All you hear, is yourself saying, “Oh shit.”
You’re wondering. Why? You kept your cellphone out of your pocket for as long as you’ve had one…almost. You’ve shoved the plants and veggies into your diet. You’ve cut back on meat. You have smoked some cigarettes and drank a good volume of alcohol, but you’ve taken all these supplements that are full of antioxidants like turmeric and green tea extract and vitamin c – loads of vitamin c. You’ve begun fasting in the last 9 months. Intermittent fasting you now realize is the official term if the fast is less than 24 hours. You’ve done all these things to eliminate any chance of cancer because that’s what all the experts on podcasts told you. Then you find that little lump in your left nut last night.
Your wife is getting your to daughter sleep about 25 feet down the hall. You suddenly question every drink and smoke you’ve ever had. They all accumulate into that newly discovered little lump. It’s a real life horror movie moment. The murderer in the closet is actually in your shorts.
Your next thought is ok cool, a bunch of strangers need to look at my junk now. Good times. You really want any junk exposure to be preceded by a bunch of drinks of your choice and followed by a nice satisfied kerplunk of your head on the pillow. Maybe some sweet jams in between.
Not this time. No jams. No drinks. Sober. Cold white light. Strangers. White coats. Blue scrubs. Anxiety. Fear. Pounding heart. Spiraling thoughts. Prayers to who knows what. At least that uber clean alcohol or peroxide or whatever sanitizing agent smell is of comfort. Ain’t no germs here. Just crisp clean medical professionalism.
Testicular cancer, it turns out, is extremely rare after age 35. And cases after 35 tend to be much less aggressive. I’m 38. Sure, I might lose a nut to keep my life. Who needs two at this point? With a boy on the way in late August and a daughter in the books already, I suppose my balls have done their duty. So maybe it will be “ball” from now on. I heard all you need is one and the prosthetics, if you’re so inclined, do exist.
The other magical thing about testicular cancer is that the cure rates are in the 95-98% range. It’s also extremely rare at only about 8,000 cases per year in the United States, so maybe this little lump is absolutely nothing. I’ll tell you this though, it has me thinking more than any other sub-1 inch sphere ever has in my life.
I look at my daughter and just lose it for a second. She has no idea. She’s watching Madagascar 2 (I think) and completely lost in it. Sometimes I think she only has a vague understanding of who I even am. She has no clue that her Dada is wondering if he’ll be around to see her through all the bullshit on the horizon of her young life. What a heartbreaking thought. Ignorance is bliss. And the flip side of that ignorance is soul smashing. I just want her to lock in forever how much I love her and how incredible she is. I’m in awe of this kid. She’s majestic. Beautiful. Energetic. Boundless enthusiasm and about 1% of the self awareness/consciousness that ruins everything for adults.
I don’t know what to say. Some doctor is going to examine and probably scan my balls with some piece of technology that costs $1,000 a second that it’s in use. A complete fucking bargain if it tells me that the little lump is harmless. And I suppose a bargain even if tells me something else that prolongs my life.
I feel there’s a good chance this whole experience is a positive. I feel much more present in life and appreciative of it all. The lights, the smells, the idiocy of the average human, the wind blowing through the trees. It’s our reality, and it’s the things we will miss deeply if we learn we won’t be here as long as expected.