So in my other life, the one where people know what I look like (and I have to wear clothes and brush my hair and stuff). I see men with prostate cancer in a clinic. I talk with them for awhile, enroll them in a research study, wait until they are done talking to the surgeon, and then talk with them a little more.
It's mostly really upsetting, because they have cancer. Cancer sucks. I know it's supposed to make you see your priorities right, appreciate the squirrels on your windowsill, seize the day and all that. And for some people I think that does happen. These are the ones who say "cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me." But in years of working with people with cancer, I can tell you that it sure doesn't always. It tears families apart. It sends husbands who can't handle a sick wife with no hair into the arms of another woman. It causes depression, pain, and poverty, and the treatment can be worse than the disease. And it all might be for nothing if the treatments don't work.
But recently? There was this gentleman. He really was a gentleman, too. And yall, these guys have to make hard decisions, about prostate cancer. To get major surgery that you might not even need that causes terrible side effects (impotence? incontinence?), radiation that could ruin your chances for surgery, to do nothing at all and hope you die from something else. It's a hard time all around. So there he was, and his two grown-up sons were there with him to talk with the doctors and help support his decision. He was kind, generous, and open, and his sons were too. One had flown across the country for this appointment.
I don't remember what we talked about, and I haven't seen him since. What I remember is that he was so so SO proud and happy that his sons were with him that I don't think his head could fit through the door. I seriously wondered in that moment whether he even cared he had cancer at all, basking as he was in the support of his sons. It was so sweet that I wanted to cry.
And you know, I get it. I have a son. And should he grow up healthy and whole, to love others, to be kind, that alone would be like winning the mama lottery. And should he choose to be with me through a dark night of the soul that cancer surely brings, I really think life would have all been worth it. This is not to say that we should raise children to take care of us, or that they owe us anything. In fact, seeing these men give so freely to their dad is what made it all the sweeter to see, for me as an observer and for sure for the dad.
I don't know how my chances are to cash in on some of that bubba love if I pull shenanigans like posting a picture of his first baby hawk on the internet....but can't. Resist. Must. Hit. Publish. Now.