Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Battling the Big CA--An Amazing Short Fiction Story by Steve J. Stroble

Aretha Franklin sang about how her man made her feel natural. Next, Frank Sinatra intoned about going from the bottom of the heap to the top, from beggar to king. The chorus echoed “that’s life…” over and over. 

Hearing about life made me reflect on mine, especially when the third song began, one by those lords of the dark side, The Doors, a quartet more at home with death than life. Instead of one of their chart topping singles, such as Light My Fire, Love Me Two Times, or L.A.Woman, hits from when songs were sold as 45 rpm vinyl disks, a B-side and lesser heard song pulsed from the speakers into my ears. The Crystal Ship, a fantasy tale condensed into three minutes, promised thrills and girls by the thousands as I sat alone in the treatment room. 

As if cued by the music, my dermatologist appeared and donned a pair of goggles that magnified his eyesight and gave him the appearance of an X-man as he scanned my body. “We need to cut those out today. Is that okay?” 
Huh? You tell me, Doc, I thought. I mumbled my consent with the kind of who cares attitude that Jim Morrison of the Doors and Frank Sinatra had anointed me with during the last two songs. “Sure, why not?” 
So the evil looking skin was cut out and sent to a lab in a larger city, and from there forwarded to a lab in San Francisco for further analysis. At the next appointment my dermatologist said, “Pre-melanoma,” before taking out surrounding tissue from one of the three still healing areas. Because melanoma had killed my wife’s uncle, the doctor said all my children needed their skin to be examined by “a dermatologist, not a general practitioner.” They did and are fine.

Battling the Big CA

By Steve J. Stroble

Although written as fiction, I can't help but feel the author has had some type of personal experience with one of the most feared diseases. I just had one test to determine one place was clear, while another location on my body has to be rechecked in six months. Cancer--even the author gave it another, easier name--CA--as his title. Since there is cancer on my father's side of my family, I wanted to read this short story...
“He has CA.” She whispers the abbreviation, as if saying cancer aloud will aggravate the curse inflicted on his body and make him die sooner.
I was, however, totally, thankfully, gratified with this easy-to-read inspiring book. If someone you know has concerns about cancer, like I have, then I highly recommend this for your consideration.

"It was a lack of faith on their part,”
 some say. “Maybe they had some

 secret sin that they refused to repent of,”

 a few say.

But most say, 
“It was their time to go and be
 with the Lord forever.
His wife had seen the spots on his back and told him to get them checked out... Soon he was sitting in the office waiting to see the dermatologist, who indicated he thought he should send the spots off for testing...

They were pre-melanoma...

As if to reinforce the danger, he soon heard of several people in his community who also were diagnosed...both had died.

Then he started remembering other cases, some of which initially claimed that God had healed them...only to later die...

When something happens medically, no matter what it is, each of us becomes more conscientious about our health, how we are treating our body... And he did do that...by the way, the male lead in the story is never named....

Returning to his dermatologist, he didn't proceed as usual...He told him he was going to send him to a surgeon..."to see what was inside..."
In the car on the way home I punch buttons to bring the radio to life. The English band Yes sings about an Owner of a Lonely Heart and berating that sufferer for never thinking of the future. I don’t like thinking of possible futures, such as ending up like my two neighbors who battled cancer for the full fifteen rounds before losing on TKOs, technical knockouts that left behind widows, children, and grandchildren. 
I change the station. On the next station, Stephen Stills is singing about leaving his troubles behind by sailing to the South Pacific, where he finds the Southern Cross, a formation of stars blinking in the nighttime skies. For him, it’s a matter of the truth one is trying to escape being small in comparison to a future day. Two for two, at least when comparing the two songs to the way life is unfolding.

Is the glass half empty or half full? At least the doctor thought the lymph nodes in my groin were okay after he examined them. Inches from the cancer, they are quite vulnerable, according to the little I know...

Bringing up prayer moves the discussion into a spiritual realm, a battleground for most couples, including us. Not only am I from Pluto and she from Mercury, but I was raised Catholic and she Baptist.
She likes Jews for Jesus. The Messianic Jews who spoke to my spirit were the pair of musicians who as songwriter and producer released albums as a group named Lamb...

Sometime during childhood, I decided that listening to the song, reading the book, or watching the movie or TV show exempted me from any of the drama, good or bad, that life might bring my way. But while the physically injected radioactive dye had a half-life of six hours, those stories tended to attach themselves to my mind, will, and emotions, sometimes for decades, maybe even for a lifetime.

I must admit that adding the music that was used in the story added greatly to my response. I thought it was a good book, but listening to the words of the songs he'd included made it...

It was only later in the book that I realized that the story would end in discussions on faith and healing...and the ending, though not expected, was...just perfect, in my opinion...

Here's my own personal song, His Eye is On The Sparrow,  I want to add as the closing if I may...I've sung it many times, but I don't think I've ever felt the truth of the words so clearly than after reading this book. Thank you Steve Stroble...


Steve Stroble grew up as a military brat, which took him from South Dakota to South Carolina to Germany to Ohio to Southern California to Alabama to the Philippines to Northern California. Drafted into the Army, he returned to Germany. 
He has been writing for publication since 1971 and after numerous tries at traditional publishing finally found a home by self publishing.

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