Monday, 13 February 2017

Knocked Down

I always dreamed of having adventures. In fact, I did have adventures; great ones: I backpacked Europe with my brother, I hunted wild animals, surfed in Mexico, cliff-dove in Greece, ran with the bulls in Spain, partied in Ibiza, and climbed mountains. I lived much like a rock star without the fame in my younger years. I would say my life has been a truly amazing adventure.

The adventures I lived compared with those I dreamed of living, however, lacked the life threatening luster that makes a Hollywood action/adventure so thrilling. I imagined myself fighting for my country, or running from terrorists, or travelling the world looking for historical treasure, you know, world changing things, dangerous things.

That desire never really went away, but as I aged, my aspirations adjusted to reflect my maturity. My burning desire now is to have a family and provide for it. This new aspiration put a whole new twist on my thrill seeking persona by changing my definition of thrilling. I can’t imagine what could be more thrilling than watching a tiny human that came from my own genetic code stand up on its own two feet.  Or like my friend told me about his own son, to associate a picture of the sun, with the sun itself.

My new ambition suddenly became a reality when I married K, the most beautiful and big-hearted woman I’ve ever met. We got married on August 27, 2016. Everyone had been touting the year 2016 as the worst year ever, they couldn’t wait for it to end. The refugee crisis was never ending, Trump had been elected president, countless celebrities and artists had passed away; people were done with 2016. But for me, 2016 had been the best year of my life: I traveled to Jamaica and Scotland, watched friends marry, got married myself, been surprised in the most epic way with a 30th birthday party, landscaped my house, built my fence, completed schooling I had been working on for 10 years, and welcomed our new pup Ruger to our family. The year 2016 was busy, and amazing.

2017 brought all of that to a screaming halt, like the young Asian girl in Greece we watched crash her ATV into a concrete wall. My landscaping adventure in the Spring of 2016 brought with it a pain in my right groin. I went to see the doctor that spring who then sent me for an ultrasound. In follow up with my doctor I was told I had a hernia on my left side (not my right where the pain was), and that the ultrasound also showed an enlarged and abnormal lymphnode. The doctor told me not to worry about it, and booked me to see a surgeon to repair my hernia. The consult with the surgeon was about the same, the lymphnode was nothing to worry about, it’s likely just swollen because of the hernia.

I had surgery on November 21, 2016. Surgery went well, recovery was painful, but I was back to work inside two weeks. The first week in January I got a call from the doctor’s office. The nice girl on the other end of the phone says “Hi, we got the results from your biopsy back, would you like to book an appointment with the doctor to talk about it?” to which I responded “What biopsy?”. I begrudgingly scheduled the appointment for January 6th.

K insisted on attending with me and it turned out the doctor didn’t have much information anyway. When I had surgery, they found what they called a granuloma, a tumor on my testicular cord. They cut it out and sent it for a biopsy, they just apparently failed to mention that to me after surgery, or at my follow up appointment with the surgeon in December. The pathology was negative but referral to a specialist was recommended. I’ll save you my complaints of the provincial health care system here and just say that getting this referred to a specialist was like pulling teeth, but in the end, it was referred to the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.

Two weeks later, I received a call from the Cross to tell me I had a pelvic MRI booked for February 6, 2017. I was a little astounded that nobody had bothered to tell me why, but I did end up dragging it out of them (in a somewhat panicked voice) that the pathology report had been reviewed by a team of doctors specializing in sarcomas (Google defined this as a soft tissue tumor) and the doctors asked for an MRI to be prudent. They assured me that I would hear back from them by Wednesday, the week after the MRI.

At this point it’s important to backtrack to provide some context on a side story that really will become the forefront of this entire blog.

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