Wednesday, 29 March 2017

One Nut Wonder

I received a call from the Surgical Oncologist's office much quicker than I did when I had been referred for my hernia surgery, I guess expediency is important when it comes to cancer treatments. They had me scheduled for the consult for the end of March, which would have been about a month and a half past the date of my Radiation Oncology appointment at the Cross Cancer. I was anxious to get it over with and apparently the universe agreed because I received a call on Tuesday, March 7th to tell me they had a cancellation and could get me in the following day. I agreed and took part of the day off work, because I had yet another sperm analysis that day as well and it just made sense.

I was about an hour early for my appointment, had paid for parking, and decided to hang out in the lobby. The building was two or three stories and was occupied pretty much all by health care practitioners except for the daycare on the main floor. I took a seat on a small leather couch and scrolled through my emails feeling guilty for missing work yet again for another appointment. I sat there casually looking up at what seemed like a parade of pregnant women walking by who must have been visiting their OBGYNs for their pregnancy follow-ups - reminding me how much I wanted what they had. I listened to the screams and laughs of the daycare beside me, and watched the day-care workers walk by with kids in little groups singing songs I remembered from when I was a kid. Now that we had sorted out our fertility issues I at least felt like fatherhood was within my grasp so I smiled while I sat there...until I realized I was sitting by myself, next to a daycare, smiling at little children, and felt like a total creeper and decided to go search out my doctor's office.

I found my doctor's name in the directory and climbed the stairs to the second floor before meandering around the halls searching for the right door. I found it at the end of what seemed like a totally deserted hall and pushed it open. I was surprised when the waiting room was so busy and realized that the office was home to a large number of specialists. The waiting room was surrounded by six or seven reception windows and reminded me of a scene from the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter. Each window had the names of two or three different doctors posted above them and I found the one with my doctor and approached the window. The clerk took my info and handed me a clipboard to fill out with the same standard information as usual; why you're here, medications, past health, family health, surgeries, etc. I completed it fairly quickly and then sat down to wait for my name to be called.

The nurse came and got me and escorted me to an exam room down a back hallway. The surgical resident came in and did her exam before running off to give her report. Shortly after that both the resident and the surgeon walked through the door. My surgeon shook my hand and mentioned that she thought I had been through a lot in the last few months. I nodded and thanked her. I'm not really sure why I thanked her, I guess I appreciated her empathy. It's not that I haven't received any, because the support I've received from people has been overwhelming. I think it was because I didn't get the feeling that she felt sorry for me, like she understood what I was going through better than most; understood, but didn't pity me. I appreciated that.

She started by explaining that although I had been referred to her by the oncologist at the Cross Cancer, I did have options. She asked me about my fertility issues and expressed that she understood that we had been trying to get pregnant for a while. It was at this point that something in the back of my mind started nagging at me. You see, K does a lot of research (on everything, especially things that scare her, which is a lot of things) and me getting cancer scares the shit out of her, so she researches the hell out of it. Then she makes sure she tells me so I can be as thoroughly informed as possible, even though I'd rather stick my head in the sand until the doctors confirm my fears. And of course as it turns out, K had to be right - again - when she told me that the precautionary surgery my oncologist would want to do would require total removal of my left testicle.

They found the tumour on my spermatic cord, which means that it would have to be removed in order to ensure all the cells around the tumour had been removed. Unfortunately, without a spermatic cord, my testicle would no longer have a blood supply and would die, meaning it was coming out too. The surgeon explained my options to me; this type of tumour is very rare and although it is not cancerous, it can act like cancer and spread. Of course there is no way to tell if it will spread until it does, and it could end up anywhere in my body. She said that with the surgery there is a 99% chance I would be cured and never have another problem. Without it, there is a very good chance I could still never have another problem, but we couldn't be sure. So the options are to wait and monitor it and hope for the best, or lefty was getting a new home. Is it weird that I kind of want to keep it? Ya, that’s weird, never mind.

I never really appreciated my balls until I needed them. I mean...I never wanted to get rid of them or anything, but for the majority of my life they were somewhat of an annoyance. When you're a kid, you have to worry about them getting kicked, or your buddy nutting you with the back of his hand; they're a bit of a weakness. As you get older, they become the reason you have to practice safe sex (when you're monogamous anyway, there's so many more when you're not). Then all too quickly, a third of your life is gone and suddenly you need them? If you ask me, irony is a cruel joke, I've never needed my testicle more than I need it right now, while at the same time I have never needed to be rid of my testicle more than I do right now.

Maybe the thoughts circling in my head are just pride, the ones telling me I'd be less of a man after the loss of my testicle. Or maybe I'll be more of a man, with balls of steel...literally; honestly though, that sounds like more of a hassle at the airport than its worth.

No comments:

Post a comment