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A Real Holiday

Those glossy dazzling travel brochures
never do it for me. They always drumbeat
exotic cruises, faraway islands, big cities.
Mountains of cheap travel destinations.
a trip to be remembered for your lifetime.

Not quite what I want. So here I sit staring
at my baffled travel agent and demanding
a booklet on PSA escapes. A real holiday!
No requisition forms and no blood samples.
No doctor appointments. No PSA numbers.

And how long would you like to get away?
Easy, I shout, a few months, maybe a year.
My travel agent looks me straight in the eye.
Why that’s bloody irresponsible! Think of it.
You could do serious damage to your health!

As our tantrums fade, she agrees to help me.
Give me your medical emergency numbers.
We need to plan. Sure, I say, here they are.
She vanishes and returns with her cellphone.
It’s your doctor and he wants to talk to you.

Member Meeting, 18 July 2013

Informal gathering to get to know each other, talk about our experiences.


The Walnut - July and August, 2013

Summertime and the living is easy...

Please note that this issue is for both July and August.

The Walnut’s editorial stiffs, er, staff are bound by union rules not to do anything constructive for two months. Mind you, some would say this is a consistent theme.

Have a wonderful and restful summer. See you in September! (Wasn’t that a song, too?)

Catching Cancer

Remember when it was your new life?
Faint bell you thought you were hearing.
Then raised, then rung, to great gonging.
Your mortality clanging across blue sky.

Remember the drama of its initial tolling.
The shiver it sent down your existence.
new itineraries optimistically composed.
High mountains you were going to climb.

How nostalgia always polishes everything
we assemble at the beginning of a journey.
Bright coins of hope, sunny clouds of cure
cheerful doctor talking up a fine tomorrow.

Well, your new life has turned old hat now.
a destination there for you each morning.
Beyond bells and as persistent as sunrise
it’s a stray dog, tugging until you walk it.


The Walnut - June, 2013

We interrupt regular programming for this special announcement.

Let’s eat! See page 3’s Next Monthly Meeting for details on the upcoming Burger BBQ.

Operators are standing by to take your order…

A Reluctant Admission

I once had a doctor explain to me
that he often thought
prostate support groups
distorted the image of progress
in successfully curing the disease.
You see, he said, those groups
tend to attract the guys still at war
with prostate cancer, soldiers
lingering at the battle front when
most of the army has been discharged.
Sure, he said, for some the fight never
ends, but put those guys in a room
you might think there’s a whole lot of them
when in actual fact (docs love actual facts)
they’re a small percentage of the whole.
I’m writing this poem to reluctantly admit
the doc may be right, he may have a point
but don’t tell me it makes sense to we guys
still under the gun, still a big majority
in the little minority that traps our lives.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Gabriele Woerner, M.Ed., DESS

Gabriele Woerner returns for a hands-on workshop:

  • Who am I?
  • What are my challenges?
  • What are my tools?

Specialized in several academic disciplines, Gabriele holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Freiburg University in Germany (Albert-Ludwig-Universität, Freiburg i.Br.) and a degree in Adult Education (DESS) at the University du Québec.


The Walnut - May, 2013

On May 3, Ludwick Papaurelis lost his long and brave fight with prostate cancer.

We dedicate this issue of The Walnut to a man who gave so much to the PCCN Ottawa community.

PCCN Ottawa Member and Warrior Gerald “Jake” Freill passed away on May 1. We extend our condolences to his family.


These days you’ve turned your life
over to PSA numbers. Undetectable?
Or, if detectable, is it rising, falling
remaining relatively the same? And
whatever direction it is tilting toward
what does that subtle shifting mean?

It’s a matter of reading hieroglyphics
by candlelight in some shadowy cave.
Your life dedicated to the deciphering
of that writing on the wall. And just
where do you stand, where do you live
in the middle of that maze of numbers?

Easy. You are Mr. In-Between, afloat
upon the three, six or twelve months
between numbers. Days when you drift
fool yourself that nothing is changing.
Days when you breathe, laugh, curse.
Days when you’re almost yourself again.

Bladder Battle

This one is for the pack of radiation guys
ordinary joes jolted into fancy juggling acts
told by technicians to show up every day
with a full bladder and an empty rectum
for their treatment on that cold metal table
a balancing feat filled with the frustration
of empty at the back and full at the front
sometimes even a contradiction of intent
two things that don’t always go together
and there’s you on the way to the hospital
trying to time the whole operation, to hold
the home front that puts pressure on you
bladder battle you hope you can win until
the radiation blast is done and they tell you
you can go and go you do, your mad dash
to the bathroom, rushing stream of relief
a flush and the regular world yours again.


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