“It looks like you have testicular cancer.”
That’s what I was told the evening of March 3, 2021.
With a concerning lump on my, ahem, nether regions, I had sought help at the emergency room, underwent testing and was met by a male and female doctor in a dimly-lit room all within the span of about 90 minutes before those words rang through my ears. They walked into my quarters — I was catching up on Villanova and Creighton, expecting to return home to write off the game — and immediately I knew something was … off.
“Where’s your dad?” asked the female doctor, who noticed that he was in the waiting room with me before examining me earlier. Whatever news she wanted to deliver, she clearly felt it important he was there. Not a good sign!
As she went to the waiting room, I looked to my left and saw the male doctor. We locked eyes and I gave him the nod as if to say Spill the beans, chump.He then delivered my diagnosis.
A sharp sense of uncertainty, of fear, of confusion, washed over me like a tidal wave. Won’t forget that. A warmth rushed all the way from my chest to my head in an instant. The heat, and the pounding rush, reverberated throughout my entire body.
The other doctor returned with my dad and she delivered the same news to me for a second time. I pretended to hear it for the first time with my dad. It was a terrible moment, seeing my dad react to that. But I am grateful he was there.
Delivering that news to my wife over the phone — that I have cancer, and that surgery would take place the next day — was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. So hard I barely remember the call. And because I’m a jokester by nature, it took some convincing. I had to put her on speakerphone after delivering the news twice so my dad could confirm that what I was saying wasn’t some cruel, twisted joke. It felt like it was. Delivering that news was devastating in itself — doing it repeatedly over the phone because your spouse is in literal disbelief was pretty surreal. Do not recommend.
I had surgery the next morning— an orchiectomy, they call it, which as it turns out is medical jargon for when they … well, you can use your imagination, kids.
The days and weeks since have consisted of undergoing scans, understanding the scans, seeking opinions on said scans and evaluating options. The plan for now is one round of chemo starting Monday. Here I’ve been hobbling around like a hollowed-out Mr. Peanut throughout March Madness, but finally we’re on a path to try and exterminate this thing. Pumped about that.
If you’re a fella and all of this frightens you, my advice is: Check yoself. Get a physical exam annually with your doctor. Make sure if your doctor does not examine your balls, that he or she shows you how to do so. Here’s a link with a three-step process that walks you through that. I encourage you to do this once a month. It takes less than a minute.
One final note: Writing about personal things is not my strong suit, not only because I don’t ever do it but because I am a generally private person, and so divulging anything about myself in this capacity where anyone can read it feels very hey, look at me-y. That is doubly true writing about my nuts. Er, nut.
But, I do believe this happened for a reason. Or at least enough people have told me some iteration of that enough times over the last month into brainwashing me into thinking this is true.
Now, I’m still not sure why. Maybe I can make a difference as an advocate for simple things not often discussed, like checking yoself monthly. (It’s now testicular cancer awareness month — I mean, c’mon.) Or maybe someone will see Jesus through me and my horrific dad jokes. Or, maybe, and I think this is probably true, asking why in this moment is silly. I don’t know, man, I’m in uncharted waters. Regardless, I am ready to get this fight rolling and am thankful for all the support from my family, friends, CBS family and others over the last month.
Now let’s run the score up on this thing.