Occurred: June 2010-2016

I was sitting on the toilet with my pants by my ankles when I felt the lump. It was small and hard and it was on my right nut. I prodded it. I ran my finger over it. I squeezed it gingerly. It didn’t hurt.

I put it out of my mind. It was early June and I was 16. I had other things to think about – like video games, my impending math exam, and girls I would never get. Besides, it didn’t even hurt.

I checked the lump a week later. It had gotten bigger. I masturbated experimentally, to see if it was affecting my ability to cum. It wasn’t. I felt better. If it wasn’t stopping me from cumming, how bad could it be? Still, though, it had gotten bigger, which couldn’t be good.

Another week passed. I checked it again. It had grown noticeably. Now it was the size of my thumbprint, smooth and round. It was still hard and it still didn’t hurt, but nonetheless I was worried – it wasn’t going away. I was even more worried when, lying in bed that night, I grabbed my phone and googled my symptoms and saw that cancer was a possibility. My stomach sunk; however, I reminded myself that it could also be many other less serious things and that the internet frequently got this stuff wrong. Mulling over my predicament, running scenarios through my head, I fell into an uneasy sleep.

I woke up at 6 AM and heard my mom downstairs. What I had read the previous night was still in my head, and I decided I couldn’t ignore this any longer. There was no sense waiting; in case it was serious, I couldn’t chance it. I trudged downstairs, and stammered to her that I had a lump on my nut. Yes, those were my exact words. How else do you go about talking to your mother about your testicles?

A few days later I was standing in the doctor’s office and the doctor was feeling up my cajones. There was a lump, he said, but it likely wasn’t serious. Lumps like these were common and usually weren’t cancerous. Nonetheless, he told me to have it x-rayed; after all, we should be sure. I pulled up my pants, decided against shaking his hand, and left the office.

The X-ray Clinic was a small, sad building. My mom and I sat in the dingy waiting area on uncomfortable green chairs and I attempted to find something of interest in a Sports Illustrated from 1998.

Half an hour passed. My name was called. I entered the x-ray room. A nurse told me to take my clothes off and change into a long white gown. I did, and then she told me to lie on a bench and lift the gown up past my hips. I did – with some hesitation, because doing this exposed my genitalia. After a few seconds of silence she awkwardly told me to hold my penis away from my testicles.

Once she was satisfied my pecker had sufficiently cleared the area, she donned clear gloves and began rubbing gel on my ballsack. I was nervous that I was going to get hard; no girl had ever touched my sack before. This nurse was wrinkled, chubby, and smelled like mothballs and sauerkraut, but still, the fear was there; and of course, once you start worrying about something, it becomes that much more likely to happen…

Okay, no, I didn’t actually get hard – thankfully. She didn’t rub my balls for very long and the x-ray was quick. After the x-ray finished I redressed and left. I was relieved that it was over and that I would probably never have to do anything like that ever again.

My mom entered my room three days later with a sense of eerie calm. The clinic had called. They had found something serious. She didn’t tell me what, but she did tell me I had to go to the hospital the next day. So we did.

We entered the building and while we were waiting in line to see a receptionist my mom handed me some papers as she fished around her purse for my health card. I looked at the papers. They were covered in red ink and bright, imposing stamps. One line stood out. Malignant tumor, it said, in bold letters. All I remember thinking is: Oh, shit. What was going to happen to me? Would I need radiation? Would I need chemotherapy? Was I going to lose my beautiful head of hair? (I was an unabashedly vain teenager.)

We met with a surgeon. He was an old man with a stethoscope around his neck. He sat in an office chair and held a big stack of papers in his spottled, vascular hands as he talked. Testicular cancer. Surgery four days from now. They needed to remove my entire right testicle. And before the surgery, I needed tests done.

I was ushered into another room and they took blood samples. Then into another room where a nurse stuck me with suction cups and took readings. She warned me that pulling the cups off my legs was going to hurt because they were going to take my leg hair with them. She pulled. No hair came off. She was shocked. Apparently my leg hair is as stubborn as I am.

The next few days were otherwise normal. I felt totally fine. Like I said, the lump didn’t hurt. I posted a Facebook status informing my friends about my condition. They were supportive, and even arranged a post-surgery get-together, which gave me something to look forward to.

I wasn’t nervous. It was either get this surgery done, or die. I had no choice. Being nervous wasn’t going to help anything. Besides, I had faith in the doctors and surgeons – and my situation could be a lot worse. Other types of cancer required much longer term treatment. I was lucky that not only did mine not, but that the cancer had been detected early, further reducing the risk of relapse or spread.

Surgery day arrived. My mom drove me to the hospital. I was placed on a gurney and wheeled to a waiting area. It was a large rectangular room with massive florescent lights and cream-coloured tile floors and no smell. A nurse pulled a curtain around me, took my hand, and stuck a thick needle into it. Then she hooked the needle into a monitor that tracked my vital signs, and left. 45 minutes passed. Another nurse told me it was time. She wheeled me down a hallway and into the surgery room.

It was small and round. A team of doctors was inside. They had green smocks on, and they had white masks covering their noses and mouths and white gloves covering their hands. The nurse wheeled me into the centre of the room and the doctors surrounded me. The surgeon who I had met with before asked me how I was doing. I recognized him by his voice – his face was obscured by his mask. Fine, I told him, sitting up unconsciously. He told me to put my head back on the pillow. I did. The doctors started talking amongst themselves in doctor speak. Four milligrams this, eight quadracenes that. I moved my eyes left and right, curiously.

“I want you to put this on and count to ten.”

The surgeon was holding a white mask. It was like the one he was wearing, except this one had wires coming out the end. Okay, I said. He put the mask over my nose and mouth. I started counting. The doctors were still talking amongst themselves, not paying attention to me. I reached three. My ears started ringing. I was light-headed. Four. Dizzy now. Five. I was going to faint. I don’t remember if I reached six or not.

It was blackness with flashing dots and lines. There is one particular line I remember: gold and squiggled, and right of centre in my vision. It was an ethereal feeling, being out like this. Like floating. It was nice. I was in this limbo for what felt like six or seven seconds. Then I woke up.

I was lying on the gurney in a different part of the hospital. My eyes were crusty. My vision was foggy. I squinted. There were curtains on either side of me. I could distinguish two nurses with clipboards talking to each other in the distance. Everything was moving in slow motion. I looked down and a patch on my pelvis had been shaved and there was a long, stitched cutline and a yellow patch of iodine where the hair had been. I put my head back and closed my eyes and groaned. I fell asleep.

I don’t know how long it was, but I eventually awoke. I felt weirdly energetic. It was sort of like being drunk, except instead of incredible horniness I was just… happy.

I must have made noise, because a nurse walked over to me and started saying things that I couldn’t distinguish. Instead of words, it sounded like buzzing. I looked at her and around her was a shimmering gold ring. I said something and she laughed and so did another nurse in the distance. I fell asleep again.

When I woke up some time later, the effects of the gas had finally worn off. My cut hurt. The world wasn’t moving in slow motion. When the nurse approached and asked me how I was doing, I understood what she had said. I was okay, I replied. She wheeled me into another room where I was alone with a different nurse. This nurse told me I couldn’t leave the hospital until I had peed. I didn’t have to pee, though, so I lay with my eyes closed, imagining waterfalls and running water, trying to conjure some urine to my bladder.

I was still in this concentrated state ten minutes later, when my parents entered the room. I asked them how the surgery had gone. It had been successful, they said. The doctors were going to analyze the tumor and get back to us, but it looked to have been a success.

They waited with me for an hour, at which point I finally had to whiz. The nurse helped me out of bed and into the washroom. She remarked that I must have a high pain tolerance, because most patients couldn’t even walk after this surgery. She turned the tap on – to assist in ushering forth my urine – and left. I sat on the toilet and nervously waited. Slowly but surely, dark yellow pee trickled out and sloshed in the toilet bowl. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Despite the fact that I could (sort of) walk, I was put in a wheelchair and led to the outpatient area. The nurse helped me into my parents’ car. At home, I fell asleep again. When I woke up, my pelvis hurt. I looked at my incision.

It was covered in bandages, and definitely hurting. I toyed with taking some of the pills the hospital had given me, but I hate doing that, because I always worry I’ll grow dependent on them. In this case, though, the pain was egregious, and so I relented, and popped two. The pain dulled, and I took the pills regularly for a few days before weaning myself off of them.

My testicle was gone. I now had one ball. I must say, though, that I felt no different. I did not feel half a man, nor did I lean to one side. And, after my incision healed, I of course jerked off, and my cum was just as plentiful, and the orgasm just as vivacious, as before. The only change was in appearance: my ballsack now drooped, as in a pendulum, or an old man’s nose.

Quick addendum: some of my friends organized a post-surgery party (the image attached to this post was taken there – I’m in the middle). That occasion still, to this day, ranks among the most grateful I’ve ever felt.

A month after the surgery, I had my first follow-up consultation. It was at a different hospital than the surgery, though frankly all hospitals appear pretty much the same to me. It’s the smell, I think: a sterile, hyperclean anti-stench that leaves the nostrils withered and trembling.

My blood was taken and weight recorded. I was then led into a small white room containing a grey desk, two grey chairs, and a grey exam table adorned across the middle in shiny wax paper. After a lengthy wait, in which I amused myself by spinning in my chair, a tall, mustached, bespectacled man entered the room. A stethoscope dangled from his neck and a white hospital overcoat draped his slender frame. He shook my hand. “Hello”– he spoke quickly, and with a British accent– “I am Dr. Neville.”

I visited this hospital and Dr. Neville periodically over the next five years. Each time, just as  the first, my blood was taken, I was weighed, and I would wait a short eternity for the good doctor to appear. At each consultation I would receive an update – basically, whether it appeared if I was going to relapse or not – Dr. Neville would feel my balls, and then I would leave.

Dr. Neville was always somewhat brusque, likely because his position required so for the large volume of people he needed to see each day. Thus, I can’t say I really got to know him. However, he made touching my nuts about as un-awkward as it could be, and for that I was, and always will be, grateful.

I am grateful to most of the nurses who took my blood, too, as they were friendly and good – with one notable exception.

This was about three years into my consultations, so by that point I was used to the drill. I sat in the Dracula chair, as I had coined it, and the nurse, seated beside me, was a morbidly obese woman with a lopsided crew cut. The corpulent beast was yakking to another nurse on the far side of the room and, alarmingly, paying no attention to me. She prepared my needle carelessly, without so much as a glance in my direction, swabbed the inside of my elbow with the opposite of gusto, and tied a strip of rubber around my bicep without even a semblance of force. I was on the verge of voicing my displeasure when she abruptly jammed the needle into my arm and began sucking my blood. I had undergone this procedure several times, and it had never hurt this much. My head grew light, my skin clammy, and I broke out in a cold sweat. She finished her work and, laughing like the she-devil she was, asked sardonically if I was okay. I mumbled something and clambered out of the chair, supporting myself against the wall. I made it about thirty feet before collapsing on the floor.

Luckily, some actually competent employees were in the vicinity, and those angelic saints promptly hoisted me up, sat me in a wheelchair, and fed me sugar. I learned from them that I had had a vasovagal reaction due to the stupefying incompetence of that rotund, needle-brandishing troglodyte who fiendishly called herself “nurse.” I wearily cursed the vile wench.

(On subsequent visits, I never saw the bulky ogre. I can only hope that she was fired and/or hit by a truck.)

My final consultation occurred last summer and, oddly, it was bittersweet. I had somehow grown attached to the hospital, and, in a bizarre way, I knew I would miss my regular visits to that den of coughing, vomit, and sickness.

By the way, it doesn’t escape my conscience that, by all accounts, I should be dead right now, and that it is only due to my good fortune in being born in this era, and in this country, that my life was saved. This knowledge changed my life; I will try to avoid getting too sappy or too maudlin here, but I realized how quickly life can end, and thus how important it is to live it to the fullest. Also, a corollary point: the importance of living it for yourself.

As of this writing, I have not relapsed.