Pity the Poor Prostate

One year after mine spoke up, it’s time to pay tribute to prostates everywhere.

Love your prostate.

April is fast upon us. The 13th of the month will mark the one year anniversary of my diagnosis–365 days since my little gland volleyed a shot that was heard around my world and rocked it. During these 12 months–a measure of time that defies characterization in my mind–I have had a good amount of time to consider the life of a prostate. By my assessment, it’s not a glamorous one.

The male prostate plays a vital role in human sexuality, yet, unlike the female breast, no one is inclined to immortalize it in works of art. It stirs no sense of reverence or enticement. Certainly, no one is getting rich publishing photos of it on the web or in publications that tend to be hidden from sight. When folks do engage in discussion of internal body parts, we hear about livers, kidneys, gall bladders and an array of other fleshy parts, but rarely–if ever–about the prostate. In the rare cases it is talked about,  many insist on changing its name by adding an “r”  and calling it a “prostrate” instead of its proper name, prostate, which rhymes with late. No matter how ”prostrate (incapacitated) with grief” Miss Scarlett may have been in Gone with the Wind, it certainly wasn’t an ill prostate adding to her woes.

To add insult upon injury, consider its place in life…

Every prostate is destined to live in the industrial part of town. With a bladder hanging over its head and the rectal wall to its back–it is constantly being pushed around and bullied by our bodily tides without so much as an excuse me, coming through or a thank you. Oh, how it must shudder at the thought of beer and chili outings with the guys.

Its professional life isn’t much to brag about either. It is forced into the workforce early in life to produce copious amounts of seminal fluid, long before a young man can even comprehend, much less find, a meaningful relationship. Then, with the assistance of miracle drugs such as Cialis and Viagra, it is often forced to work well beyond what was once considered–by some obliging partners–a respectable retirement age.

It’s only when a series of biological events triggers a potential health problem that prostates get any respect. If they are lucky, they are treated with antibiotics for bacterial infection (prostatitis) and given a reprieve. As they age (like many of us) they can lose their youthful shape and grow in mass (benign prostatic hyperplasia). If they are unfortunate enough to be suspected of harboring renegade cells (prostate cancer), they are poked, prodded and bombarded by needles. This often leads to the spectre of being subjected to radiation, toxic chemical substances and powerful drugs. Often, they are separated from the only life they have ever known by a cold, razor-sharp scaple. REALLY… they’re just doing their job, not asking for much in return when their environment turns on them. It’s just not fair. What’s more, once they heal from their surgery, many men who are able, relieved and glad to resume their sex lives without the prostate’s standard contribution (depending on age, physical fitness and treatment), do so without giving much thought to a once loyal but now lost friend.

In short, prostates everywhere are misunderstood, underappreciated, overworked and forced to live in the shadows. If I could, I’d personally train them to belt out a good round of R-E-S-P-E-C-T, DON’T KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO ME” at full party volume… I believe it would certainly become the most preferred vocal uttered by male derrieres around the world.

Yes, one year after diagnosis and ten months following my surgery, I miss my prostate. I wish I never had to let the little guy go. But I did.  I remain grateful for its years of service and remain steadfast in my assumed role as Defender of Prostates. So, this April, I pay tribute to prostates everywhere and ask that their owners take a moment to familiarize themselves with this amazing little part of their anatomy. Appreciate it and learn how to care for it. Because, all too often, we don’t fully appreciate what we have until it’s gone.

POST SCRIPT: Soon after posting this entry, one fellow patient suggested this old Ral Donner song as an appropriate anthem for the lost prostates.

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13 Responses to “Pity the Poor Prostate”

  1. Stephanie Parsons Reply March 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    My husband got his biopsy result and was told he had Cancer on April 13, 2009. He had his prostate removed June 4, 2009. He is one year ahead of you and doing very good. Anyway, I miss his prostate. He is 43 years old now and I never thought things would be like this. I thought we would enjoy his prostate well into old age. Things aren’t bad just different. But I would rather have him for the next 40 years than have his bad prostate back.

  2. Outstanding blog. I feel the loss! We’ll light a candle in memory.

  3. Hi Dan,

    Love your sense of humor and love of life. Prayers continue to come your way.

    The Netherlands seem like a thousand years ago.

  4. One of your best posts. I read every one,and pass them on to others. They are all well written but this one resonates right down to the core. We had surgery about the same time. I sincerely emphasize with your treatment(s), and pray you will sustain. We need your voice! I’m doing OK, …but, as you…I’ve chosen a long(er) life over a gland. Jim

  5. “Ode to the Prostate”

    Glad to hear all is well…including your sense of humor. Best wishes, always.

  6. At last! A much needed paean to the much maligned prostate. This deserves to become a classic post.

    Through circumstances too lengthy to recount here, I still own my prostate (although my radiation oncologist, who loves doing DREs, informed me at my last visit that radiation has shrunk it to the size of a pea), so although it is now in a state of permanent slumber, I am grateful for its services so loyally rendered over the years.

    Thanks for singing the praises of the prostate with such enthusiasm!

  7. What an excellent post that I can relate to 100% “Been there. Done that.” My last results 2 weeks ago were 0.000 so everyone is happy that my prostate is gone !!!! lol
    I believe I am a touch ahead of you for the operation (Nov 25th, 2009)but we finished the radiation part days apart.(Nov 11th, 2010) Just grateful that we “Believe” and know that we are better for our journey and now off to bigger and better times.
    Take care and I LOVE your humor.

  8. You definitely topped yourself with this post Dan. A great sense of humor which gave me a chuckle. Especially since we can take the Prostate too serious when sitting in the doctor’s office receiving the diagnosis. As a wife, the Prostate definitely has taught me much I really did not know about the male anatomy whether I wanted to learn or not. Cursing the prostate, but thanking it for adding humility, more love for my husband and life, taking care of health better and a deeper faith in the power of God.
    I honor you and all men who have made this PC journey with courage, determination, and an example by which you show your families your fighting spirit, and not taking life for granted. So I recommend every April let’s have a Kick Prostate Day to stay informed and aware.

  9. Dan, you need to compile these articles and have them published! This one is classic.

    Ode to the Wounded Walnut
    “My prostate decided to grow -
    In ways it was not meant to, so -
    A robot attacked -
    My prostate got whacked -
    Now I think that my doc’s a hero!”

    Thanks again for your articles!

  10. Thanks for the laugh Dan!

  11. My husband was advised May 2010 that”active surveillance” would be a good option for him…first PSA after 3 months was elevated…then biopsy which determined surgery would be best…maybe we should have done that a year ago…don’t know why I’m babbling here…surgery is next Thursday – Cinco de mayo so I figure it’s acceptable to be in the waiting room guzzling tequila…so I guess I’m babbling because I’m scared and just praying that all goes well and he’s okay.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Gone Fishin’ | My New York Minute - April 13, 2011

    [...] For those of you who might have missed my tribute to prostates everywhere,  Pity the Poor Prostate, penned in observance of this day, you can catch it here. I hope it gives you a chuckle. Related [...]