A cock and balls story…

checkThis isn’t something that I was going to talk about; until last night, in fact, I wasn’t even going to tell my parents/in-laws.  The only person I had spoken to was my wife.

…and the doctors.

However for two reasons the decision to tell the family was made: the first being that if they found out after the fact they would probably kill me, and the second being that it was good news.

Really good news.

Then, after speaking to my father this afternoon, his words stayed with me.  He said that I was really lucky that I wasn’t like some guys who never checked themselves and, even if they did, didn’t go to the doctor either out of embarrassment, immortality complex, or sheer stupidity.

Well, I don’t embarrass easily, know that – while I am hard to kill – I’m probably not immortal (hasn’t been proven wither way, yet), and have an IQ of 132 so am normally not stupid.  So, here’s the thing…

You see a few weeks back I started feeling some discomfort in my low stomach/groin and, occasionally, a feeling of nausea.  At the start I put it down to being tired, possibly a stomach bug, or even something I had pulled/hurt at kung fu; then a few days ago I found the lump in a private pace where, really, a lump shouldn’t be.

— An aside: it’s weird but the doctor, and then the nurse, then finally the consultant, all referred to it as a ‘scrotal mass’ but I think that lump is much friendlier …I may even have to give it a name. —

So, yes during a regular check WHICH EVERY MALE SHOULD DO OFTEN AND PROPERLY (if you don’t know how to do it look online or ask your health practitioner) I found a small, marble-like lump on/near one testicle.  It was a bit of a shock, obviously, both because of what it was … or could be … but also because once found, and ‘squeezed’ it became obvious pretty damn fast that it was the cause of the discomfort.

I left it a day or so then got my wife to check it too; at the start I was going to keep it quiet until I got it checked but then I remembered who I was married too and if I feared that not telling my parents and in-laws might result in death I knew that not telling my wife would result in me wishing for death!

Anyway, she felt it too so the next day I went to the GP who asked if I wanted a male doctor then remembered that there wasn’t one available, or if I wanted a chaperone in the room when she examined me.  I didn’t care if it was male or female checking me out as both would have been qualified doctors (one would hope, I am not sure that I would just want a random person checking me out quite the same way …though if Sandra Bullock was said random person, perhaps) so the lack of embarrassment or just the fact that it NEEDS done should be something that every male again takes on board: if you find a lump get it checked; if you are embarrassed, tough, get it done anyway!

The doctor referred me to an urology consultant for tests but told me that it could take about six weeks.  Instead of waiting I contacted a local private clinic to ask if they could fit me in and was told if I could get the referral form to them that I could have an appointment that very same evening.  I could so I did.

I wasn’t planning, when I got up that morning, to have  a strange man bring me into a dimly lit room, smear cold jelly all over my nether regions, poke, prod and photograph said regions  and even, at one point, fondling a part that has not had many male hands on it in its lifetime, I’m sure, to move it to the side so that he could get better access to Lefty (the testicle with the issue, of course) …no dinner, no flowers, not even a ‘by your leave’ just finger and thumb, lift, and move!

Despite my lack of plans that is what happened though, in medical circles, I am told that it is called ‘diagnosis’ and ultrasound testing rather than fondling.

While the report has not been written up, and there is some more testing on the horizon, the consultant was very confident (999 out of 1000, in his words) that what I have isn’t ‘sinister’ – in other words … words, I am told, are very difficult to hear and say, which is the whole reason I am writing this post, in the hopes that those afraid to hear/say anything actually CAN … not malignant testicular cancer – but rather a benign epididymal adenomatoid tumour.

Like I said there is more testing on the horizon, potentially surgery to remove it if it changes/grows or causes more discomfort …however due to my peculiar genetic make-up surgery can be an issue so while they commonly remove these things as a precaution (and to remove the discomfort) the risk of anaesthetic outweighs this currently; there will be, I feel, discussions between the medical folks about what to do next.  And I, my friends, will simply listen to their advice.

I realise how lucky I am.  I not only knew how to check myself but I also didn’t hesitate to go to a doctor and let them check it out.  Was it, despite my bravado, a very bizarre situation to have different people looking at, poking, prodding, and generally handling my cock and balls?  Was it scary waiting to find out what was going on?

Of course it was!

…but not to do anything about it, through embarrassment or fear, would have been worse.  It would have been the height of stupidity and, potentially, very, very dangerous.

So, the reason for writing this rather private and sensitive post is simple:

I urge ALL males to check themselves regularly, to ensure that they know how to do so and what they are looking for and, ABOVE ALL ELSE to seek medical attention if they do find anything.

Like I said, I’ve been so VERY lucky.  Even if Lumpy (I think that I’ve decided on that name – not original, I know, but it definitely fits) hadn’t been of the benign variety I was told that if it had been worse, if it had been malignant, I’d probably caught it early enough to be in the 95% of people who can be cured and survive.

If YOU don’t’ check, if YOU don’t seek help, YOU may not be so lucky.

For more information on lumps/scrotal masses visit: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Testicular-lumps-benign/Pages/Introduction.aspx

For more information on testicular cancer visit: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/checkum

New story acceptance: Wednesday’s Child

hungerproject

I am really pleased to announce that my crime/thriller short story, Wednesday’s Child, has been accepted for inclusion in the charity anthology ‘Murder, Madness and Mystery!’ from publisher Quiet Fury Books.

My story, and this anthology, is part of the Feed the World With Words project, with ALL proceeds going to The Hunger Project, which is a global, non-profit organization working to the sustainable end of world hunger. An estimated 870 million people all over the world do not have enough food each day.

The Hunger Project has received an A rating from Charity Watch. They don’t just feed people. They teach people how to feed themselves.

If you buy the anthology you won’t just get to read ten great stories but will also get the great feeling that comes with doing something good. Because of you, at least a few people won’t go to bed hungry.