I’m Back….Sorta (with Colonel Smoothbore)
By angelamontana

Posted: November 10, 2019

My weekly missives have been missing from Montanaoutdoor.com for a little while so I think a bit of an explanation is in order. Before I start with the details, I want all to know that I’m not looking for sympathy or any type of kudos. I would simply like to relay some of my life’s recent experiences; if you are not interested, that’s okay, and there are lots of other great stories on this website.

As we age we all undergo changes in our lives. Thankfully and hopefully most of the changes are for the better. But with age comes some deterioration in our health. This has happened to me. I have acquired, not voluntarily, some old man ailments. I’m not going to bother you with all the intricate details, but I’m going to offer a bit of insight into my absence. Here goes.

I’m in my late 60s and I’m told that for the most part in pretty good shape for my age. But early this year a routine diagnostic test offered a concerning result. In addition, I was have more problems with an old back injury, and what I thought was arthritis in my hands. Well, it turns out I have rheumatoid arthritis. Also, X-rays showed the need for reconstructive surgery on my right hand. Finally, a C/T scan indicated a problem disc in my lower back looked much like an empty balloon. All in all, medical issues that I needed to address.

A prescription NSAID had alleviated much of the stiffness and pain caused by the RA and it has really helped with my back problems. While I’m not cured, most of the time I feel like I’m 55 again, that is if I don’t bend over. In addition, in late August I underwent the surgery to repair my right hand. I had a similar surgery five years ago on my left hand and the results have been great. This time, improvements in technique and procedure have shortened the rehab time. In fact, my rehab is 3 months ahead of where I was the last time. The brace I’ve worn for the last six weeks has been reassigned to the dust bin and I’ve been cleared to shoot long guns; no handguns yet.

Finally, after a biopsy confirmation, I have prostate cancer. Fortunately, it is of a type that is not very aggressive and at this time treatment consists of frequent tests and periodic biopsies. 

While I’ve missed most of this hunting season, especially the early upland bird opener, I was able to finally get into the field earlier this month. I took one of my shotguns and our two Springers on a short hunt. We didn’t flush any birds, but the lads and I had a great time. Hunting with these two is really a treat, their fun is contagious and I remembered just how special Montana’s outdoors are.

While we count our age in years, life is really an accumulation of experiences and each experience offers opportunity. We can relish the good experience and savor them with sweet memories. We can learn from the bad experiences, and choose to become stronger rather than submit without a fight. 

In the future, I’ll be offering columns on a fairly regular basis, and looking forward to input from our readers. Thanks to everyone for their concern and good wishes. All in all, life is a really cool experience that I intend to enjoy for a long time.

Be safe and good shooting.

Colonel Smoothbore