Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'll Have The Chemo, Please.

Well, the meeting with the radiation oncologist was enlightening. He was very informative and presented me with a couple of options. First off, he corrected some of the numbers I was led to believe were true. My urologist has said that 90% of men in my position will not have a reoccurrence at this point with just surgery, and he said that number was closer to 80%. I told him the point was moot, that I was going to have radiation no matter what the numbers were.

He explained what the radiation would entail. First, they would evaluate my sperm count before they did anything. Turns out there may be a chance that the cancer has left me sterile already. If that's the case, then there is really no need to turn any of my guys into "mikesicles" for future use. I asked how could the cancer, which was in one testicle but not in the other, leave the unaffected testicle sterile. He said they didn't know at this point. They just know it happens.

This has been the most frustrating part of this whole experience for me...not a lot is known about testicular cancer. Here is a pretty major symptom (at least in MY mind) and the medical community doesn't have a clue as to why it happens. We members of "Team Uno" need a Susan G. Komen type person to spearhead a lot more research into this thing. Lance Armstrong is great an all, but we have a lot more learn, and I don't think a Sheryl Crow dating, biking obsessed Texan is the answer. Tom Green took a stab at it too, but still...come on. Sterility? For all the talk of the world still being dominated by men, you'd think that this is something they'd want to look into. But heavens, no. Let's not talk about our nuts, and don't you dare talk about the possibility of being sterile. That's not manly, I guess. Maybe because it involves feelings. Well, I'm not wearing Prada, I watch lots of football, I look terrible in taffeta, I wield a pretty mean power tool, I love red meat, and I like to scratch myself. And guess what? I'd like to TALK about sterility. Steven K. Galson, do you hear me?

Okay, back to the visit. After the sperm assessment and it's findings, I'd bank some of my boys (if necessary) and begin radiation. 10-15 visits. The drawbacks to the radiation are sterility (WHAT? DID HE SAY STERILITY AGAIN?), possible malignancy 20 years down the road, and all the usual nasty side effects. He talked about the process, when they'd begin, and stuff like that. But then he told me that a single round of chemo (1-3 days) is as effective as going through the radiation. And there are some benefits to chemo over radiation. First off, it's not as time consuming. Second of all, the chances of a malignancy down the road are less. And, chemo covers the full body, not just the localized area in question. And I believe the chance of sterility (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, THERE'S THAT WORD AGAIN!) from the chemo is less than radiation. Sounds pretty good to me. So, in the coming days I'll have a sperm assessment and a meeting with a chemo oncologist to get more details. Honestly, though, Angie and I are leaning pretty heavily to chemo. I could have it done during Christmas break and not miss any school.

No matter what treatment I choose, it wouldn't begin for another month. I'm still sore from the orchiectomy. I have a nice bit of scar tissue forming, which will probably mean I'll need to get bigger pants (it's right at my belt line.) Guess who's asking for pants for Christmas?

So that's all the news that isn't for right now. I'll have lots more to talk about in the coming weeks, though....

including STERILITY! :)


Anonymous said...

It pains me to mention
These varicose concerns

While I have to tolerate you family jewels, I really mustn't grumble

Opus said...

For the scar tissue: Go to Walgreens and look in the suntan lotion section, or the skin care (not hand lotion, though) for cocoa butter sticks. Cocoa butter is also used to help reduce stretch marks, Angie. Get the stick form, not the jar or tube.

Rub the cocoa butter on your scar every time you see it. This helps in two ways: 1. The pressure of rubbing the scar helps break up the scar tissue and 2. the moisture keeps the skin from tightening and helps you feel better.

If you can't find any cocoa butter sticks in your area, let me know and I'll send you some.