Barry Lynn
Intersection of Science and Policy

Not So Stormy Weather

A Cake for a Celebratory Meal (Barry Lynn)

Sometimes our own personal feelings and dilemmas mimic the weather. We go from highs to lows, from tranquil times to stormy times.

In fact, our weather this week will continue to be quite tranquil — until it isn’t. A storm passing by to our north will drag a cold front through our area on Friday evening. The front should be most noticeable for the chill, rather than the rain. The chill will last into Tuesday morning, and bring with it some light showers, if not steadier light rain over northern areas.

The good news is that the weather looks to become quite pleasant thereafter, with more seasonable temperatures.

My own “weather journey” started last December. Basically, our health plan is careful to periodically check the health of its clients — and the older you get the more involved the checks become. Sometimes, I feel like I’m living my life in pieces, between the previous and next check up.

This year, my urologist recommended an MRI and biopsy (of the Prostate). Since the recommendation was made in December, the MRI was done in January, and the Biopsy in early April, I had plenty of time to dwell on or to ignore the situation — since no answer would be forthcoming until early May.

However, as time went on, I started imagining myself as a super large Quantum particle, albeit much larger than an eyelash. After all, I didn’t know the results, so perhaps I was — like the Quantum particle —  in a superposition of being free of Prostate cancer or not (free).

In other words, 1/8 men will develop prostate cancer over their lifetimes. Was I already one of those men? Not exactly, since I either had it or did not have it, regardless of the probability of the population at large. Such are the vagaries of probabilities — they apply to populations as a whole, but never really to individuals.

The “not knowing” was stressful and became even more stressful as the time approached for the test results. I found myself learning about treatment and survival rates. Why? So, I would be “ready” (or at least not overwhelmed) if the test results turned out positive. I even spoke to acquaintances about their experiences, and it was noted that a newer treatment is available that vastly reduces treatment times and side effects. This was reassuring, but treatment for cancer is still treatment for cancer, and as much as I tried not to, I became overwhelmed with foreboding.

Today, I met my urologist. As I walked I felt both great anxiety and yet a bit of hope.  Time seemed to speed up instead of slowing down. I sat down and he immediately suggested in Hebrew that I should take the day and”Levalot” (לבלות ). Not being very proficient at Hebrew (still after all these years), I heard that I should Levivot (לביבות תפוחי אדמה), which is the Hebrew word for potato pancakes (or Latkes). He was kind enough to explain to me what he meant, suggested I call my wife, and then take some time and effort to enjoy the day. I suppose that one can Levalot by eating Livivot.

I exercise consistently and try to eat balanced meals. Yet, as time goes on there are more grey hairs and other ailments that crop up. True, proper exercise has made a big difference in my physical stamina, but the mirror doesn’t lie.

As one gets older, one realizes that there will be further challenges, to over overcome and all will be overcome but the last. Between those challenges, days should be cherished for all the good they can bring, perhaps as if one has received a bit or even a lot of good news.

About the Author
Dr. Barry Lynn has a PhD in Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences. He has an undergraduate degree in Biology. He is a researcher/lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is the CTO of Weather It Is, LTD, a weather forecasting and consulting company.
Related Topics
Related Posts