Using myself as prima facie evidence, I can state with certainty that men are medical wimps. This should come as no surprise to any man who has known any woman for longer than 10 minutes.
“The problem with men is that they live their lives in fits and starts, always jarred by events,” Ma Joad said in The Grapes of Wrath.” Woman, it’s all one flow, like a stream…”
Women are subjected to all kinds of prodding and prying seemingly every six months. Men have only one mid-life procedure that compares, so naturally I’m going to tell you about a prostrate biopsy. (Note the words “prostrate” and “prostate” will be used interchangeably, just as manly men unwittingly use them. “Prostrate” means lying down. “Prostate” is the happy gland in question. It’s about the size of a walnut until Miracle-Gro renders it the size of a honeydew at mid-life).
With a history of prostrate cancer in my family, it was strongly recommended that my body undergo various prostate humiliations 20 years ago. The first is a blood test that measures bad juju prostate fluid. It is 25 percent accurate. It is called a PSA test as its purpose is a Public Service Announcement telling you worse is to come.
Next up is a digital exam. It is 30 percent accurate. Your urologist –and don’t you try this at home – should find the prostrate spongy. If it feels like a calcified fish head, and your PSA number is high, there’s a good chance they’ll want to do a prostate biopsy.
I trust you’ve gathered by now that the prostrate is highly inaccessible. The tools used for the biopsy will cut through all of this. First up are a crowbar and a flashlight. A 4-foot-long needle will give your prostate a local after punching a tiny hole through your intestine. Last up is what looks like a teensy egg beater with whirling razor blades. This will take up to 12 eyelash-sized pieces of your prostrate. Analyzing them is about 95 percent accurate.
My friend Rodney, who’s had this procedure, corrected me in that his needle was only 3-feet long.
When my urologist deemed it made sense to get a second biopsy four years ago I demurred with all possible haste. As many men die from prostrate cancer as women die from breast cancer, but the numbers for women are considerably younger. Prostate cancer is slow-spreading. Still, don’t let this essay dissuade you from getting regular check-ups at a younger age. Do it. Don’t mistake my humor for doctoral advice.
Finally, I was given the option of an MRI at Catholic Medical Center. I got lucky. It saved my life. Martians saved my life. I tried to make sense of the endless whooping and whoofing high-pitched noises emanating from the MRI machine, and could only come up with the heat ray and anti-matter neutralizer employed by the Martians in 1953’s film “War of the Worlds.”
I now know that the atonal pings and pongs were put in place by minds more superior and sinister than ours. My prostrate checked out fine but the MRI revealed three troubling aneurysms in my abdomen. I had surgery within the week.
All credit is due Manchester’s Dr. Omam and what I’ve dubbed the (You’re So) Vein and Vascular Clinic. Thank you.
Now, not everyone can hold out for the Martian MRI machine. but never trust a six-fingered Martian with long fingernails wearing rubber gloves.