You may have noticed some strange activity on my twitter and facebook pages. Let me assure you that I am all right, and that I am going to tell you whole story, starting now.
I had been having pain in my left testicle for about a month or so, and it started just before I went to go play airsoft in Ohio. After about two weeks the pain went away, and I thought nothing more of it.
Well Monday of this week it began hurting more, and eventually became pretty unbearable, so I went to the family practice physician down the street from my house. She did the entire physical exam on me, and really focused on what was wrong.
She didn’t know EXACTLY was the bumps and the hardening was all about, so I was referred to a urologist. I was also scheduled for an ultrasound that afternoon. The report they got back from that test said that I have 3 large neoplasms on the left side, as well as emlarged vessels. The doctor scheduled my urology appointment for Thursday of the same week. Tuesday went by rather slow, as the pain was not as bad as Monday but noticeable.
Wednesday I reported back for the first day of my set, but more on that later. Lets just say it was a high acuity day, and we earned our keep. I was still in pain, but not as much. I was praying it was something they could fix easily.
Thursday, I had my exam. I was still having pain that was still being controlled with ibuprofen.
When I made it to the urologist, I could tell by his body language that his thoughts on this were not good.
“There are only a few things that can cause this, and cancer is at the top.” he said. “We need to get the nut out, soon, like tomorrow.”
My heart sank. Things went from being lighthearted to being deadly serious. I zoned out for a minute while he talked about the specifics of the surgery, and rushed me out to the holding area at the office so that he could have my bio-markers for cancer drawn, then scheduled my surgery. I held it together until I got to the car. Then I didn’t break down, but I was so scared. The surgery scheduled was a left inguinal orchiectomy, which is an access to the left testicle through the inguinal wall for the purpose of complete removal. A 2nd surgery in 8 years. Fantastic.
My next couple hours were spent enjoying a dinner out with the family, drinking a hard cider, and talking to some friends. Thank God for them, all of them (and you know who you are, including the guys on my engine company and battalion) kept me focused and provided kind words. My anxiety level grew, but I felt good that whatever this was, was being resolved and would soon be behind me.
Friday morning I woke up at 0500, like I normally do when I am working, and put myself off sick with the fire department. I showered, brushed my teeth, and dressed in some light clothing. We dropped my son off with a church friend, and some of my church family/Lifegroup (including two deacons and the wife of the class teacher) came in after I got back from signing in to pray with us.
If you don’t have a religion, or believe that something higher exists, you will find that belief really quick when confronted with your own morality. Testicular cancer has an extremely high cure rate, 95% or higher. It made me feel good that the chances of survival are so high.
So I go back to pre-op holding, with is basically a staging area until you go into the OR. I met with the nurse anesthetist (CRNA), the lead surgical nurse, and my urologist came and discussed the surgery, marked where he was going to make his cuts, and took a quick history. We went ahead and scheduled my follow up CT scan for post-surgery to save me a step, and he went off to scrub in. The CRNA then gave me Zofran and Versed, and oh man, that was it.
They rolled me into the OR suite, and the CRNA took his position, I scooted over to the table. I remember laying the ground rules: no leaving anything in there so clean up when you’re done, no sewing up anything that shouldn’t be sewn, and operate on the correct side.
The nurse wrapped my calves with the air powered compression wraps, and the urologist came in to double check where he marked….
…and the next thing I know I’m wrapped up in a dozen blankets with a non-rebreather on my face. I think I annoyed the nurse when I kept moving the mask off of my face to talk. Ever had the post-surgery shakes? I did, I got some dilaudid and some demerol for the pain and the shakes. I felt better once they took effect. Since I was awake and in good spirits, they moved me back to the same day surgery area. Once they doped me up and I could pee again, I was ready to go home.
I was prescribed percocet and bed rest for a few days, and should be back to work in 3 calendar weeks, which equals out to about 8 or 9 shift days. I will post more after my follow up on Tuesday.