Saturday, August 7, 2010
So I guess I have been a little remiss in updating what is going on with me. It has been a whirlwind. Let's put it that way. When we last joined the saga of Paddy's Testicular cancer, the doctors has said that cancer had spread to my abdomen. So what has been going on the last 4 weeks. We start at Thursday June 24th when Jon and I got the news that lymph nodes in my abdomen had grown. Wednesday June 30th I went into meet with a radiologist to discuss the options. Dr Ramin declared that I was not a candidate for radiation and that not to worry chemo would not be that bad. He also declared that if I need extra reefer that was okay, he did not recommend the cocaine but a little reefer was okay. A week goes by and then I meet with my oncologist again. She says that after looking at my scans again consulting with some other doctoras that she would like to wait before starting aggressive chemo due to the fact the lymph nodes that had swollen were not the normal lymph nodes that would grow if testicular cancer had spread. She was concerned that a secondary problem was happening. So I was refer to gastrointerologist for a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, and bowel emptying. Three really fun tests that I suffered through all which revealed nothing. As someone quoted "this is why they call it practicing medicine." So back to square one.
So this brings us to last week. I went in for another Ct scan and more blood work. I got a call friday from my oncologist and she said that the lymph nodes that were swollen in my abdomen were now almost completely gone. So yeah awesome I'm in the clear? Wait no just kidding.
Wednesday another appointment with my oncologist. Where do we go from here? I had two options. We continue to monitor and because my scans have been abnormal and then normal, monitoring would we mean a CT scan and blood work every 5 to 6 weeks for 5 years. Second option do a light round of chemo. Two treatments 3 weeks apart. This would bring my chances of recurrence down to less than one percent. Odds that I am more comfortable living with rather then monitoring every 5 weeks with a weight on my shoulders.
So this brings us to Friday August 6th. My first day in for chemo. I will be taking one drug called carboplatin that is infused intravenously over the course of about an hour. Since is only one drug I most likely won't have a lot of side effects other than fatigue and maybe a little hair thinning but if you have seen my afro lately I could use a little thinning. I am calling it diet chemo.
So today one day after treatment. I am tired. I am also taking steroids for three days and anti-nausea medicine for three days while side effects could be the worst. The steroids are making me jittery so I not sleeping well and am more tired. But I am napping for an hour or two and then I wake up starving and need to eat more. It is and odd schedule. But other than that i don't feel all that bad. Just tired and sort of sore. So that is that it I will keep you all updated better i promise. Thank you to all my friends and family that have been amazing supports.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I can't quantify how much I hate Lance Armstrong right now. He taunts me at every corner. I see images of him everywhere I go now, and I've started seeing yellow livestrong bracelets everywhere including on my oncologists. And maybe just because its summer more people are wearing a lot of bright yellow. Only select people can pull off bold color blocking of yellow. Yellow is not a great color on a lot of people, especially on cancer patients. I blame Lance for that. Lance Armstrong and I are enemies. He doesn't know it yet but I am sure he would be afraid.
It has now been four weeks since my surgery and four weeks of waiting. Have I said I'm impatient? I'm an impatient patient. I have survived a month long torture session and now face my demon. No I don't get face Lance yet, just images of him taunting me waiting rooms.
I had to wait four weeks for a second set of CT Scans to see if the cancer had spread. After drinking copious amounts of berry flavored barium solution and being injected with another contrast dye, I have to say it was better the first time when I was high off the post surgery meds. Being fully conscious to understand how bad barium is just cruel.
So today the results are in. Cancer has spread to my abdomen. Yes it is slow growing. I am in a way relieved. Now that I know, I can plan. After weighing the pros of cons of different treatment options, in concurrence with Jonny, I will undergo Chemo therapy.This was a difficult decision to make and one that will be more difficult to endure but will have the most favorable long term outcome.
To help with my planning of the next few months I met with a cancer social worker today. She was wearing yellow. It wasn't her color either. She decided to tell me a little bit about her problems, to which my inner monologue said "Um I don't really care about your problems Miss Over-share 2010; I have cancer dummy." Okay so if you know me well enough you know that was the PG version. I think that she should find a new profession I don't find her comforting or helpful.
So now I start planning. I plan to buy a lot of hats. I will be wearing a fedora at the upcoming nuptials of my brother. I plan on getting a tan. I plan on telling Lance that yellow is not really a good color for cancer.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I have decided that when you find out you have cancer, the first thing you should go out and do is get a tan. While this may not apply in cases of skin cancer I think it is the best advice I can give before you have a surgery to remove tumors from your body. Spray tan will work too.
The weekend before I had surgery, I spent a lot of time outdoors playing. I got some great color. I was blessed with skin that holds a nice bronzy tan. So flash forward to after my surgery. I had so many people coming over to drop off food or just come and keep me company. The first thing almost everyone said was how great I looked. Maybe everyone just expected me to look all cancery and or pale because I would be all sad about loosing a nut, but I think my bronzy glow helped me to look healthy and vibrant. I have determined that the tan help reduce cancer face by at least 83%.
I also highly recommend when you have cancer making sure you have really super awesome amazing friends. If you don’t have friends maybe you need to look at your social skills and tune them up a bit. I must to say that I have amazing friends and family. Since my surgery two weeks ago, Jon and I have barely had to cook. I have had rounds of fresh flowers, fruit baskets, and edible arrangements and so many great gifts with ball related humor. Although I have to say that I am surprised that no-one took to the opportunity to get me set of UniBall pens. It is now the only pen brand that I will use. One of my friends slash nurse maid for the day even took me to rent a wheel chair until I felt comfortable enough to walk again.
It has now been two weeks since I had my testicle pulled through my abdomon, and I am almost back to my old self minus a nut. The only reason for this is, is the care and support from all of those people in my life. They helped in my speedy recovery. It was also the tan.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
I started a blog talk about my cancer. In recent weeks I have been at a loss for words and been lax about posting mainly because I don’t really have any news. I had my first appointment with an oncologist. It left me feeling a little bit helpless, confused and stabby all at the same time.
The pathology of my right testicle came back seminoma tumor. While this type of cancer is the rarest form of testicular cancer, it is also the most treatable. I have been told that this cancer is very slow growing. Which makes it harder to stage. After my original scans taken post surgery the Drs had concerns about some small lymph nodes that are also concerning because I was blessed with more than normal. Do I get a medal for that? I now have to wait until June 24th to get repeat scans at which point they will see if these spots have grown, which if the cancer spread they will grow by then.
Although my Oncologist seems well qualified, she talked about her gut feeling. I don’t know If I like her saying “My gut feeling is that this has spread and you will need chemo.” I am trying to plan a wedding and my life for the next few months. I can’t plan around a gut feeling. I can’t plan anything when I don’t really know anything. This is the hardest aspect of having cancer. Not knowing and no plan. I like a plan. I am a planner. I want to know if I am going to have hair for my brothers wedding or for that matter mine.
So now I wait. Patience is not a virtue I was blessed with. I was however blessed with finding the love of my life; Jonny. He has the patience for both of us. He makes me laugh when I can’t deflect my pain with witty repartee. He finds joy that the needles they use to take my blood instantly retract. And he distracts me with Nintendo. And he never lets me wallow.
Jonny has been letting me play the cancer card. Which he also found for me. “Having cancer is hard, finding help shouldn’t be.” I use it when I am feeling lazy or really want to get my way. I don’t know how long I am going to get away with using it though. It is really handy so I keep it in my right pocket at all times just in case. It’s hard to argue with cancer.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
So Paddy took me to see Shrek 4 last night. I don't know why he wanted to see a horror movie the night before going in for surgery, but I left the movie scared spermless! There was a very pretty ball that was tragically murdered! And later there was another one that litterally exploded with Ogres! Ouch!
But today I start my big adventure. I was born in the Abdominal Mountains and my brother and I decsended to make a living for ourselves about 30 years ago. Since then we've been working hard to harvest the land and export our wares. If demand is any indication, they're quite popular, actually.
I've had a good life here, but I'm looking forward to exploring the world! I'll keep you updated on my travels! Stay tuned...
-Paddy's Right Testicle
Saturday, May 22, 2010
So before my appointment the other day I was contemplating the fact that I would have to drop my pants again for a stranger. It led to a internal monologue vacillating about my underwear choice for the day.
I don't want anything to flashy (like superman manties) or on the opposite side too grungy, you know the pairs you save for when you need to do laundry. It was a real struggle. The pair has to be subtle yet refined, like Friday night out on the town underwear. Black; basic black. Its always sophisticated and classic. I may have cancer but I refuse to be judged for poor fashion choices.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Today I had My appointment with the urologist. It was very straight forward. "We want to remove you testicle right away" Tuesday to be precise. I have been scheduled for a radical inguinal orchiectomy. This is a surgery that removes your nuts through your abdomen. As familiar as I thought i was with the male anatomy I did not know that the blood supply for your testicles starts in abdomen. I thought they would just open up the coin purse, but no its a little more invasive than that. They want to be make sure they get everything from the beginning on down. This appointment was also the fourth time a stranger in a two week period to got to third base without the pleasantry of dinner first.
My surgical team is the united colors of benetton. Not that it really matters but I really enjoy the fact that my surgical team could be on a poster for diversity. The resident who had the honor of feeling me up was persian. Dr Carl Smith the Chief of Urology black guy and then Molly his first assistant RN; white hippie. It brought me comfort all of them standing there discussing my surgery. It is also comforting that that they were all very warm and pleasant conversationalists. I have dealt with a few surgeons and they generally have the social skills of a porcupine. Although, Dr Smith did lose points when he made a Lance reference.
Althought I am happy with the speed at which this process is going, I am really upset that this is totally going to ruin my memorial day. I won't be able to play in my softball tournament which I have been looking forward for the last few months. Dr smith actually laughed at me and said that yeah I could play but I would be the one they would get out first cause I would barely be able to crawl to first base. Side Note: Recovery from this surgery will be one to two weeks and I can resume all normal activities, but I can't ride a bike for at least four weeks. Again don't make Lance references. Also due to the speed of getting me in for surgery I won't be able to have my balls out toga party. A Friend came up with games and a menu. Pin the balls on the Patty, cheese balls, Swedish meatballs, grapes, olives. Maybe I can just postpone it until my birthday. Cancer better not ruin my 30th birthday. I am hoping for new summer outfits maybe from Benneton.
Monday, May 17, 2010
...that led to series of events in which the family jewels got stroked by strangers and my hatred for Lance. All I will say is Men check your balls when they are warm. Summer has almost fully arrived so you will have ample opportunity or otherwise a hot shower works. You should know what feels right and what doesn't. Moving on. After, what I felt as an abnormality, I went to see the doctor. She, yes she, asked me to drop trou' so she could have a look see and feelsy. Exact words "Yeah you're right there is something off about that one." A week later I was set up for an ultrasound of my scrotum. To date it was the most uncomforatable moment of my life and I have had a few. I tend to embarrass myself. First off lets talk about Bob. Bob is Radiology technician who looked like Jerry Garcia if Jerry Garcia shaved his beard but kept the mustache and added curly cues to the ends. So Bob says "Alrighty pull your pants down and lay on the table I need you to relax and keep your head down" Well Bob I am balls out lying on a table and your putting warming gel on my balls, relax? Not gonna happen, but I will meet you half way at mild discomfort. So after what seemed like hours (ten minutes really) of the ultrasound wand gently massaging my gonads I looked over to the screen where Bob was busy pointing and clicking his way what i am sure could be masterpieces of the inner workings of my coin purse. It actually was sort of fascinating. Bob shouldn't have told me what they were looking for, outside mass on the testical, good, inside mass bad. It was inside. Then Bob says "Okay I am going to go get the Radiologist to make sure he doesn't need any more scans, stay put and I will be right back." Alrighty Bob. I was left to sit in a darkened room with my thoughts about my self diagnosis balls out with the door open and only a curtain to separate me from giving the rest of the radiology wing a floor show. I knew it was bad. Then Prateek, the radiologist, and Bob return; they are an odd couple not unlike Apu and Homer. They do some more scanning of the kids and then a further scan of my abdomen. Then in his Indian accent "Okay patrick with scans like this I am going to tell you that you have a form of testicular cancer and it will need to be removed." I started to well up. "Most likely we have caught this early but we will not know more until you have more blood work and you will need to discuss surgical options with a Eurologist" Tears. "Are you okay" Well Prateek you said cancer so no, no I am not allright. Then Bob taps me on the shoulder and says "Well you know that guy Lance Armstong he had same thing and they caught his late, and we're catching this early." Prateek: "And also this is the most treatable form of cancer." And there it was folks, the silver lining. The most treatable form of cancer. A mild case of cancer. Still doesn't help. You say cancer, I say give minute. I may be a man but I am fucking allowed to cry. Also this is also the first of many Lance Armstrong references to live strong and all that. All I can think about is, Do I have to start wearing Yellow and plastic wristbands? Yellow is not really my color, it makes me look sickly. I don't need to look sickly even if I do have cancer. Why couldn't livestrong colors be blue, you know blue for balls? I only ride my bike in the hipster earth friendly sort of way, and I wouldn't be caught dead in lycra bike shorts unless I was mocking someone. I am not going to win tour de France and I certainly won't be wearing a lot of yellow. I hate Lance Armstong now.
When people talk about other types of cancer, there seems to be an ease with which to give out details. Brain, Breast, Kidney, Bone you name it and everyone can pretty much keep a straight face, even me and I can and I find a reason to laugh at anything. Well I have learned when you are talking about testicular cancer its hard not to giggle a little when you start giving out information about your testicles. Maybe its the ease of humor and innuendo that can come along with balls that make it easier to laugh at it as a cancer. Maybe it's the fact that everyone reverts back to seventh grade when we talk about testicles that we laugh, or because men generally don't talk about their balls. Either way, I will laugh because it will me get through. I will make inappropriate jokes, because they make me laugh. I will laugh because laughter is the best medicine. This blog is for me to put down all the things I'm thinking and feeling and finding really hilarious. This will be a chance for me to get my frustrations out and work through a range of emotions. I will be sarcastic, and I will be honest. I will be vulnerable, but I will also crack jokes. Laugh with me, it will help.