Warren Miller 

A hot flash to warm you

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It seemed a little chilly, but I didn’t know how cold it was until I leaned over to tee up my golf ball for my first game of 2003 and realized that the grass was frozen stiff. This was probably the reason that the clubhouse was closed and my car was the only one in the parking lot.

It was one of those perfect winter days when you could see a gazillion miles in either direction if you had the energy to climb to the top of a hill. This was going to be a test for me to see if I could walk nine holes of golf for the first time since completing my radiation treatments for prostate cancer.

One thing that accompanies the radiation is a series of Lupron shots that start six months before the radiation. These shots cost $3,987 each and they are intended to shrink the prostate, making it a smaller target for the radiation. The shots also reduce the production of testosterone, which feeds the cancer. The unpleasant side effect of the shots is that they cause frequent, but genuine female, menopausal, sweaty, hot flashes.

I had been cursing these frequent hot flashes since last April when they started, but for the first time on this cold January morning playing golf on a frozen course, I wondered why they where so infrequent. Sometimes they occur twice or more in an hour, but this morning my body refused to produce this much desired heat. I was sweating while I searched for the hooked or sliced golf balls I had splattered around the first few holes, but that didn’t quite warm me as much as a hot flash.

I usually take a bunch of cheap, used golf balls with me when I play alone and play two balls on each hole. I don’t keep score and have a grand old time as I concentrate on one thing at a time in the 11,837 things I still have to learn about how to swing a golf club.

The pond on the second fairway was frozen solid and I hit a flat gopher ball and watched it skid across the ice. I didn’t mind the cold then, because the ice saved me the thirty-five cents I paid for that used golf ball, which would have sunk like a rock if the pond hadn’t been frozen.

I gave up worrying about losing golf balls when I discovered the cheap recycled ones. Searching for golf balls is one of my big disagreements with some of my golfing buddies. These are retired business tycoons who will spend the maximum amount of time searching in the woods for an elusive ball, which they could replace a thousand times over without missing the money. Apparently they don’t want to wreck their handicap, which is probably illegal anyway. If I worked on my handicap, I would be 137 years old before I would be able to shoot my age.

It truly was a beautiful day. I watched a Bald Eagle circle in the sky while I was staggering up Poop-Out Hill toward the third green. The first two putting greens had been frozen solid and it was hard to figure out how fast to putt on them.

By time I got to the fourth hole, I saw a good friend walking up Poop-Out Hill, so I waited for him while resting under that freezing, clear winter sky. I was very surprised at how tired I had already become by the fourth hole until he and I started comparing our latest aches and pains, which were our reasons for playing lousy golf. I have found out that you sure can get terribly out of shape sitting around for three months.

I managed to finish that cold golf game without a hot flash in sight. I returned home tired and cold and ready for a nap.

After my daily nap, I had my first computer lesson. So far, I have only been able to do word processing and send e-mails. In my first lesson, I learned how to change addresses in my e-mail and then I learned how to connect to the Internet and was introduced to eBay. I immediately located a 16mm camera in South Africa that cost a whole lot more than what I paid for a similar camera in 1965.

Later at dinner when I told Laurie about my new-found computer knowledge and how I had discovered eBay, her comment was, "I don’t want you to start surfing the Web and looking up some of those porn sights."

I found this amusing since earlier that day I could barely walk nine holes of golf. I had to remind Laurie of my current affliction of hot flashes and lack of testosterone. I asked her, "With no testosterone and lots of hot flashes, do you think I’m even remotely interested in any X-rated Web sites?"

I think I’ll skip the porn sites and save my energy for skiing. With all of the hot flashes, I won’t even need boot warmers or hand warmers.

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