Cancer Free… Maybe?

Sep 4, 2015 / Filed in Life / 3 Comments

Alright, moment of truth.

The good news first. I am cancer-free, as far as the lab results show. There are no cancer markers in my blood work and nothing has been detected. The doctors removed all the of the tumor/testicle and everything attached to it (tubing, blood vessels, etc). No wonder I feel like someone took an ice cream scoop to my insides! Ouch.

The sort of bad news… There were cancer cells outside of the tumor in the blood vessels attached to that testicle. So that means the cancer cells had just begun to spread outside and the doctor was able to remove all of those. As of this moment, there is nothing left there.

BUT, since they did start to spread, there is a very low chance that it had spread to my lymph nodes in my stomach. If that happened, there could be microscopic cancer cells that are undetectable. We have two options…

1) Go ahead and have one round of radiation therapy on my stomach, which would effectively kill any and all cancer cells that may or may not be there. The benefit is that we could be completely confident that all cancer cells are gone. The risk is that radiation therapy is harsh, and there is controversial information that suggests radiation may create new tumors in the body. The medical community has not arrived at a clear answer on this. But my doctor is not recommending this path right now, and we agree with him. We don’t want to start treatment for something when we don’t know if it’s there.

2) Sit tight and do nothing for now, and then just make plans to go in every 3 months for blood work and CT scans. This would allow the doctor to closely monitor the situation, and if cancer was detected in my lymph nodes, it could be treated. The benefit is that this requires no treatment now. The risk is that if there are still cancer cells in my body, they will be more aggressive by the time they show up, and require a little more treatment. This makes me very nervous and uncomfortable, but it’s the best option we see.

I know I should be happy, but I am just angry. I’m angry because I wanted a clean bill of health. Whenever things don’t go the way we want, it’s human nature to get angry. And that’s how I feel. Babies express this so openly and freely. As we get older, we’re taught to suppress and contain it, but I don’t want to suppress it. I’m fucking pissed.

Now I have to worry and obsess and wait for 3 months to come and do new tests. And then 3 months after that. It feels like a constant cycle to find out if those cells ever spread. And if they did, they are already there. It’s not like I can pray them away.

I will work on a more positive attitude later. For now, I’m just going to feel what I feel… And make some brownies. And have some ice cream. There will probably be some alcohol involved too.

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3 Comments

  • I was moved to read this post, Nathan, and so sorry that you do not have the clarity you need after everything you have been through. I am sure you don’t need to feel you have to suppress your anger. Perhaps it is better to externalise it than to let it work its darkness within?

    I sincerely hope your future prospects brighten up soon.

    Hugs and best wishes to you.

    marshlander (Sep 5, 2015)
  • I have a few workmates who are cancer survivors. Seems like a common ailment these days. From what I can gather, it would seem to me that cancer is a symptom, not a cause. We get cancer because something else isn’t quite right, so the trick seems to be to find the cause and correct it. I do hope everything will turn out alright – believe that it will and that’s a good start. Take care of yourself, my friend.

    Sunshine (Sep 21, 2015)
    • I wish I could say that’s true about cancer and wish it were something so simple to prevent, but unfortunately it’s not. Thanks for your kind words. I am doing better each day. 🙂

      Nathan (Sep 22, 2015)

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I'm a happily married gay man, writing about my life as a new father and sharing our adventures with a side of snark.
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