Prostate Cancer

Friends of Grays and Fleets

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We’ve been probed, CT’d and MRI’d,

Have suprapubic midline tatoos,

And golden marker seeds inside

To show gamma ray binocular eyes

Where to send high energy rays

to the place where cancer lies

awaiting a deadly dose of Grays.


We arrive, our bladders full,

With a Fleet’s clean sigmoid;

Identified, pastic bracleted, we pull

Off our clothes and try to avoid

More exposure of bare buttox

To watchful target cathodes

waiting in cold whiteness.


We are cheered by nurse and technician

Who treat us like aged newborn babes

And carefully swaddle us in position.

They leave. The machine wakes, and stirs,

To mufflled beats of rap that plays;

It rotates, stops, starts, and whirs

To shoot off focused gamma rays,


Until the prescribed dose is spent;

Then deflates the swaddling wrap,

sighs, and stops, as if content,

and settles down to take a nap.

Our nurse helps us to our feet,

pulls off our wadded sheets,

Then sets it all in order again

For friends of Grays and Fleet’s

The Melba Notebooks Published

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The Melba Notebooks, (partially based on material in this blog,) has been published. Anyone who has been close to elderly parents or friends who are in their last years will find these scenes moving; anyone who is living that life experience now will find the Notebooks to be familiar territory, or perhaps, instructive.

Book Description
Publication Date: February 5, 2014

Bob and Melba marry at the dawn of the Great Depression. A mining engineer, Bob finds work outside the US and is later blacklisted by mining companies after supporting a gold miners’ strike in the Philippines. For several years thereafter he can only find work as an underground miner himself. Melba, Bob and their children make a life, often from scratch, in mining towns around the world, including Quebec, Ontario, the Philippines, Mexico, and the Western USA.

They grow old and frail. Having lived on their own terms, they want to die on their own terms too—at home, away from institutional protocols that tend to sanitize, trivialize, and prolong old age and death. They do so with the help of their children and caregivers. Their story was culled from five hand written spiral bound notebooks that make up a five-year conversation among caregivers about Elder care and terminal care told with clarity, sympathy, humor, and power. The print edition is available at Amazon, and CreateSpace. The is at Kindle Direct Publishing.