|Meeting Donnie. I swear the shirts were unplanned.|
|Text "@selfexam" to 81010 for monthly reminders|
to do a self check
I had grown rather attached to my testicles over the past 25 years (well, they were more attached to me) so, as I stood there in the shower, I knew something didn’t feel quite right.
This wasn’t the first time I had felt it either. In mid-September, in a similar showering episode, I had felt what felt to be a pea-sized hard lump. I thought back to my annual checkup (which I had neglected this year) and how the doctor always described lumps as something to take seriously. What I was feeling seemed to fit the bill.
I told my fianceé, Mallory, about it, and she started getting a little anxious. Rightfully so, since the prior year, she had gone through a similar scare after finding a lump in her breast. It shook her to her core, but luckily it was determined to be something other than a tumor and she had it removed. I was hesitant to tell her, as I did not want to bring back bad memories, but I did anyway. I undersold the situation a little bit and told her between not being sure what it was and my old health insurance giving me very little coverage, I would continue monitoring it at least until my new insurance kicked in.
|With over 50% of young men not knowing or |
being unsure about how to do an exam, consider
sharing this post with the men in your life.
Or maybe my uneventful health history caused me to be less worried. Perhaps, because there was no "pain" associated with the lump (like many testicular cancer survivors mention), I thought it was nothing. To be perfectly honest, I felt 100% healthy and fine. Just a few weeks ago, I had completed a Spartan Sprint and was jogging in the mornings before school. I had no fatigue, headaches, swelling, fever, or anything that indicated I was sick. Either way, I didn’t feel anything at the time, so I apologized to Mal for working her up and put it out of my mind.
Of course, I thought of that moment again on that fateful October morning in Kentucky. This time, as I checked myself in the shower, I definitely felt something, and it was bigger than I remembered. Whereas in September, it was one small pea-sized lump, this felt larger. There also seemed to be more areas of concern. For lack of a better way to describe it, think of a jellyfish wrapped around a rock (or, for you sci-fi fans, a face-hugger alien). Now, just a few short weeks later, that’s what it felt like around my left testicle. I knew I couldn’t put this issue off any longer. My insurance had just kicked in, and I needed to make some calls.
*Regular self-checks are the main way testicular cancer is detected early in men. It may be awkward to tell a guy in your life to "Go play with yourself," but it could save their life. Please take a moment to share this post with as many men (of any age) as you know. Like I said, I felt perfectly healthy, and the only indication that something was wrong was the lump. This may help them to think about it more seriously. Leave their reactions in the comments below.
Editor's note: This entry was cross-posted on the Testicular Cancer Foundation's blog.