In part one of the series documenting his fight with testicular cancer, one man recounts the moment he realised something was wrong and how he faced the diagnosis every man dreads.
It was the beginning of November 2015, and I’d just got back from road trippin’ through the USA with my good friend, James. I was home and back at my academy – I teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – and everything was normal. I’d had a small rash thing irritating me on my wrist before I went to the USA with James, and since I’d been back it was still there. It’d have been on my wrist for a good three weeks. I decided to book in with my doc to get it checked out and get some cream or whatever. I was booked in for Thursday morning that week.
So, Tuesday night at training, everything was standard – a little tired but nothing out of the ordinary – then Wednesday night at the academy I was a bit sore in my balls/dodger area. I sat out sparring/rolling that night and just watched. I felt a little odd down in the privates but I thought it’d work itself out. That night, I awoke in pain during the night. I woke up and was really sore in my balls. I thought, “Shit, maybe I need to just pass something,” so I got up and had a big pee. Then, sitting on the toilet, I felt my balls. Then I noticed a lump on my right testicle. And it felt about the size of a small dice. I immediately thought the worst and couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night. I just lay there thinking, “Fuck! Do I have cancer? What the fuck do I do if I have cancer!?”
The next morning I didn’t tell my girl anything about it. I didn’t want to freak her out in case it was something small and all was okay.
I’ve had two total strangers jumble my knackers today, I’ve eaten nothing, and here I am on the couch, patting my cat, thinking I might have cancer.
So I went to see the doc about my rash thing on my wrist and thought to myself, “I gotta bring up the pain in my balls to her. It’ll be embarrassing but I have to, right?”. So I see her and she gives me some cream for the rash and then she asks me, “anything else?”, like she knows. I say quietly, “Umm…yeah. So I, umm…I have this pain in my privates.” She immediately tells me to jump on the doc’s bed and take my dacks off. So there I am, with my bits all exposed and my doc rumbling all around up in it. She feels my testicle and she says, “Yeah, we need to send you off to have scans of your testicles to get a better examination of what’s going on down there.” Again, I immediately think the worst. She says to me, “Let’s get these scans done before we move forward, but let’s do it ASAP.” I ask her to please keep this quiet and not tell my girl, ’cause she works in the medical centre where my doctor, is and I’m sure they’re are friends. She is a psychologist. “Don’t tell her, ’til we know exactly what it is,” I plead, and off I trot to QSCAN.
When I get to QSCAN, I go for an ultrasound on my balls. I think that’s what it’s called? This lad has me on the bed in the scan room and my bits all exposed again and I’m all embarrassed. There’s jelly all over my particulars and this guy has this thing that looks and feels like a barcode scanner and he’s rubbing it all over my bits, stopping every few seconds to take photos (with the machine) of obviously certain parts of my balls. It goes on for a while. I think…the longer this goes on…the worse the result is for me. The guys finish up after about 40 minutes in there and says to me, “Right, we are all done. Here’re some wipes. Once you’ve cleaned yourself off, please wait out in the foyer.” So there I was, jelly’d up knackers and all, alone in this room, cleaning my privates with baby wipes and feeling stranded. I left that room, and I knew. I knew it was bad news, that I was going to be diagnosed with cancer.
I got my scans, drove home, and I contemplated what had just transpired for the day.
I woke, I went to the doc’s, I’ve had two total strangers jumble my knackers today, I’ve eaten nothing, and here I am on the couch, patting my cat, thinking I might have cancer…what the fuck am I going to do!?
I had to wait ’til the next day for the results. Those 24 hours were the longest in my life. Well…that’s what I thought at the time.
The worst was yet to come.