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It's not over.

In all likelihood, I'll need a second, more complicated surgery before this is done. I'm not entirely sure why I haven't bothered to post about this yet, but it's been on my mind all the same.

Essentially, the tumor was a non-seminoma germ cell tumor, specifically embryonal carcinoma. This more aggressive half of the ball cancer family still follows a predictable route--through a sequence of lymph nodes up the torso to the lungs, liver, brain, and beyond. Because this sequence is so predictable and because this kind of germ cell tumor resists chemo, it is almost always treated with surgery.

It's called retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. Cool, can't be that bad, yeah? Lymph nodes aren't so big or anything, just gotta cut out these couple and call it a day.


They run up the torso, so the incision goes from just below the chest to below the belly button. Big ass cuts up in here. They are also under many of the organs of the body cavity, positioned toward the back. Apparently they have to lift the organs out of my body and cut out the lymph nodes. Fucking hell. Lastly, these nodes are all kindsa mixed in and around some major blood vessels and nerves. So those have to be worked around or I may, like, never ejaculate or bone again. Imagine that. Worse than death, if you ask me.

I'm very fortunate, though. About 12 years ago my father had prostate cancer and was treated by a surgeon at UPenn who was a rising star at the time. My father has gotten in touch with him and I have an appointment to consult with him and a trusted medical oncologist next Friday. Apparently each of these doctors is considered among the best in their respective fields on the East Coast.

I'm so grateful for my dad for contacting them; I would have been too self-effacing to bother. "Leave them for someone who really needs their expertise; I'll be fine" or some such, I'd likely have said.

But it's happening; whatever it is--this surgery, surveillance, or chemo--it's happening, I'm not running from it, and I'll be in good hands.


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