WHAT I HAVE AND WHAT I DON’T

I have prostate cancer. I also have much to be thankful for. My urologist caught it early. The cancer is confined to my prostate. It’s completely curable.

I have an attentive primary-care physician and an attentive urologist. My primary, at my annual physicals, evaluated a steady rise in my PSA (prostate-specific antigen) scores. A few years ago, he referred me to my urologist. Two biopsies proved negative, but my PSA kept rising. My urologist suggested a new blood screening—the 4K test. It led to an MRI, which revealed several small growths. A guided biopsy proved positive. Radiation and hormone therapy will kill the cancer and prevent new malignancies from developing.

What I don’t have is an attitude of “Why me?” Most men develop prostate cancer if they live long enough. Most die with it, not of it. Many who do die of prostate cancer may not have had regular checkups. Their undetected cancer spread to their bones and/or organs.

What I don’t have, as well, is a loss of spirit. I’d probably feel differently if I’d been diagnosed with brain cancer, pancreatic cancer or leukemia. I’ve had family and friends who died from all the above at an early age. They suffered. I have no symptoms.

What I also don’t have is a sense of lost invincibility. Both my urologist and radiation oncologist mentioned that even with a prognosis of full recovery, many men with prostate cancer are rocked on their heels. They discover their own mortality. I’ve never thought I wouldn’t die. My grandparents died. My parents and all but one of their generation died. A cousin died of leukemia at 12. A friend was killed when the Medevac helicopter he piloted in Vietnam was shot down. A client died at 27 many years ago in a car crash on the Golden Gate Bridge. There were others.

The biblical story of Adam and Eve reminds us that death is inevitable. Denied the fruit of the Tree of Life, no one enjoys immortality. The story of their sons Cain and Abel alerts us that death may come before its time—and at our own hands.

Unfortunately, here’s something else I don’t have: faith in our government as presently constituted to help millions of Americans obtain and/or maintain the healthcare they need—the healthcare I fortunately have. Further, I don’t have faith in a president who only discovered in his first weeks in office that the issue of healthcare is complex.

Added to that, I don’t have faith in many members of Congress, who approach healthcare in purely ideological terms, eschewing compassion and compromise in the name of politics. For that matter, I don’t have faith in pharmaceutical companies who develop life-saving drugs but make it difficult or impossible for many Americans to afford them.

I won’t be updating you on my medical story, such as it is. I’ll be fine. The story that is on my mind is a new novel that will take three or four years to complete. I’ll have the time. I wish I could say the same for potentially millions of Americans whose health and very lives may be forfeit because Washington would prevent them from obtaining the healthcare coverage and medical assistance they need and deserve.

I also have a desire to be read. Check out the first two chapters of my new novel The Odd Plight of Adonis Licht on this website. I’ll host a celebration on Sunday, April 30, selling and autographing softcover books. Can’t be there? Go to Amazon for a copy in softcover or digital format.

If you enjoy these posts, suggest to family and friends that they check out davidperlstein.com. Post something on Facebook, too.

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7 Comments


  1. Carolyn Power
    Apr 07, 2017

    Your positive attitude is one of your many personal strengths and one that will aid in your recovery immensely. Although it may be a revelation to those who don’t know you, It’s no surprise to family members who do know you and love you for your generous and compassionate heart and. Your ability to “be there” for everyone is amazing. Now it’s our turn to take care of you. Let’s start by everyone reading your books! They are very, very good books. I know because I’ve read all of them.


  2. Maxine Bennett
    Apr 08, 2017

    David- Your positive attitude is a great personal strength that is truly inspiring, and not to be taken for granted. I’m thinking that your Mom, Aunt Blanche, and my mom, Irene, somehow instilled their attributes of positivity into their children, with great results!
    I’m thinking about you and Carolyn a lot as you begin the treatments, and wishing you “refuah shlemah v”mehira”!
    Lots of love to you and the family!


    • David
      Apr 09, 2017

      Thanks, Max. Our mothers did inspire us with positivity—a great gift!


  3. Joan Sutton
    Apr 08, 2017

    Bravo David. You inspire us all with your philosophy and courage. I’m excited about your new book! Thanks for this great article.


    • David
      Apr 09, 2017

      Thanks, Joan. Your support means a lot! And I think you, particularly, will appreciate much about THE ODD PLIGHT OF ADONIS LICHT.


  4. Lisa Bennett
    Apr 08, 2017

    I love you David! You have an amazing attitude, and outlook on life.


    • David
      Apr 09, 2017

      Thanks, Lisa. I’ve received a lot of love and affection, and they will contribute to my putting prostate cancer behind me with a return to normal.

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