You might look at the words, “Prostate Wine,” and think: “I’m pretty sure I don’t want to drink that.” Completely understandable! But be assured, dear reader: this is not some far more gross version of Swamp Butt, or even anything remotely distasteful.
Actually, it’s a wonderful thing. A celebration. A bright, unexpected spark after a dark time. Let me tell you how this came to be:
Nearly three years ago, my husband, Mark, was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which I’ve written about here, and a lot on my men’s health website, vitaljake.com. Long story short, his dad died of it, and that started my career writing about prostate cancer, including several books with Johns Hopkins urologist Patrick Walsh. My dad had it, but Pat Walsh removed his prostate, cured his cancer, and he lived two more decades. Good years, too! Both Mark and I lost grandfathers to complications from prostate cancer treatment they probably didn’t even need. Needless to say, prostate cancer has been on my radar for 30 years, we were watching Mark like a hawk, and when his PSA went up, we got him an MRI, a biopsy, cancer was found, and we spent Christmas 2019 in a hotel in Baltimore near Johns Hopkins Hospital, where Mark had his prostate removed by an excellent Walsh-trained urologist, Mo Allaf. Mark is cancer-free today, thank God!
We charged the operation on our Costco card. If you have a Costco card, you know that every spring, you get a dividend, based on how much you spent the previous year.
Well, we spent quite a bit. We put the airfare to Baltimore on there, too, and the hotel where we stayed, and all our meals, including room service twice on Christmas day. And tips! A few months later, we got our Costco reward.
We bought wine with it. Almost all reds: Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah (as in, “Que, Syrah, Syrah”), Sangiovese. A couple Rosés.
Prostate wine, and a fine tradition was born!
We now do this every year. In fact, we made that annual wine-forward trip to Costco last weekend. Mark has an app called Vivino on his phone. You take a picture of the label on the bottle, and the app gives you reviews and those ratings numbers like 4.2 that mean something to schmancy wine people. He buys some really good bottles, and he also buys some bottles that are kind of middle-priced, which he lets age in our wine cellar (which is basically just some Ikea shelving down under the house, but he’s really proud of it). A few cheaper bottles, good for the ride home – kidding! They go in the wine cellar, too.
As we push that flatbed – kidding again, it’s a cart! a big, wine-laden Costco cart – if anybody asks us if we’re having a party, or shows any interest at all, or maybe even looks in our direction, we tell them our story. It’s prostate wine! We’re just so glad that we are here to drink it together. Thank you, God!
When my mom died, as I’ve written about here, my dad and I were making that bleak trip to the funeral home to pick out a casket, arrange the visitation, and all that horrible stuff nobody ever wants to do. I happened to look up, and right there in the sky, over our car, was a micro-rainbow with a lot of green in it. It looked a lot like the green in my mom’s eyes. We took it as a gift – a literal spot of beauty and joy on an otherwise dismal day.
Recently, Mark and I joined Prescott Christian Church and were re-baptized – not just a genteel bit of water, either, but the full-on dunk. I was lowered in the water, facing up and my eyes were shut, but I saw the sky above me. A blue sky, with white clouds. This was inside a large auditorium with no windows, and certainly no skylight. But I saw it. What a gift!
That’s what prostate wine is. It’s bright moments of joy, little gifts you didn’t expect at all. You’ve seen the motivational posters, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I guess you could say, if life gives you a bad prostate… no, wait, I don’t think that will work for a greeting card. Never mind! You know what I’m trying to say here! Go, find your own prostate wine! It’s out there, closer than you think.
© Janet Farrar Worthington