I have testicular cancer.
In the spirit of Jeb: "Please laugh."
A few weeks ago, I went to my doctor for an annual physical exam. It went well. I had lost over twenty pounds since coming to the city (walking, eating right), my blood pressure was good, and my cholesterol was low. Then, we get to the part most guys are uncomfortable with. As it happens, the "turn your head and cough" joke is real life. But then my doctor paused. He found a lump.
He told me to see a radiologist as soon as possible.
Last week, I went to a midtown radiologist, had KY Jelly slathered all over my nether regions, and got an ultrasound by a very nice lady.
The results came back the same day. Cancer.
But not scary cancer. Ball cancer, the funniest of all the cancers.
Seminoma is the medical term for a neoplasm (new growth or tumor) that begins in, you guessed it, the testicles. Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer for men between the age of 15-35. It's easily treatable if caught early and has a 95% survival rate. So I'm good — I ain't gonna die because of no ball cancer.
The good news is that we may have caught it early. But we only caught it early because I went to the doctor.
I joked to my doctor that I touch my testicles all the time, and I didn't feel anything. I never paid attention to those PSA's about touching your junk to check for cancer. Cancer? Not me, I thought, so I'd rather touch my testicles for fun!
Reasons why I used to touch my nuts
But unfortunately, it's all too real now. If it weren't for my doctor's medical expertise, I might not have known until it was too late.
If you have testicles but haven't gotten a physical exam in a while, or if you know someone who has testicles that has displayed a flagrant disregard for their medical health by not seeing a doctor recently, I have a message for you: get your fuckin' nuts checked.
Do your nuts have to be felt up by your doctor to find lumps or irregularities? No! In fact, the Testicular Cancer Society recommends that you do a self-exam every month. Feel yourself up in the shower. But do it properly, medically. I didn't do a monthly self-exam, and I may be paying some price for it.
Follow this guide here from the Testicular Cancer Society:
As you may have noticed from the last few paragraphs, I'm taking this rather well. In fact, I'm joking about my diagnosis. Please don't be mopey around me, it makes me nervous. Frankly, I'm glad I can have such a positive attitude about this. Everyone copes in their own way, and I'm very happy that my natural instinct is to crack jokes and laugh at the phrase "ball cancer."
Every single person I’ve confided in so far has the immediate reaction: “Oh no! Ben!” Which is a perfectly reasonable, normal reaction to have. And then they look sad. Which is why I immediately follow up with a joke about my balls. And that makes them feel better. And in a weird, fucked-up kind of way, it makes me feel better, too.
Still, am I scared? You bet I am.
This experience has been a whirlwind of firsts. I've never had a CT scan before; I have to go in tomorrow morning to check my lungs and lymph nodes. I've never thought about the possibility of not having children; I might have to freeze my future ones. I've never had so much blood drawn to run tests before. Also, I've never had cancer, so this is definitely a first.
I'll be honest, I'm having some trouble sleeping at night. I keep thinking about the operation I'll have to undergo (spoiler alert: it does not look like fun). I keep worrying about how much time I'll have to take off work. And I have to face the frightening possibility of undergoing chemotherapy and having my facial hair fall out. A tragedy!
But I'm a lucky one. The real tragedy would be someone else finding their cancer too late.
I'm making this public because:
Testicular cancer shouldn't be a taboo subject — after all, it is still cancer;
It's important for men to understand that testicular cancer is a very real possibility and you should get checked;
I'm an attention grubbing loser. Give me a little slack, I have cancer!
If you're a man, touch yourself. If you know a man, get him to touch himself too. It might save his life.
And if you've got a great nut joke, please message me. I could always use a good laugh.