The cancer journey is full of odd moments like the one in this comic. It's an experience so unique to each patient, and it's an experience unlike any other. So that's why I like doing this comic because it's captures these hard to explain moments.
Anders actually wrote a brilliant essay on this experience, so I'll let you read for yourself!
Even 7 years later I remember it quite well.
It was around midnight on a wednesday, april 28th 2010. I had just done a bit of "manscaping" and were inspecting my balls for any rouge hairs when I noticed something that seemed wrong. My right testicle had doubled in size and touching it was like touching a piece of wood. It felt alien. There were also a strange feeling of weight down there, as if my scrotum was filled with lead.
I naturally googled "big hard testicle" and made a mental note on purging my browser history. The first 10 pages of results said cancer, but one page suggested a there could be a possibility of inflammation, so there was a glimmer of hope.
I had scheduled to travel to my hometown the day after, which was convenient as my GP is located there, and on friday morning I sat waiting with my phone for the office hours to start. One minute over 8 am I called:
Me: Hi, my name is Anders and I need an appointment with [name of doctor].
Receptionist: We have availability in two weeks time, do you wish to book this time?
Me: I live out of town and that is during my work week. Is it possible to get one sooner?
Receptionist: Sadly not, except if it is an emergency. May I ask what it is regarding?
Me: I think I may have cancer.
Receptionist: How far away from the doctors office are you?
Me: About twenty minutes?
Receptionist: Come now.
Still, the tenth page on Google was in the back of my mind. They are just taking precautions, right?
After the appointment, my GP got in contact with the hospital in the town I were residing in and sent me a text message of where and when I should show up for the urologist. It was on the following monday, which luckily was my day off as I didnt want to take sick leave, still thinking it was possibly just a minor issue.
It was the end of the month however, which means pay day, and that means pay day beer with all the colleagues. I reluctantly went to the meetup, still not wanting to "out" my possible predicament.
Getting a cancer diagnosis is hard, but I would venture that getting it whilst brutally hungover is a bit rougher.
Sitting alone in the halls of the hospital, trying not to throw up and starting to formulate a script for the following phone conversations I had to have.
Who should I call first? What should I say? I should probably try to lessen the load. "Cancer" is such a harsh word and most have very gloomy perceptions of it.
I started every conversation with "Hi it's Anders. What I am about to tell you is going to sound worse than it actually is. I am ok and will remain so, regardless I was just diagnosed with testicular cancer."
I think my mom took it the worst.
A noteable reaction was as I was headed to the sperm bank the next day to make a deposit. I stood on the ferry and called a good friend of mine, and after going through my script for the tenth time he merely said: "I have bigger news! David Hasselhoff has gone missing in Europe!"
(Which he had, during a Gumball 3000 event)
It was the first time I laughed after being diagnosed.
Everything went fast. The urologist gave me the news on monday, the sperm bank trip was on tuesday and I was operated on wednesday. A friend noted that it was the worst Craig David lyrics he had ever heard.
I got a local anesthetic, epidural which is common for childbirth, so I was allowed to bring something to listen music to. I found an old mp3 player in a drawer but did not check what was on it, since I werent exactly sure what music you are supposed to listen to while being operated on anyway.
The large lamp in the operating room was positioned in such an angle that it also worked as a mirror from my perspective and I could therefor see myself being operated on in real time. (Oddly enough this didnt bother me, as I am very squeemish.)
So, just as I were watching the surgeon cut of the cancer ridden testicle of mine, I heard Chris Martin of Coldplay sing "I will try to fix you".
Apparantly they are not used to patients laughing during this procedure.
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