"Shit Buffs Out. I Promise!"
Last week was a rough one for me. I was a human pin cushion for a few days in San Francisco while I got updates on my prostate cancer.
Down in Baja, I live "la vida buena," and I don't sweat much about the state of my cancer, partly because I had surgery that eradicated half of my prostate 15 months ago. My urologist says I am low-risk because of the results of my genome study. There's just a 1% likelihood that the cancer will metastasize within the next five years.
Well, I just learned I'm in that 1% which came as a shock to both my urologist and me. Without belaboring the details, I was immediately put on hormone therapy and will start six weeks of radiation later this spring. My doctor said, "You're remarkably calm, given this news." I chuckled and told him, "I've been preparing for this moment my whole life, especially given the practices we teach at MEA."
Truth be told, it's scary at bedtime and my nightmares the past few days have been gruesome. I think of my good friend Ingrid Summerfield (and former President of my hotel company) who, after an initial breast cancer diagnosis, thought she'd gotten to the other side only to find out a few years later it had spread and there was very little that modern medicine could do. She passed away at 64 last June, and I wrote about the experience here. My hospitality mentor Bill Kimpton passed away 22 years ago at 65. These hotelier wake-up calls help me to see that every moment is precious.
I’m reminded of a blog post I wrote in 2021 entitled "I’m Just So Tired of My Body Failing Me," in which I lamented the fact that I was failing my body based upon not being as thoughtful about my diet and lifestyle in the past couple of years of my cancer journey. That and the fact that hormone therapy creates many menopausal side effects means I’m a bit on edge. Ladies, I’m empathetic to your hot flashes, sleep challenges, upset stomach, mood changes, and lots more. Imagine all those effects sneaking up on you and happening in full crescendo overnight! If only more men had to go through this, the medical profession and society would treat menopause more thoughtfully!
As I walked to the grocery store on Saturday, about to fly back to Baja, I came upon this small act of graffiti and therapy written on a wall that felt perfectly timed for me. I now fancy myself a "shit buffer," as this prepares me to be a “bit tougher” in my fight with cancer.
Lots of love to all of you…