Do Not Disturb by Michael Matthews
Where Have I Been? Shopping for a Training Bra
January 19, 2017 -- I am sorry that I've been off these pages for the past 18 months. Let me tell you why.

The store is world famous, as are the models who seductively and flirtatiously sell women's underwear. I'd never been in one until a few months ago when I hesitantly wandered into a nearby outlet.

"Can I help you?" asked the smiling attendant.

"Yes," I said. "I'm looking to buy a training bra."

The woman's brow wrinkled just a bit. "For your granddaughter?"

"No," I replied. "For me."

I thought she was going to faint. Not many 77-year-old men go into a Victoria's Secret shop asking for training bras. Well, not many non-perverted men, anyway. But how I got to Victoria's Secret looking for my first training bra is all part of the tale.

About a year ago, I paid my annual visit to our wonderful general practitioner. He checked my file, suddenly sat up and put on his concerned-physician face.

"You haven't had the colonoscopy that I told you to get," he said in a scolding tone. "In fact, you've been dodging getting one for the past five years. No escaping this time. Come with me."

The next thing I knew I was being manhandled and led to another doctor's office down the hall.

"This is Michael," he said to the other doctor. "When can you fit him in?"

(For the sake of accuracy, I must report that there might have been a brief discussion about their golf game scheduled for that afternoon. Emphasis on the brief--and on giving me the medical bum's rush.)

The doctor he was addressing said he had a cancellation and could fit me in that Friday. My doctor confirmed, without asking me, that I was available.

Instructions then followed about the gallons of special laxatives I was to drink over the course of the next couple of days. No food allowed. I'm sure many of you know the drill.

The next thing I knew I was lying on a hospital bed in a semi-comatose state. And before you could say "Jack Robinson," I was up and out of there.

The only comment from my colon doctor was to congratulate me on how clean my colon was. I haven't been so pleased at this kind of news since I passed my driving test decades ago. After some discussion, however, I learned my cleanliness was due to the fact that he'd told me to consume double the normal dosage of pre-procedure potions. He'd ordered double, he explained, because he thought I wouldn't take all that was needed with the first dose and was prepared to send me back to try again.

But a clean colon is not a clean bill of health and, a few days later, I was back at my regular doctor. He proclaimed the dreaded words: I needed a biopsy of my prostate.

I had prostate cancer 15 years ago and, at that time, the prostate doctor suggested I have radioactive seeds inserted into the prostate gland to kill the cancer cells. "Be good for at least 15 years," he said.

Damn him. He was right. Almost 15 years to the day later, my specialist medical team was announcing: You have Stage 4 cancer and it has spread to your lymph nodes. Very serious. We can't do the seed thing again. We can't operate and if we don't do something quick you'll be a goner.

They didn't actually use those words, of course, but I got their meaning. And it was rather depressing considering I was only a few years removed from several other serious bouts with the Big C.

I do have the most wonderful oncologist, Dr. Cline. She has a wicked sense of humor. She told me the best way to treat my problem was to cut off any testosterone reaching my rotten prostate so the nasty cancer had nothing to feed on. My PSA (prostate-specific antigen) at the time was broaching 100, rather alarming since 25 is considered highly alarming. I told her to go ahead and cut off the manly flow.

It wasn't until then that she explained a rather annoying reality: The monthly injections to kill any testosterone getting to the prostate gland would have some unusual effects.

First, Dr. Cline explained, I would see the private and treasured area of my body quickly shrink. She was right. I now have two dried grapes and a significantly insignificant main appendage. To be honest, it was never a monument. Now I'm more like Michelangelo's David.

The other thing Dr. Cline predicted: I would be developing breasts. She was right there, too.

Which explains, dear reader, why I was in Victoria's Secret buying a training bra. By the way, I'm also asymmetrical: The left one is bigger than the right. That said, I haven't needed the bra ... yet. But like the boy scouts, I'm prepared.

I trust you were all having a good time this past 18 months while I've been bra shopping. As you read this, I'm on a cruise. When I return, I'll regale you with tales of my first shopping trip for earrings.

This column is Copyright 2017 by
Michael Matthews. is Copyright 2017 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved. All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Michael Matthews. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.