Saturday, September 6, 2008

On not telling people things sometimes

The cancer patient in recovery, I've quickly discovered, faces a recurring dilemma about subsequent check-ups and screenings. Do you let people know that you're going to get something looked at -- and spread the worry around -- or do you spare them the anxiety if and until there's something to report?

Just this Thursday, I went back to Dr. Baker (my urologist), a mere week and a half after my post-chemo assessment from him. I was feeling a bit of ache in my groin, and, though it was hard to place, it was close enough to my surviving right testicle that I figured, "Don't be stupid don't be stupid don't be stupid don't be stupid asshole just pick up the phone it's probably nothing but you have to go in to be sure don't be stupid you were just there right but go in anyway it's rare to have a recurrence in the second testicle especially after chemo yeah but it happens so don't be stupid asshole you have to go in."

So, yes. I set up an appointment for Thursday afternoon. This was about a week ago, so I had several intervening days in which to obsess about any momentary sensation beneath my waist.

Dr. Baker had the dubious privilege of feeling around my ballsack for the dozenth time. He said that the testicle itself felt fine, that (as I thought) it'd be incredibly unlikely for me to have a recurrent tumor so soon after completing chemo, that since the pain seemed to be in the back, it was almost certainly an inflammation of the epididymis from exercise. He said I was smart to come in, though, should always feel welcome, and should call him if the soreness lingers past a few weeks.

So here's the thing: I didn't tell anyone about this appointment beforehand. Not friends, not my girlfriend, not my family. I thought it would be emotionally wasteful to get anyone worked up over nothing, especially since I only needed to wait a week to confirm that it actually was nothing.

I think and I hope that's the right way to handle this sort of thing.

1 comment:

mike mike mike said...

Very eerily parallels what happened to me. I had testicular cancer in my right ball ten years ago. No chemo or anything for me, luckily. (No artificial one either, wasn't an option, unfortunately)A few months after the removal I got epididymitus; I think from bowling, if you can believe it. I remember my ball feeling pinched, then later I felt lumps at the top and bottom. I freaked, thinking it was cancer in the remaining one. Didn't tell anyone, but saw my urologist. Of course she said, "no, it's not on the testicle, cysts on the epidiymus from an infection, which can be caused by injury, maybe." Afterward people were like, "you thought you had more cancer and didn't say anything, what the hell?" I don't know, talking might have calmed me down, I was pretty stressed for a week or so.