Cancer is a Silent Disease (10/31/11)

Last October was a busy month for me. I had a conference in Seattle Washington the week of 10/10 and another conference in Las Vegas scheduled for the week of 10/24. And when I travel to conferences that means I usually need to find additional time to do the normal work as well. So, that month involved working extra hours, in addition to taking care of the house, attending Bryce’s football, etc. Then add Halloween in as well, and yes, this was a very busy month, and as it turned out, the scariest Halloween for me ever.

On 10/26, Wednesday evening, around 8 p.m., I decided to take a hot Jacuzzi bath after a long day at work. This was a sure way to relax and prepare for an evening’s rest. During the bath I noticed a lump on my right testicle. When I mentioned it to my beautiful and loving wife (smile), she made me promise to go and get it checked out.

So the next morning I called the doctor to fulfill my promise to Connie. To my surprise, the doctor’s office told me they had an opening and asked if I could it in. Within hours I was in the doctor’s office being seen by the doctor’s assistant. I guess I thought they may give me some anti-biotics or an inflammatory medication and I would be all set.

The doctor’s assistant acknowledged that there was something there and said it was probably just swelling. To be safe she wanted me to go for an ultrasound. I told her I was scheduled to travel the following week so I was hoping we could complete the tests soon. In compliance with my request the ultrasound was scheduled for the next day, Thursday, 10/25.

The doctor called me with the Ultrasound results and said I needed to go to an urologist to talk. He never mentioned the cancer word but the seriousness in his voice, and the fact that he was calling me after hours on his way home from work certainly raised this concern in my mind. He wanted me to see the urologist and acknowledged that I may need to reschedule my trip to Las Vegas if necessary.

Reluctantly I ended up rescheduling my trip to Las Vegas. I knew this may be serious, but I really discounted the possibility that it may be cancer. I talked about it with my nephew and he shared a similar story that turned out to be something that healed itself in time. I thought for sure that I was dealing with the same thing, not cancer.

The weekend came and went and the appointment with the urologist was on Halloween 10/31/11 at 3 p.m. on a Monday. The urologist did an exam and did not mince words. He flat out told me that he is 99% sure this is CANCER and that I needed to have the tumor removed as soon as possible.

Everything in me went numb as I absorbed his words. I didn’t know what to think or say. People who have cancer die? Will I die from this? Sure everyone dies, but I’m only 48 years old.  I really didn’t expect I’d die until 80 or 90.  Cancer certainly was not in my plans.

I agreed that we certainly should have the tumor removed and asked when he would like to do it. He asked me if we could do the surgery the next morning at 7 a.m. Wow, here it is 5 p.m. on a Monday and I’m going to go in for surgery on Tuesday, 11/1/11, instead of traveling to Las Vegas like I had originally planned.  And what about this Cancer? What did it mean? How am I going to deal with this?

On the way home, I was numb and shaken. I felt the biggest lump in my stomach. Suppressing tears was very hard to do… I didn’t know what to do… What would I tell my children? What would I tell my new wife of three years? She lost her first husband to cancer, how could I tell her that I have cancer?

I called my wife and my sister on the way home and told them the bad news; although, I don’t remember much about the conversation.

We would know more the next day — after the surgery was completed. Perhaps it really isn’t cancer, after all he said he was 99% sure; that means there is a 1% chance he is wrong.

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