could go behind a door for 5 minutes without a howl of protest. I learned he could tolerate separation if it were behind that specific door. In all other places the training did not generalize. I know if I took this on the road we might make some progress, but I've decided to live with Teddy as he is.

More than once I've asked myself how is it that a crazy dog that has more issues than all of my dogs combined became my favorite dog. Here’s one of the many reasons why. Teddy was five when I came home from the hospital after prostate surgery. During the first three months post-surgery I suffered with severe urinary incontinence, and stayed at home, Teddy never left my side. In fact he preferred to be on my lap. He was a welcome visitor.

His presence was comforting to me in a way I've never experienced with another dog. Currently, Teddy doesn't sit on my lap as often as I’d like him to. In fact I've accused him of becoming unsociable. Yet I’ll be forever grateful when I needed him the most, he was right there on my lap, day after day, week after week, month after month, until three months passed and I regained urinary control.

Teddy’s been and currently remains a faithful friend, so I love him warts and all. That’s not a bad lesson to learn. Each of us has warts. Unfortunately some of us are incapable of loving someone once his or her warts are exposed. In the relational world, those folks will end their relationships once our warts become obvious to see.  I suspect each person reading this experienced both sides of this coin. All of us were dumped by someone when our warts were exposed, and all of us have dumped someone else when their warts were exposed.

My relationship with Teddy is a vivid reminder of the value of continuing to loving someone warts and all. If you've had a pet that taught you something of value, I hope you’ll share the lesson you learned.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Authors Beware of your Publisher

It takes time for any book to sell, especially when you don't have a million dollar marketing campaign to push sales along.
 On 5/7/12 I received what I belief is a shameless e-mail from WestBow Press. Here it is:

"I am the light of the world."
He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, 
but have the light of life." - John 8:12 
You have reached a significant point in your author journey. Your inspiring theme, motivating message and uplifting voice are now ready to be shared with as many readers as possible.
And you never know what type of positive change your book could ignite in the hearts and minds of people until you get it in their hands. Your book could very well be the inspiration a reader needs to tackle a challenge or make a positive change, and WestBow Press wants to help you share your encouraging message.
Place an order of 500 or more copies of your book, and we'll provide 10% more free.* Combine your author discount along with this special offer for even greater savings. For example: 
Order 500 books
Save 55%
Get 50 more copies FREE
Order 1,000 books
Save 60%
Get 100 more copies FREE 
Learn more 
Pass the torch of motivation by sharing your book. Call 866.928.1240 ext. 1 now to take advantage of this bonus offer.

The first thing that struck me was the use of Bible verse to begin their marketing e-mail. Did they think that using a Bible verse would add extra motivation for me to take advantage of their "bonus offer"? From my perspective this is a terrible misuse of the word of God. The marketing department at WestBow should be ashamed of themselves for using God's holy word in an ad campaign to increase sales and profits for Westbow Press.

Secondly, as my Publisher, WestBow press has done nothing to help me increase book sales. In fact their advice in this letter is to buy books from them so I can give copies of my book away for free. There is not a single word in this letter offering any helpful advice how to sell a single book or how to use the copies of the book they want me to purchase to increase my book sales. 

If WestBow Press were truly looking out for me here's what this offer should have said:

If you buy 100 books or more WestBow Press will send you a list of 50 Christian Reviewers who may be interested in reviewing your book. As a bonus offer we'll send you a list of 100 Christian websites and/or bloggers who'll consider  posting or writing about your book in exchange for a free copy. 

There is an vast difference between my offer and their offer.  WestBow's offer has value to WestBow Press, but no value to me. In my offer there is value to both me and to WestBow press. In fact in my offer WestBow press would be providing a valuable list which could increase  book sales. Therefore my offer is a win for both of us.

It's nice that WestBow Press keeps reminding me through their pitiful marketing efforts that we are not on the same team. Their goal is to make their profits off of me. 

My goal is to help people facing prostate cancer, through my website and the sale of my book.

If you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer and considering surgery here's a link where you read reviews and purchase my book. It's also available on Kindle and iTunes for $2.99 
It's also available at Amazon UK at the following link:
Amazon UK

If you'd like additional information about prostate cancer visit my website at:
Rick's Website
Visit the Pre & Post Surgery Forums, as well as the helpful links and videos-all FREE 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Cure For Prostate Surgery Buyers Remorse

Be Careful what you wish for.
I’ve met a number of men who were so unhappy with their life without a prostate they’ve said: “If I could do this all over again, I’d never have surgery and I’d just live my life and let cancer take it’s course.”  I must confess more than once I’ve thought this as well, but they are fleeting thoughts for me. For some of the men I met their life is characterized by the regret they feel for the choice they made to have surgery.

I have a suggestion for any man who is living with buyers remorse. Call a hospice near you, ask if there is anyone they are caring for who is dying of prostate cancer, who would be open to receiving visitors. Then make a commitment to visit a man dying from prostate cancer on a weekly basis until he dies. If they are in hospice care it’s very likely death is less than 2 months away.

If you can’t do that, I suggest you read this blog titled “The Big C” by David Emerson start by scrolling down this page and read the blog dated 10/2/2012 titled “A Long and Winding Road” found here:

Read what David endured, then ask yourself knowing what you know now, would you make a decision that would result in you experiencing the medical complications leading to death that David endured. If your answer is no, than you've been cured of buyer's remorse!

If reading this story cures you of buyer's remorse, share your new perspective with those you love. I'd also recommend a prayer of thanksgiving.

If reading his story had no impact on you at all, then I suggest you consider seeking out professional or peer  help. If you choose to go at this alone you'll  run the risk of ruining the time you have to enjoy your life without a prostate.

If you want more information about prostate surgery, or are interested in receiving peer support, visit my website at:

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dress for Success- What to wear for victorious living

Suffering can strengthen or weaken your faith. I believe when suffering comes your way, both Satan and God want to use your suffering for their own purposes.

Do you remember when a cartoon character would have an angel on one side of their shoulder and a devil on the other side. Each would present their case and it was up to the cartoon character to make the choice whose advice to follow.

I think of Jesus on the cross facing a literal experience of this. On one side you had Satan’s guy taunting Jesus when he said in Luke 23:39
"If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

Not only did Jesus face Satan’s attack they came from fellow Jews such as the chief priests, scribes and elders who said in Matt 27:41-42
 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.”

God had His man on the other side of Jesus. He responded to the thief mocking Jesus by saying this in Luke 23:40-43
Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."  Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."

Upon hearing this request Jesus said: "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

Both thieves had an opportunity to redeem their suffering. One moved toward Jesus, the other mocked Him.

How will you respond when it’s your season to suffer? Will you allow God or Satan to use your suffering. My advice for you facing this battle is to dress for success. The Bible tells us what dressing for success looks like in Eph 6:11-18

 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

With the armor of God you are assured in your season of suffering your faith will be strengthened. Remember, He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Close to three years ago I was dx with prostate cancer. I'm still adjusting to life without a prostate. I can say without hesitation, that I've grown closer to God through this crisis. My prayer is:  You too would grow closer to God in your season of suffering.