Back in the Stone Age, when I was a boy still in pursuit of a future long term contact with the Detroit Tigers, I played Little League baseball. I only played for a couple of years before realizing my skill level wasn't very high for even little league, let alone the major leagues. I was much more of an individual sports guy, like running and swimming, than I was a team sports guy, like baseball and basketball.
Steel donuts made you stronger
But, a few things from little league stuck with me years after I stopped playing baseball. One of those things was the concept of a weighted bat. When you were standing in the on-deck circle, waiting for your turn to bat, there were these things that you could put on your bat to make it heavier. They looked like steel donuts. You slid them over the handle of the bat onto the barrel, and then you would swing the bat as hard as you could with the steel donuts adding extra weight. When it was your time to bat, you slammed the knob on the ground, the steel donuts would slide off and you were ready to hit.
When you got in the batter's box and took a few practice swings, wow, did that bat feel light! It felt like a twig in your hands, and even if the pitcher was a hard thrower, you could easily get that bat up to speed and hit the ball hard. That was the idea of the steel donuts. It was to give you a feeling that you were invincible, a hitting machine ready for the fastest fastball. Steel donuts made you stronger.
Adversity as my metaphorical steel donuts
Over the past few years of my life, and especially since I've become a prostate cancer survivor, I've come to look at adversity in my life as metaphorical steel donuts. After my surgery, I tried to jog down my driveway to the mailbox, and I promptly peed my pants. But as time went by, I not only learned how to stay dry, but I also ran a 5k 4 months after my surgery. I tossed away the steel donuts of surgery.
Shortly after that, my PSA started rising, so I started a regimen of radiation treatments. I had 38 treatments over a course of 8 weeks. I would get out of work at 3, drive to the hospital, and get zapped. 38 straight weekdays of crazy. But, once again, I got through it. The first time I drove directly home without going to the hospital, it felt like I only worked half a day. The steel donuts of radiation treatments had slid off my life.
Nowadays, I'm dealing with the side effects of androgen deprivation therapy. Unlike surgery and radiation, I can't recover from this because the treatments are ongoing and probably will be for the rest of my life. The steel donuts of Lupron and Xtandi will be with me until they stop working.
"This too shall pass"
But, not every day is bad or horrible. Sure, there are days when the hot flashes and the mood swings can be oppressive, and life is hard. But there are also days when life is good, and for whatever reason, my mood clears. On those days, music sounds better, the sun is brighter, and life is sweeter. The bad days have become my steel donuts, which make me appreciate the good days even more. "This too shall pass," has become my credo. I will put up with the temporary bad to get to the good.
The adversity in our lives is like the steel donuts on the bat. When you overcome them, life feels lighter, and you can get back in the batter's box, and swing for the fences.
Thanks for reading.
Read Part II, Steel Donuts: Chemotherapy. The Ultimate Steel Donut.
Have you lost a loved one to prostate cancer? (select all that apply)