Besides being the Jewish winter holiday meant to obscure the fact that Christmas is way more fun, Hanukkah (Festival of Lights) is the story of a 2000 year old military victory, a holy temple’s re-dedication and an unexplainable miracle of sorts in the long-storied history of the Jews. Without resorting to actual facts (such as there being no collaborating evidence of any kind supporting the existence of such a miracle), it is a quasi-religious holiday reminding the faithful that “great and wondrous things can and do happen” (Nes Gadol Haya Sham) and that human resilience and steadfastness is deeply rooted in ones belief in God. In this case we’re referring to Yahweh, the monotheistic deity in the Old Testament that you REALLY dont want to mess with because he can get in a super gnarly bad mood and turn you into a pillar of salt or smote your ass faster than you can say Santa, schmaltz, or “pass the potato latkes please”. What does this have to do with my prostate gland ? Good question. One thing is for certain, as portrayed in the Coen Brothers movie, A Serious Man. Everything (at least theoretically) is uncertain (see below).
In general, it’s been a rough year for CaptCliff and family, one in which I pretty much decided to pull back from social media, friends, political pundits, etc. to introspect and wait for the End Times (Rapture) partly just to see which way my eternal soul was headed, ie. “Omg, Jesus Christ, hey hi……listen I SWEAR to you I always thought you were the real deal!! I’m really spiritually “Independent”, more like a Bu-Jew but I’ve seen Jesus Christ Superstar at least 5 times and…..” (sound of fire and hellish screaming of tortured souls and eternally Damned in the background) and partly because of various age related medical problems that keep reminding me that my physical body, much like my obscure writing, will soon enough be a mummified relic of a life lived, well, pretty quirkily. I dont regret this voluntary withdrawal because I always learn something new. For example, I found out that NOT watching the wholly distorted and dissonant cable news channels cleared up my reoccurring headaches and itchy athletes foot condition. That alone was worth it. However more serious maladies lurked in the periphery of my mind and body. No, I’m not going to let you see into my deranged head space and narcissistically inclined noggin. I’m saving that shit for the CaptCliff Limited Edition (LE) leather bound (self published) set of my pirate blogs. I’m talking about my prostate. If you don’t know what that is……just google it or ask Siri the annoying know-it-all bitch. The bottomline is that a lot of guys my age have “enlarged” prostates which means multiple pee breaks in the middle of the night and/or long laborious urinary failures-to-launch in crowded public restrooms, ie. “Hey buddy are you gonna piss already or are you going to just wait all day for a small fire to put out?” Still, the aforementioned is no more than mild to moderately annoying and once you do look it up online you can expect endless target advertising and robocalls from every single adult diaper manufacturer and catheter company on the planet… literally for the rest of your life. This much I know. What I didn’t know then was about my PSA score.
The PSA test is a well established screening blood test to determine prostate cancer risk. When that particular test result goes up over a certain level and stays elevated it’s time to raise the Defcon cancer warning color flag to orange or possibly even red. My PSA test this year was significantly elevated three times in a row. A very attractive female Urology specialist at Emory confirmed my enlarged prostate by digital exam and I thanked her for her soft touch and gentle demeanor. I was frankly expecting something more like Dr. Pol the TV veterinarian sticking his entire arm up a cow’s ass to remove some random bowel obstruction. Anyways, I was worried I had prostate cancer. I went from worrying about my sagging jowls, arthritis and degenerating cervical disk to thinking maybe I was gonna die or worse yet be forced to watch as this faux pirate’s once shiny saber lost it’s competitive edge. At worst, like Blackbeard’s flagship the Queen Ann’s Revenge, I imagined the last vestiges of my vitality and metaphoric manhood unceremoniously run aground and left to rot on a coastal sandbar.
Long story short….. recently, on the last day of Hanukkah I went back to my new Obamacare and Medicare super-nice older Russian Jewish lady internist to discuss treatment “strategies” including a number of advanced imaging and biopsy procedures. I was already scheduled for a special Prostate MRI scan in January 2019. She suggested another follow-up PSA blood test first just to see if any significant changes had occurred and in passing said, “Dont forget no sex or ejaculation for 48 hours before because it can artificially elevate the PSA score.” I did YE OLDE pirate double-take at the door on the way out (what I used to call “doorknob insights” in my clinical practice) and responded, “Wait, what? Nobody told me about that before. Does masturbation count as sex because besides making bamboo peace pipes in my pirate basement it’s my primary hobby in semi-retirement.” Dr T patiently looked up from my by-now-voluminous medical file and patient notes and said, “Yes it can significantly alter your test result. They should have told you that before.” Bottomline: after several false starts and a tremendous display of physical self-restraint on my part I managed to make it (barely) 48 hours without resorting to my mindful masturbation psuedo-zen practice and retook the PSA test. A couple days ago the results came back. It was normal. Russian lady doctor said I dont need the zillion dollar Futurama George Jetson prostate MRI or Medieval catheterization procedure involving someone fly fishing up my private parts. It’s a damn Happy New Year/Hanukkah Prostate miracle.
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who made miracles for our forefathers in those days at this time.
On the first night only, you’ll also say the Shehecheyanu blessing:
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, shehekheyanu, v’kiyamanu vehegianu lazman hazeh.
Blessed are You, O Lord Our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season Amen.
The Uncertainty Principle (from A Serious Man):