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This message may save your life.

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Brian Wolfe


Option A or Option B
What you are about to read you may find disturbing or even offensive. If you do then you need to grow up. The permanency of life is an illusion and you cannot afford to delude yourself to thinking you are immortal. Therefore, if you have elected to read on, you have been duly warned and I will make no apologies if you find your delicate feelings have been hurt.

Jim [not his real name] was 6 foot 2 inches tall, a big guy but not such as you would say was overweight at all. Age had left him, as it does most of us, a little soft in the midsection. This was just about all that was soft about Jim. He had the weathered look of someone who had worked hard out in the elements; a grizzled beard peppered with gray and a gruff personality pretty well summed up what Jim looked like. To most of the office staff he was a scary fellow best avoided and this had not changed since he became Zone Officer and was now stationed in head office. Others, like me, who have been seasoned by years of working in the field recognized a kindred spirit and fully appreciated his dark sense of humour.

Jim had been with the Authority for 31 years and had become part of the corporate landscape. Late in 2011, after feeling unwell for a period of time, he made a rare appointment with his doctor. At 59 years of age he was told, after a battery of tests that he had prostate cancer, and worse it had spread to his bones and was now throughout his body.
Jim knew his chances were extremely slim to none, with “none” being the odds on favour. He also knew what lay ahead of him with the proposed radiation and chemotherapy followed by what would most likely be a long agonizing death filled with unimaginable pain and suffering, held at bay for a while with massive amounts of drugs. In the end he knew he would be in a vegetative state out of touched with the world and loved ones only to finally die in a haze of confusion and pain. He was aware that his family and friends would be put through their own form of suffering as he slowly wasted away. It was time for Jim to weight his options. Option A: To go through the torture and suffering ahead knowing full well that death awaited him in the end, or Option B.
Early this week Jim made his choice and took his own life.

I cannot judge Jim’s choice of Option B, even though I have fought and won two battles against cancer, as I have never stood at the threshold of the great unknown and had to make that fateful decision. I only wish he had chosen to have had a simple prostate examination a few years ago. If he had I would not likely be writing this missive today.

Rest in Peace old buddy.

Now, my friend, it is your time to make a decision. If you have not already done so, make an appointment with your doctor and set up a prostate exam. Otherwise you may have to make the choice of, Option A or....Option B.

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Prevention is the most important. We have to make all examens at the age of 45 yo. It is better to begin earlier and find nothing than find cancer too late. It is my job of everyday but like people says all the time : 'till I have nothing I will not make medical exam". I heard this all the time.
Sorry for your loss

We pray for him


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I would like to add my condolences for your sad loss. I can echo what everyone has said about not going to the Doctor; here I speak from experience.

Just over five years ago I had been working for a short while in Egypt. I was fine while I was there (both my colleagues had not been quite so lucky) but on returning home I had a bit of jippy tummy - probably just re-adjusting to different water supply or whatever. Frequent trips to the heads (bathroom) for a few days but nothing too serious. However I noticed I was passing some fresh blood and having previously had a minor problem with piles I was tempted to ignore it. Fortunately I didn't and went to see my doctor. She thought it wasn't piles and referred me to the hospital for a colonoscopy. They found a small poluyp and took a sample. Initial tests showed it was benign but they repeated the colonoscopy and removed as much as they could. Repeat tests showed it wasn't benign and as a result I was told I had bowel cancer (on the day I had just been to the funeral of a friend who had died of bowel cancer - he had left it too late to get treatment). I had to have a bowel resection and the histology showed it was just started to invade the lymph system; six months of chemotheraphy followed. However five years later I'm still here and with regular tests each year, hopefully clear of the big C. I had asked the surgeon at one point if my earlier piles had actually been this same problem. His reply was quite clear - no you would have been dead by now!

Hopefully me sharing this experience with you (the worst year of my life) will help others make the right decision. Look after yourselves and don't ignore any changes, however trivial, go to the doctor.

Sorry again Brian for your loss.

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All we can do is delay the end somewhat, especially with cancer, if it is discovered soon enough. I have lost several dear friends to cancer. Cancer does not discriminate; it attacks all groups, races, ages, religions, etc.
My friend Robert was taken by colon cancer at 55. On his death bed he made all of his friends promise to get a full blown check up for cancer. All 8 of us kept that promise. We were poked and probed and and had a camera up the ass. Three of the group discovered polups in the early stages of cancer and had them removed, another discovered issues with the prostrate, but he caught it in time. Robert in passing saved 4 of us by catching the cancer in the earliest stages.
I need to add one important factor, none of the four had any problems, warning signs, or other health issues whatsoever. I'm so glad we kept our word. We just kept a promise and had a full and complete physical examination with blood work and the cancer was discovered before it was too late. I'm glad to know I'm clear of cancer now, but I'll do the check up again in 7 years.

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I am sorry Brian. Well said. I recently lost a grad. school friend and colleague to Multiple Myeloma. He was my age (like your friend), an accomplished herpetologist (reptile expert) with a Ph.D. Has me thinking I need to get things in order, and get some checkups.

RIP, Dr. Andy H. Price.

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Thanks for the reminder--it's time for another appointment with the urologist. The comments remind me of my friend Lasse who was out moose hunting one day many years ago, and had to take a dump. He saw blood in the pile, and went straightway to the local health center (as most of us would do here in Finland). They told him to take it easy and come back in so many weeks.

Lasse isn't that kind of a guy. He threatened them with everything at his disposal and stated that he wasn't leaving until they had examined his colon. The cancer was thus caught and treated on time, and Lasse is still with us. A multi-week postponement might well have been too much.

Don't take no for an answer if you're dealing with socialised medicine. Or, rather, go private.

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Many thanks for posting this, Brian.

Just called the VA and made an appointment. When I told the nurse it was in regards to bleeding from a place where I ought not be bleeding (three days ago- I'm really on the ball with this health business), she ordered me to report tomorrow morning at 0800 sharp.

Wish me luck!

Oh-- one good thing- 34 days smoke-free!

Best wishes,
~ Mike

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As a 7 year survivor of stage 4 colon cancer,I know what he is talking about.You have to put your life in the hands of good doctors and God (if you are a prayerful person) don't lose hope and have a good support system at home.I had surgery and nine months of chemo.Now I have been cancer free for 6 years and I have never felt better.My advise is if you don't feel right or if you have a family history get a cancer screening every year.Cheers.

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