I Had Cancer. Now I Don’t. A Short Story.
Possibly NSFW (I talk about the male anatomy in probably not the most scientific way)
See that picture? That's me about an hour before surgery.
It all started three weeks ago. I went to the doctor and he found a lump on my right testicle. Not something you want to hear but he didn't seem too worried. I thought he might have been downplaying it but wasn't sure. This was my first trip to a doctor in about 20 years so I wasn't real sure what normal bedside manner was. I knew it wasn't good so I decided to do some internet research on my own.
Fair warning here. Do NOT Google testicle lump. There's nothing good in there, and that's just the articles. If you venture over to the images page, well, I just hope you're not at work because that's probably a fire-able offense. So after reading some articles on my certain impending death I was a bit spooked.
My next appointment was to get an ultrasound on the "affected" area. This was a lovely trip to the hospital where a very nice middle aged lady got to "gel me up" and move an ultrasound thing (wand?) around my scrotum. I'm sure it's a day we will both remember fondly. Other than getting a headache from trying to create small talk in this situation (Do you know my friend Mike's mom? She's a nurse. Real groundbreaking stuff) it was a very uneventful trip.
Next up on the to do list was the urologist. Now let me tell you this. If you're under the age of 50 and want to feel young, like I'm a sophomore in college young, just hang out in the urologist office. It looked like a casting call for Cocoon 3. My visit there consisted of me accidentally spilling a urine sample all over my arm and a quick lookie loo under the hood by Dr. Valadez, the man who would eventually take a scalpel to my midsection. After literally 15 seconds and a quick trip to second base he lets me know there's some cancer down there and he's going to take it and the testicle out. It was delivered to me in the same tone your mechanic lets you know it's time to replace your brake pads. This was the recurring theme during the whole ordeal. This simply wasn't much of an ordeal. This was just something that happened occasionally and the medical community has pretty much figured it all out.
That's not to say I wasn't a bit taken aback by the news. I've spent 37 years with this guy and I've just been told he's going in the garbage in 10 days. Dr. Valadez didn't really give me time to react. He just kept telling me what was going to happen. Small incision in the lower abdomen. He'll go in from the top and pull the rogue nut up and out. 99% of the time that's it. I can't lift anything over 5 pounds for 3 weeks. That's literally how he put it, two sentences about the procedure and then he was already telling me how I'd recover.
Now I had 10 days to say goodbye to my friend and I had to figure out a way to tell my family I had cancer and not freak them out. My plan. Don't tell them I had cancer. I'm pretty sure I still haven't said the C word (either of them) around my mom. I think she knows but we're going to leave that unsaid. Honestly that is how calm my doctors made me feel. I was more worried about friends and family reaction than my own health. There is undoubtedly some unpackaged psychosis there but I'll leave that for my next medical blog.
I wish I had some great stories to tell about my actual surgical visit but I don't. The only thing I can say is that all my nurses and doctors were exceptional in the 5 hours I was actually at Swedish American. That's right 5 hours and I was done. I went under at noon, woke up an hour later, asked them what they were going to do with all the raccoons, realized I was still really out of it and slept for 90 more minutes and I was out of there.
I have kind of a nagging pain in my stomach that I'm reminded of when I laugh too hard or try to cough but that's it. Everything else works and feels fine. I'm probably not going to even finish my painkillers.
If you've made it to the end of this blabbering post first of all thank you, I need the clicks. Second of all the only real reason I wrote this was maybe one guy who's going through the same procedure can read it for some peace of mind. I know I would have wanted to hear something like this 2 weeks ago. I'm also fully aware that cancer affects everyone differently and it's not always this much of a non story. But again this is my story and I just hope it can help someone in the future. Thanks for listening and check yourself constantly.