Surgery

There’s a lot to talk about in this post, but I thought I’d kick things off with a quickie update: It’s been one week since my beginning-of-the-month weigh-in, and yesterday I stepped on the scale and was down 2 pounds. Woo-hoo!

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Moving on…

If you’ve been a diligent Keep It Up, David reader (and I know each and every one of you has been, right?), than you’ll remember that, about a month ago, I fell off the wagon (and directly onto a pile a junk food) and stayed off the wagon for a couple weeks after a health concern unexpectedly threw me for a major loop. As the aforementioned two pounds shows, I’m back on the wagon and making progress on losing the weight I gained, but I left you in the dark about what else is going on. Well, you won’t be in the dark for much longer. Here’s what’s going on:

About a month ago, I felt a lump on my testicle. I found it a few days after my Aon Center stair climb, which left my entire lower body sore for about two days. By the third day, I was no longer sore, except for in one area, and decided it was time for a self exam. And that lead to me discovering the lump.

I freaked out. I called my Primary Care Doctor, and got a referral to a urologist. I talked to my dad, who is a physician. I did a little internet research, but then decided to stop, because my mind was already going to the worst places, and the internet only worsened it. I got anxious and scared, and started eating whatever I wanted, in spectacularly large quantities. I didn’t know if the lump was related to or caused by the stair climb, so I suspended exercising.

It took 9 days until I could see the urologist, who confirmed the presence of the lump and ordered an ultrasound. He explained that it could be any number of things, and the ultrasound would provide more information, including if the mass was tissue or fluid. It’s not painful, and I don’t have additional side effects so that ruled out a bunch of things, but there’s still a lot we don’t know.

The ultrasound happened about 5 days after that, and it confirmed that the mass was tissue. It’s actually a paratesticular mass, which means it’s not within my testicle, but adjacent to it. It could be growing on one of the structures around the testicle, like the epididymis. My doctor told me that there’s a chance it could be cancer, but there’s also a “slew of other things it could be” (and that’s a direct quote). I told that to my brother, who is a third-year resident at a hospital in New York, and he looked it up while we were talking on the phone, and found a 30-item list of possibilities.

So, I still don’t know what the lump is, but I’m going to find out soon, because my urologist wants to do an exploratory surgery. This is happening soon (I’m not going to share when or where on this blog, but if you’re a personal friend, reach out via phone/text/email and I can fill you in). IF YOU’D RATHER NOT READ ABOUT THE SPECIFICS OF THE SURGERY, SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH. He’s going to make an incision near my bikini line, locate the artery and vas deferens, and follow them to the testicle. The lump will be examined, and a sample will be taken and given to a pathologist, who will examine it on the spot. Depending on what it is and how and where it’s growing, a course of action will be determined and executed right then and there. It may result in an orchiectomy, which is the clinical term for removing the entire testicle, if need be. Then I’ll get stitched up and sent on my way. It’s an outpatient procedure.

I need to be prepared for the fact that, on the day of my surgery, I’ll enter the hospital with two testicles but I may leave with only one. That’d be a big ol’ bummer.

Emotionally, I’m in a much better place than I was a few weeks ago. The worst part about all this is the uncertainty – that’s what really threw me off my game. The stress, anxiety and fear caused me to return to some bad behaviors, which I’ve been able to pull myself away from. Now, even though I still don’t know what the mass is, a course of action is in place, and that’s reassuring. It’s also reassuring to know that it’s very likely that the surgery will take care of everything: if it’s something bad, than they’ll remove it. End of story.

I’ve also been reminding myself that even the worst case scenario isn’t bad at all. If it cancer, it’s one of the best cancers to have. Testicular cancer hardly ever spreads to other parts of the body, and it’s relatively easy to remove. Survival rates for testicular cancer hover between 95-99%; it has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers. Even losing a testicle isn’t really that big a deal. Men can function just fine with one; losing a testicle won’t affect fertility, hormones, or anything else.

It’s still a little scary, but now I’m looking forward to the surgery, just so I can be done with it and move on. I’ve undergone a battery of pre-op tests this week to make sure I’m healthy enough to handle the anesthesia that I’ll be given. I like my urologist, who is very nice and informative, and I feel safe in his care. My mom is flying out to be here with me during the operation, which I’m thankful for. I’ve done all I can do, and now I just gotta wait for the surgery to happen.

The other crappy part is that my doctor predicts that I’ll have to stay away from strenuous activity and exercise for 2-4 weeks after the operation. It’s especially crappy since I’ve worked hard recently to get back on track, and I’m in the middle of a good streak (I’ve exercised 10 of the last 13 days). I’ll try my best to eat well while I’m laid up, but I’m sure the lack of exercise will be a challenge. And I’m up for it!

I don’t know when I’ll next be able to post – it may not be until after the surgery. When I’m feeling well enough to do so,  I’ll update everyone. In the meantime, I’m exercising while I still can, and I’m eating well too.

Keep it up, David!

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23 Responses to Surgery

  1. Nina says:

    Prayers….you will be just fine.

  2. Good Luck. Prayers for you and your successful surgery.

  3. BIG hug. Hang in there, kid. We’ll all be thinking about you and sending healing vibes your way.

  4. Catherine Aubin says:

    Good luck to you!

    ________________________________

  5. nathanalbert says:

    You’re in our thoughts and prayers. You got this, buddy.

  6. Sending good luck vibes your way!

  7. Sylvia Hall says:

    You will get through this like all the other hurdles you have overcome, David. I’m so proud of your hard work and for inspiring others to get their acts together. You are a shining star.

  8. Lisa says:

    Prayers. Done. Totally believe in the power of prayer. And your approach to this is much like mine when I found a breast lump…let’s get on with it and find out what we are facing. I was fine and hope the same for you.
    Great job on the weight loss and workouts. You can do this. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and many others, Keep it up.

  9. verabear says:

    I join in the others in praying for the best.

  10. Dana says:

    Saying prayers

  11. Mary schmitt says:

    prayers are with you David .

  12. Leah says:

    I am sending you positive vibes and hoping your surgery goes exceedingly well with the best possible results. You continue to be an inspiration not only for your positive outlook but also for having the courage and strength to get back on track after slipping a bit. You are so strong and I am as usual in awe. Good luck to you on your surgery, be well.

  13. crystal says:

    you will be just fine. I know its a very scary feeling. last September while I was doing yoga I felt a pop in my C-section area. by evening I had a hard time getting off the couch, let alone keeping up with my kid. I saw one ob/gyn who did test and said nothing is wrong “could it have been gas?” seriously she said that. then I got a second doc to look at me. after many test and a really big exploratory surgery, I found out I needed a hysterectomy and the removal of my overies and scar tissue and bladder reconstruction im fine. it was painful. not going to sugar coat that, but it was for the best. so hang in there. get plenty of rest afterwards. stock up on books and mags and dvds . and eat gentle foods! like soup and stuff. trust me nothing is as painful as trying to pass gas when you are all ready in a lot of pain in that area. hope you feel better! good luck! also don’t be like me and refuse to take your meds! drove the doctors and nurses crazy!

  14. Went through something similar, took almost a year to get my doctor to agree to take it out. They said it was benign, but why keep a large lump on your breast for no reason other than to watch it. I would push for removal. It doesn’t serve any purpose. It sounds like you should be hopeful it is not serious or invasive. But no way to know for sure and that threat, can and will cripple you if you let it. It tore me apart. Prayers!

  15. Ginny Veloz says:

    Sending prayers to you David. As a two time breast cancer survivor I know exactly how you feel. The waiting is the worst part. I hope the surgery is soon so you can stop running through all the “what if” scenarios in your head. Nothing can be said to stop the worrying, just know you have a ton of people praying for the best for you.

  16. Leslie says:

    Yeouch David, that’s gotta hurt! I knew it had to be something significant to toss you so deep into the pit that you were in for a while. You are so normal, like the rest of us, that’s what makes you such an inspiration.

    Prayers to you, your mom and your medical team, may you all make the best choices possible and come out with the best results.

    Keep us updated 🙂 and allow your body time to heal, anesthesia can be a real bear.

  17. Tavi Stutz says:

    You are living proof of the Chumbawamba lyrics, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You ain’t never gonna keep me down!”

  18. Kelly Bo-belly says:

    Praying for you, David!

  19. Bev Jull says:

    Sending you wishes for a speedy recovery!!!!

  20. Natalie says:

    D – you are an inspiration on so many levels. Thank you sincerely for this post and for sharing what is going on with you. Hopefully it makes you feel loved and not at all alone; even though events like this can have that effect (personal experience speaking), sharing it as you have can sometimes be the perfect cure. You’ve made obstacles like this one so much easier for so many others, hopefully it’s done the same for you too. Best of luck, my fingers are crossed for a successful procedure and easy and speedy recovery. Sending lots of love from nyc. -xx-

  21. mike says:

    I love reading your blog. Sorry to hear about your medical troubles. Luckily you discovered then lump. I am praying for a full and speedy recovery and good news from the pathologist

  22. Hi, just wanted to mention, I enjoyed this blog post.
    It was helpful. Keep on posting!

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