So the other day I posted about my medical goings on, the cancer and whatnot, and I've gotten some great feedback. I'm really grateful for the love and support people have so freely offered me, it's humbling and wonderful. I've also gotten a lot of questions. A lot of the same questions, understandably. I'd like to answer as many as I can remember to help everyone out.
- You're having surgery? For what??
Oh, you know, just a bit of cancer.
- Omigawd, what kind of cancer??
Testicular Cancer. It's remarkably treatable.
- Are you scared?
I mean, it is cancer, but really not very much. As far as cancer goes, testicular cancer is actually very treatable. The surgery is usually pretty effective, especially when done early on. Then they monitor you for a couple years--usually going in for CAT scans and bloodwork a couple times a year. Even if the cancer has spread, the chemo for it is highly effective; they've narrowed it down to a very specific family of drugs. Regardless of stage, the survival rate is usually still well above 90%.
- So, are they taking the whole testicle? both testicles?
Yes, just the one, though. They also take the entire spermatic cord. As such the incision is higher up in the abdomen and requires two layers of stitches. Life is gonna suck for a while, yup.
- When is the surgery?
Today, if all goes well. I had a bit of a cold over the weekend, but it's gone now. If I were too congested they might postpone the surgery.
As far as I know, sometime around 4pm today, an incision will be made and some other stuff will happen and at some point later I will come to groggy as fuck and dying for water.
- How long are you gonna be out of commission?
Hard to say exactly. Abdominal surgery can be tricky in terms of suckiness. My urologists predicts a solid couple weeks of uselessness. My physician elaborated to say the first week I'd probably be stuck all kinds of horizontal, the second I might be upright occasionally for a bit, and the third I may be moving around on my own.
At this point, I've asked off for 4 weeks. I may need more, we'll see.
- Are you going to get, like, a fake one?
Like, a prosthetic ball? A fake testicle? A prosthesticle?
I'm not sure. I've done a bit of research on this and so far it seems to be a mixed bag. A sizable portion of the men who get one feel a bit disappointed afterward (as with many cosmetic operations, there's often a deeper cause at work that isn't satisfied). On the other hand, many men say you can hardly tell it's missing--apparently the scrotum is a fairly bulky thing on its own. You won't notice a thing!
- Are you going to be able to have sex and cum?
Yes. Amusingly, I likely won't even want to for a while. There's a strong chance the doctors will limit how much/often I'm ejaculating--ie, masturbating--while I'm recovering. And sex will probably be too ridiculously painful/awkward until I've healed enough.
Beyond that, yes, I should be fully functional. Apparently one testicle can sustain normal hormone and sperm production and even so my prostate is still intact (yay buttsex!) so I will still produce...fluids.
- What are you going to do with your time off?
Well, since I probably won't be masturbating, I'm going to have to get creative.
I've got some books to read; The Dyer's Hand by W.H. Auden arrived and I'm excited to read it as soon as I regain my reasoning faculties and concentration. I've also got a good line up of video games that I'm eager to finally play--Bioshock, Dead Space, and others. I've also got a mass of papers I need to organize and file. And generally lying about in various measures of inflammation and agony, that's definitely a plan too.
- Do you need anything?
Um, well, I dunno. Maybe?
People have offered to bring me food and drop by and keep me company. People are offering to bring a meeting to me so that I don't miss out on AA or something. One of my managers even told me she'd drop off food, anything, that she's just a call away. Other people are offering to come chill with me during the day and stuff. I have so far, wisely I think, not declined. We'll see how I'm doing. Since I'll be stuck in bed for a week or two, I'm liable to get bored and restless as shit, so then company and food would be pretty awesome.
Right now, I just don't know, and it seems like so much, and so generous, and while I'm grateful, I'm not sure, by my nature, how to take it all in. Part of me expects this is just part of having cancer, that someone people feel obligated. (Maybe it's pity?)
But then I was mentioning some of this generosity to a friend after a meeting, and she said perfectly casually, "Well, you're very loved.".
And it kinda blew my mind. I'd like to think I've outgrown self-effacing ways of thinking, all that assuming "I'm worthless" crap from my youth. But it somehow still hadn't occurred to me that people were being so generous because they cared about me and not because they felt obligated. It's really very humbling, and wonderful, to find out I have such good people in my life and that people generally are that good.
So thank you, everyone, for the support and love and everything. It means a lot, more than even I can realize. Thank you :)