Friday, December 05, 2008

It was...

I'm just going to say it. It was Testicular Cancer. After I talked with the doctor on Monday November 24th, he didn't pull no punches and was straight forward with me. On the day of the his examination, he told me that from his experience, he had a feeling it was, and that I was going to have to get my right testicle removed. I was so scared that I faded into my own little world and stopped hearing what the doctor said, just like on TV. When I finally came back to reality, I heard him say that there is over a 90% cure rate for this type of cancer. When he left the room I talked a little to my dad. I cried a little too. I was upset because I wanted to be a father someday. My dad reassured me that everything will be fine because I still have the one on the left. I was just emotional and too irrational to think. I guess it was because I was scared.

This was serious! It is the most challenging experience in my life to date. I didn't exactly grasp the seriousness of my situation, until my doctor told me that he was going to perform my surgery within three days. They had to make emergency appointments so I could get blood-work (still have bruises), and CT scans (both on November 25th) on my abdomen pelvis and Thorax (I guess). That CT scan was an adventure in itself. I had to drink two large cups of contrast with fruit punch in it. I could have drunk less, but it would have required me too have the contrast shot into my behind (no way no how). I had to save a little bit of the second cup until I went to the room with the CT scanner. There I drank it and then they put an IV with the contrast into my arm. The nurse told me that I would feel a warm sensation, but she didn't tell me that the IV contrast would give me a sudden urge to go. There I was lying on the table holding my breath when the machine told me to and holding my urine in at the same time trying not to give in to either. As soon as I was done the nurse tried explaining something to me, but I told her I had to GO NOW, and darted for the restroom.

November 26th was the day of my orchiectomy surgery. I really had no time to accept that I was going to lose my testicle or remind myself that I once said I would rather die than have surgery. I just willed myself out of bed and just chalked it up as something that had to be done. I had to be at the hospital at 9am, but my surgery wasn't until around 1pm. When I got there I was taken to a room, where I had to take all of my clothes off and put on a gown and footsies. Then I had an IV put into the back of my left hand, and eventually rolled to a pre-surgery wing. My dad and I sat there for over two hours, but my dad had someone to talk to. There was a nurse there who liked golf as much as my dad did, so they passed the time nicely. When the doctor finally came he asked me what kind of music I liked. I told him Amel Larriuex and he said he never heard of her. He then went on to tell me about some jazz legends and eventually asked if I had any questions. I asked him if they were removing my right testicle why did he have to remove it from the right, just below my waist. The doctor told me that the reason for removing it from that area rather than the scrotum is, because I guess there are lymph nodes in that area and they wanted to check to see if they were infected as well. After the doctor explained it he said he'd see me soon (LOL I didn't see him). I met the anesthesiologists who had me sign a consent form and explained some side-effects of anesthesia. Afterwards they we started heading towards the operating room. Just after we left the pre-surgery room they let me hug my dad and some of my family that were with me before I had to go to the operating room. About half way to the operating room the anesthesiologists said, "I noticed you are very tense, so I am going to give you something through your IV to calm you down a little". He did then we continued on. We got to and intersection where there was a room on the left. They rolled me to the right of and then started backing me up towards what was probably the operating room. I don't know, because as soon as they started rolling me backwards I blacked out!

As soon as I blacked out, I woke back up. At least that was how it seemed to me. I awoke in the post-surgical area. I was a little groggy so whoever it was that tried to wake me up left and came back 20 minutes later, and rolled me over towards the door I would eventually be leaving through. Someone (don't remember) asked me if I was feeling alright. I said I was okay but I was in some pain. She gave me two vicodin pills and some apple juice to swallow it with. A couple of hours later she asked me if I think I was ready to go. I said yeah, and she sent someone to get my dad for me. Then this guy named Terry came and helped me get dressed. He did most of the work for me, because honestly it hurt to move anything. Terry then helped me into a wheel chair and my father showed up. He asked me if I was alright told him yeah, and the nurse asked my dad if he wanted to go and get his car and park it by the front ramp of hospital. My dad agreed and left and I just had to wait for Terry to come back and roll me downstairs. Before I left though I got a parting gift. Something called a Scrotum Support. I guess it lifts and hold whats left of my scrotum to ease some of the pain. Let me just say that jock strap like contraption didn't help much alone. Before I got into my dad's car, Terry gave me a towel and told me put it in between my legs and lift a little because it helps...and it did too! Then I went on my merry little way to my dad's house and slept there for a week. Over the course of that week, I was writhing in pain and hunched over like an old man. I was alive, and I guess that's a good thing right.

Here I am on December 5th, back at home, sitting at the computer desk writing this post. I'm still in pain, but i'm feeling better for the most part. I can't walk or stand long but I can get around a little. I've been however forbidden to go upstairs unless I have to go to the bathroom. Can't go to my bedroom. Just sleeping on the couch. At least my mom saved me some Thanksgiving dinner. Boy was I looking forward to it.

December 3rd was my post-op appointment. I went there knowing that it was already cancer. The doctor was certain of it, so I didn't have to worry about getting my hopes up. No surprise as the doctor told me what I've already came to expect. I had testicular cancer, however it didn't spread to anywhere other than the right testicle. Although after the doctor told me this he told me that I have "a swollen lymph node in my abdomen". Then he proceeded to hit me with a double whammie that I DIDN'T see coming. He told me that I would have to get radiation treatment, and then he told me that it would most likely make my other remaining testicle a useless sterile shell. Hearing that I probably won't be able to have kids has hurt me more than the surgery. The doctor then gave me this pamphlet on sperm storage. I've been hit with all of this so fast that my brain is running circles around me. I've never had to make decisions like this before in my life, and I never had to expose myself this much either. I haven't yet fully grasp the situation i'm in yet, heck I still haven't come to terms with the surgery. (Screaming as loud as I can) I had to remove my right testicle! At least I have my family though. I don't think it was a coincidence that I reunited with my dad and my aunts and uncle on his side of my family. They have all been supportive of me. Especially my dad. He helped me into the house on the first day. Helped me put on that scrotum support thingy, and he helped me to the bathroom when I had to go. He also made sure I took my antibiotics when it was time too. If it weren't for my family, I guess I be in even worse shape than I am in now huh??!!!


shari said...

You are still in my prayers.
Thank God you are going to be okay.
Thank God you have your family.
You are very brave to share this.

Chelle said...

Charles, if you need anything, I am here for you. I love you my friend.

*hugs to you my sensual Chocolate*

Judith HeartSong said...

Oh Charles... you are a brave man. I am thinking of you and sending love and warm wishes as you work your way through this.

redsneakz said...

Charles, do you have an option to see another oncologist? Maybe there's something available less harmful than radiation.

I'm praying for your speedy recovery, and I wish I could be there to help you through this.

Charles said...

Thanks for your kind words everyone. I don't know if i'm brave, but I do know it would have eaten me up if I hadn't vented. LOL

I think chemo and surgery are the only other options I have Chuck