I was hoping it was nothing.
One testicle felt firmer and larger than the other so I made an appointment with my doctor. We did the usual small talk, caught up, and then he did the exam. He looked puzzled.
“Hm,” he said.
Nobody ever wants to hear their doctor say “hm.”
“Let me send you over to imaging to get an ultrasound of your testicles. That will give us more insight into what’s going on,” he said.
I went to imaging and the woman took a long time reviewing the screen as she did the ultrasound. I knew that wasn’t good. I’d hoped she’d just scan them, say they looked normal, and send me on my way. But instead, she must have spent 15 minutes capturing different angles.
I did get to hear the sound of my scrotum. It sounded like a Lady Gaga song. “Rah-rah-ra-ah-ah.” That was fun.
She sent my results over to a radiologist and then came back into the room.
“We’ve found something on your testicle. We’re going to do a CT scan to get a closer look,” she said.
Tears filled my eyes. “Okay,” I said, trying to contain my inner Mariah, who wanted to have a complete breakdown and tear up some silk curtains or something.
The CT scan went quickly. “Your doctor will look at these and talk to you about the results,” they said.
I went to the doctor’s office and waited outside. He had other patients, of course, so I tried to be patient. Every man is fighting his own battle, I reminded myself.
A nurse passed by and saw me. “Oh, hi,” she said warmly. I had talked to her earlier and really liked her. “We’ve received your results and we’re aware of the situation. We just need the doctor to review them and talk to you.”
Fuck again. I don’t want there to be a situation to be aware of. I want it to be nothing. I want to hear that everything is fine, it was a false alarm, and I can finally go home and curl up in bed and cry.
Another nurse summoned me. She was somber and gave me a private room. The doctor came in. He wasn’t smiling.
“You have a large mass,” the doctor explained. He showed me the results and it was almost double the size of my other testicle. I can honestly say I have the biggest balls of any guy I know.
“Are you saying it’s cancer?” I asked.
“It’s a large mass. The results are symptomatic of cancer, but I can’t confirm it. We’ll need to send this on to a urologist to examine the results and meet with you. But either way, your testicle will have to be removed. Even if it’s not cancerous, we can’t leave it in there with the mass.”
(But I love my testicles. Both of them.)
Yesterday I met with the urologist and he confirmed the results. He called it a cancerous tumor that had grown from inside the testicle. That’s actually good news because it’s self contained. It does not appear to have spread and the doctor isn’t concerned about needing chemotherapy or any kind of treatment once the ball is removed. He can’t rule it out, but doesn’t anticipate it.
I’m thankful it isn’t worse, but angry about what it is. Nobody wants to go through this, but it looks like I am.
I know that I’ll be alright. Testicular cancer is easily treated and most men enjoy a 100% recovery. But still… It’s cancer.
I guess I should buy a witty bumper sticker now or wear a wristband. I’ll probably come up with a bunch of jokes too. I was going to ask the woman doing the ultrasound if she could hear a heartbeat but chose not to.
I’ll be having surgery soon and will post an update. I’ve been assured by everybody that this is very easy to remove—outpatient surgery so I’ll go home the same day—and everything is going to be alright.