Well, I last blogged at the beginning of the month saying
So, this first Friday in May, I’m going to look at setting up a more “rigid” writing schedule with Tuesday, being a Slice of Life day, and Friday, being a Friday thoughts day.
May has been one hell of a month for me. First, my daughter graduated.
My Facebook post went something to the tune of old people were those who had high school graduates. Now, I’m old. My daughter is an amazing young woman, smarter than I’ll ever be and blessed with a quirky sense of humor (and a love of puns) that will carry her far in life. My biggest worry about her: the ability to make decisions. She’s like me in that she gets paralyzed in the details and has a tough time following through. My hope is that she is better than I am working through all that as I am terrible.
Secondly, the graduation party. Lord save us all. We’ve recently added on to our home, adding a four season sun room off the south side, along with getting a concrete patio poured in as well. Our sunroom became “The Gabrielle Shrine” (look towards Iowa and you can see it glowing with goodness in the night sky), filled with all sorts of stuff from music, drama, swimming, track, cross country, 4-H, basketball, and academics. I will give her credit, she saved a lot of stuff, and my wife did a marvelous job of keeping things simple in the organization of it all. Three different binders of things to look though, posters from her swim teammates, and so many fun pictures. But, in Iowa at least, you can’t have a party without food, so food we had! Ham balls (Gabrielle’s favorite), pulled pork sandwiches (so yummy), pasta salad, cake, brownies, and ice cream! And our party was a small one! So we had a graduate, her accomplishments, food, and finally guests! There was so much conversation that it was hard to keep track of things. Memories brought up, new ones made, laughter, tears, just a wide range of emotions being played out over the course of last Sunday.
Finally, in the midst of all this, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
I knew something wasn’t right and I’d not had a physical in years, so three Tuesdays ago, I went in. The doctor was pretty frank in that it could be a couple of different things or a tumor, so he wanted it to be ultra-sounded, just in case. Wednesday, I got have have my testicles ultra-sounded, which is no where as much fun as it sounds, let me tell you what! 🙂 Thursday, I missed his phone call, but got a text that said please give me a call, we need to talk.
So, my afternoon was spent calling my doctor who told me based on the ultrasound, that it was highly probable that the mass in my testicle was cancerous and that I should be prepared to have it removed the following week. Next, talking to my wife relying that news, and next my principal letting him know I’d need the last two weeks of school off. The following Monday, we met with the urologist and spent some time going over what the procedure would be like, how I’d feel afterwards, along with showing me what my healthy testicle looked like and how the one with the cancer looked like. I was geeking out a bit because they use Doppler technology to see blood flow to and from areas, so I could plainly see the cancerous area was getting tons more blood than it should have.
The next day, Tuesday, I had to tell the kids at school. Damn, that was hard. I could not just tell one class, then allow it to seep though the rest of the grades, nor could I simply disappear as I’d be gone the rest of the school year. I played the day as if it were any other day, then at 3:10, I did the all-call, bringing the 6th and 8th graders together. I just was blunt, honest, and as forthright as I could be. I told them I’d be diagnosed with testicular cancer (que giggling) and that the next day, that cancer was going to be removed. I got some hugs, some emails, and some “holy crap” kind of looks. The harder part of this, telling the staff. Our staff is one who’ve been through a lot together. This is 17 years at this school and many of the staff have been there longer than I have. It was like telling your friends, your brother/sister, and mom/dad all at the same time. While I didn’t break with the kids, I cracked with the teachers. Between the two groups, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
That Wednesday, I was out for about an hour during the surgery, then a couple of hours in recovery where I had a good conversation with a nurse about both our daughters graduating. The problem is, I remember none of it! 🙂 Surgery was about 1:00 PM and I was home by about 8:00 PM that night.
I received a call from the doctor last week and was told the cancer is what he suspected (seminova), which is a slowly growing, less aggressive form of cancer. I had a CAT scan after the surgery, which turned up nothing in my lymph nodes or my lungs (testicular cancer likes lungs for some reason) and my blood work did not turn up any markers for cancer at all, both really good things.
So, I go back next week for a follow up CAT scan and exam, at which point if things are looking positive, the standard treatment is either a round of chemo, around a radiation, or simply going into surveillance mode. I will be having scans for at least the next five years, so the doctor said I could very easily stick with the scans and not worry about chemicals right now.
Yes, May has been one hell of a month, a month of massive, life-changing events. I hope that June can give me a bit of peace, because I’m really looking for it right now! 🙂