Thursday, March 15, 2012

Half a Man

I suppose I ought to start this post with an apology.  It isn't very polite of me to make a major announcement about my health on a blog then not provide any follow-up information.  I am sorry.

Now that I have that out of the way, I will tell you what I have been up to.  First, and most important, I got married!  It turns out that the cute lady I proposed to was serious about marrying me, and we done got hitched.  There was even a small blurb about us in an online article; it was pretty cool.  Some of her family came to town, and some of my family came to town.  It was small, and I loved every second of it because Kim is a fantastic woman.  I would like to say that we had a wild honeymoon, and I suppose in a way we did, but two days after tying the knot, I had a radical orchiectomy.  In layman's terms, I had a testicle removed.

It hurt.

A lot.

It has been two weeks since the surgery, and I am still walking with a small limp.  The pathology reports came back, and I have  Stage 1 Testicular Cancer.  I met with my oncologist today, and he recommends that I have a lymph node dissection.  This is needed to verify that the cancer has not spread beyond the testicle and to eliminate future threats of a return.  Depending on the results of that surgery and subsequent biopsy of the lymph nodes, the chemotherapy treatment will begin.  If the cancer has spread to Stage 2, there will be a more aggressive form of chemotherapy.  My doctor said that I could have the option of doing the treatment at Sloan-Kettering or the hospital right across the street.  This is something worth doing, but it will be hard to give up the easy commute of walking across the street for treatment.

I don't know when this will begin.  Little Man has a birthday next week, and I want to play with him on that awesome day.  I also need to bank some sperm.  This might be Too Much Information for some of you, but I don't care; I like saying it.  I think it is funny--banking sperm.  After all the adolescent jokes I made about sperm banks, I now get to go to one!

On a more reflective note, I have had some small emotional struggles with my recent surgery.  While I have never felt my identity was directly connected to my genitals, having a testicle removed has made me reflect on what it means for me to "be a man."  As much of my study in Religion deals with gender roles and sexuality, I feel that I keep an objective view of gender performance, but losing an essential part of my "manhood" has allowed me to understand the world found outside of the traditional heteronormative society a little bit better.

I decided to not withdraw from school for the semester.  My professors are amazing people that will work with me if I start to fall behind, but I do not plan on letting that happen.  I love college, especially Columbia.  It is a kick-ass school, and my peers inspire me.

 Despite the upcoming difficulties, I consider myself blessed.  I have a beautiful wife who has not complained about the many extra chores she has picked up in my sickness, who never tires of showing love, who is always ready to give kisses and hugs, and who has enriched my life with more happiness than I have ever known.  I have a wonderful son whose infectious energy and excitement allows me to see my world as a giant playground.  I have a relationship with a Power greater than my own that grounds me to a truth of love, compassion, and hope.