To be delicate about this is impossible. This is written as a precautionary tale and not some moronic bit, loosely called comedy, you’d find in the various gross-out movies so popular right now.
Much to my dismay, I found a marble-size lump on top of my left testicle recently. Laura and I had returned from a weekend in El Paso with KU football. (Feel free to insert all the jokes about testicles and wild weekends in Juarez now.) Now that those jokes are out of everyone’s system, let me get serious.
Few things have ever set me reeling as that discovery did just two weeks ago. My mind instantly raced to the worst possible scenario. Just the thought of testicular cancer was numbing.
It was night and my doctor was unavailable. Whatever Laura said as we sat and talked, I missed. All sorts of images flickered in my mind like an old time black and white movie running at hyper speed. My thoughts were of her and my daughters and what the worst would mean for them. What about my job, my photography, my running and riding? How in the world could we pay for what awaited us. I’d really look bad bald. My mind was a complete mess.
The brain is such an amazing organ. The power it holds to control our lives, thoughts, hopes and dreams can be so easily overwhelmed by doubts, fears and irrational thoughts. At that moment, with Laura beside me, dark thoughts were running well ahead of the pack.
It would be unfair to keep you in suspense any longer. Fortunately, all indications are that I do not have cancer. An infection in the epididymis seemed to be the problem. These tubes that run from the testicle contain a reservoir. That area became infected. An uncomfortable long bike ride before the trip and an amorous evening with Laura in El Paso compounded the problem. A round of antibiotics seems to have returned my delicate area to normality.
The point of this story is that we often hear how men and women should take the time to check themselves regularly for signs of testicular and breast cancer. I have always been pro-active when it comes to my health care. I checked regularly and will continue to do so the rest of my life.
I have been remarkably blessed to have never faced any serious illness. While I have broken bones and done many crazy things in the pursuit of fun, my injuries have still left me in charge of my future. Even after breaking my femur and pelvis and being told I might never walk without a limp, rehab was still mine.
Sadly, many friends haven’t been as blessed. I lost a good friend from my Arizona years to testicular cancer. He had been playing tennis and noticed swelling. His doctor assured him he had only strained the area and would be fine. Months later after surgery and heavy chemotherapy, my friend no longer played tennis.
By bedtime on the night of my discovery, my thoughts had moved from family and my own personal well being to those like my Arizona friend. As I fought for sleep that night, I tried to imagine how gutted they must have felt when they actually heard that awful word – cancer.
Sleep finally did come and calm came back to my life thanks to one constant in my life – my blessed Savior. The challenges in my life have been my greatest blessings. They have exposed all my weaknesses, all my sins and all my hopelessness. I have had no one to turn to other than my Savior, and He has always been there for me. Drifting off, I knew He always would be. The courage to face any future came with that peace.
One great scare has come and gone, I pray. Surely there will be others. For now, I will check myself and urge you all to do the same. Let me also say – May the Lord bless and keep you all, my friends.