September of 95 I had noticed a painful area on my left testicle. I had just released from active duty in the United States Coast Guard. I had also worked with the Senior Medical Officer performing elective Vasectomies. I was also proactive in telling and showing members how to perform a testicular exam to rule out possible cancer. Now, knowing all that I said to myself "It's probably just a spermatocele" - though a bit rare as the semen swim in one direction most of the time... Anyway, two weeks went by and I was visiting a friend at the Naval Hospital which is also where I have full medical benefits.
I stopped over to the outpatient services and asked the nurse if what I was feeling warranted a review by the doctor. She raised her eyebrows and asked,"How old are you?" I said,"27". She blurted out an, "OF COURSE, YOU SILLY". I knew what she was going to say but, I just wasn't sure what all of the symptoms were and I didn't want to be an alarmist. Dumb huh?!
I was seen by a nurse practitioner and referred to a urologist for follow-up. In the mean time I went off the lab for a Beta HCG. I had done some study on the lab values at the university medical library. I knew when I met with the urologist what the acceptable levels would be.
I was given another testicle exam and the urologist had scheduled me for an ultrasound the following morning. I must say that I have a better understanding of what women go through having an opposite sex professional I felt very violated in a way. What got to me was the ultrasound technician touching and looking at me, a very private and personal part of me.
The urologist met with me the following week and stated that the pain in my testicle was more likely due to a spermatocele and that the ultrasound was clean and the HCG was 2. He impressed upon me that I should not have waited so long to have been seen in spite of the good news. I have continued to perform testicular self exams and have not found or felt anything suspicious.
I would think that the moral of my story is that no matter how little it hurts, you should get checked out right away. Working as a Health Services Technician and knowing what I knew I should have known better. Denial is a powerful thing, so is the power of guilt and embarrassment; however, when compared to the morbidity of the very curable TC, they aren't so bad. It takes a big man to tell himself something is wrong. It takes a bigger man to tell someone and ask for help. I thank God that a spermatocele is all it was it could have been much, much worse.
To the TC Survivors: You are all in my thoughts and FOREVER in my ...