Tuesday, 28 June 2016

What a dick cancer is

So, I've been away for a bit. And not just because I'm a lackadaisical bastard, with a knackered laptop (for the record, I'm using my partner's computer to write thing). Turns out I had a bit of the old cancer, like you do, so my mind was elsewhere. I don't really do personal blog posts, because 1; I'm never happy with how anything I've written about myself turns out, and 2; I have so few readers- that, if I turned on AdSense I would have to pay Google- there's no point in sharing my inner most thoughts. But I felt like writing about this, because it's a big thing for me. So I'll just come right out and say it, I had cancer...in my dick.

Yes, right on my cock. There's no ill-judged joke about Total Biscuit coming, I really had penile cancer. One of the rarer cancers, more so in men under 50 (I'm 36), because I'm not one for the  common deceases. It started about four years ago when I noticed a white mark, about the size of a grain of rice, on the skin of my old chap- just under the brim of the helmet if you were wondering- and, like any man would, I ignored it until it became too irritating to live with.  After a visit to my local sexual health clinic, and a slightly awkward biopsy (but honestly, a needle going into your pecker doesn't hurt any more than if it's going into your arm) the stain got brushed off as dermatitis. That it would go away in it's own time. It didn't. Another couple of years of ignoring it,until the irritation became a constant agony. A xoiple of years went by until I saw my doctor, who referes me to a urologist, and identifies my prick problem leukoplakia. It had spread to the the inside of my foreskin and had become like scar tissue and hurt like hell. Walking was bad enough, but trying to do my job, cleaning, felt like satan was rubbing sandpaper against my peen. The skin, I was told, was so bad, it was best taken off along with the biopsy, seeing as it was hurting me so much. My main concern was getting a bit of a wink cut off, not cancer- which I was told was a 1% possibility- but I did think on that 1%. The chance that I could have a terminal disease, how would I get all my affairs in order? How long could I keep working? How many shangs did I have left in me? But it was only 1%, I was more worried about the surgeon making my little buddy look like a half-chewed salami roll.

Oh doctor, how long will it be until I can wear my skinny jeans again?

After a successful circumcision (mazel tov!) and spending a week lying down in agony, throwing up from all the codeine, playing the shit out of Resogun, and binge watching youtube videos about Japanese vending machines, I was able to move about, slowly, despite the stitches in my knob feeling like they were attached to a thousand nerve endings. I thought as soon as the stitches wore away, that was it, all done. But the biopsy said otherwise, the fucking one percent! Apart from shouting "fuck" at the news, I wasn't despondent or crying, or any of that other stuff you see people do in tv and films. The whole time I had the cancer on my skin, I didn't feel like the thing that was causing me so much discomfort was potentially killing me. To be told I had cancer was unreal, and it still feels that way. I don't know if that's me sticking my head in the sand or I'm magnanimous as a sloth on valium? I didn't feel any different- apart from the skin thing. And yes, I thought about the worst case scenario and assisted suicide. But the only way you'll ever catch me topping myself in Switzerland is if things have gone off the rails, and I've conked out from a Toblerone overdose. As things stand, at time of writing, I'm both ok and about to hear bad news, or to use the technical term "Schrodinger's cock".

In about a week, the doctors will have a dig in my lymph nodes, to see if the cancer has spread to the rest of my body. Then I'll see if it's time to worry about endless pain and my plonker falling off.  So, in the meantime, I'm writing this blog. If only to tell people, especially men, that if you see something on your junk -or anywhere on your body- don't turn a blind eye to it. Get it seen to. And if you're not happy with the diagnosis, get a second, third, or fiftieth opinion until you're satisfied it's been sorted. That mark or lump might be nothing, but it's better to remove all doubt. It may be a fuss over nothing, but it might just save your life. So do that.


I should of done this months ago but I've never been one for writing about my private life to any great extent, plus I suck at this. Well what do you want from a blogspot? Anyway, in late summer I was to have my lymph node biopsy. That would involve having a CAT scan, then a surgeon would make two cuts into my groin (around the outer edges of the pube triangle) to remove some of my lymph nodes, as that's the first place any cancer  would show up if it had spread to my body. If the prospect of having my junk prodded about wasn't bad enough, I had to be at the hospital at 7 am. A morning person I am not. Add in the fear of what might happen to me and that's one shitty morning.

Even at seven in the morning the out patients waiting room was full of people. Thankfully, I had experienced the long hours it takes to get seen on the NHS, so I saw fit to bring a book (Jon Ronson's The men who stare at goats) so I had something to pass the time in between the instances when some deaf old bastard spent several minutes at reception doing the comedy "WHAT?" routine with the receptionist, then to suddenly yelp- to anyone unfortunate enough to lock eyes with her- "I USED TO BE AN ACTRESS". No idea who she was mind. But she wasn't a patch on a wonderfully miserable, even older, bastard who would sit perfectly quiet in her wheelchair for about 20 or so minutes until she'd swear her head off at some poor nurse, who had to explain to her that she couldn't just instantly have her operation and she needed to fill in the form they gave her. "I CAN'T READ IT", she'd wail- which from now on is my official retort to anything. "Excuse me sir, but the sign clearly states it's illegal to urinate on the meat counter", I CAN'T READ IT! To be fair, at that age, every spare minute is valuable, so I'd probably be a grumpy old ratbag to everyone too.

Despite being the less invasive of the two procedures, I was most worried about was the CAT scan- as the last time I had one, the nurse stuck the IV tube in me roughly, and it felt really weird feeling that radioactive dye jizzing through my veins. And that was just in my arm, this scan was gonna be on my crotch. But, as luck would have it, (even though having a needle go into your penis feels no more painful than going into your arm. Yes, really) the doctor slapped some numbing cream on my penis, so it was no skin off my nose when the specialist jabbed a syringe into my bell end several times. Just like when your gums get the Novocain, you can feel something is touching but you feel zero pain. The scan itself was nothing eventful. All you have to do is lie still while the machinery moves around you- yes, like the one out of Akira- take a break for 40 minutes, then have another scan and it's done. Now the hard part.

A few more hours of reading about the alarming extent the US army put resources behind people who sold themselves as real life Jedi knights, came the time to prepare for the op. If you ever wondered what I really looked like; either some kind of Adonis, or you're one of the select few who mistakenly thought I was my twitter avatar, let me burst that bubble. I'm a big old fat man. Like a pear with four toothpicks stuck in it. Which means a hospital gown never fits me. Add in the compression stockings and I look like Doctor Robotnik in a pregnancy dress. Honestly, I don't know how women put up with dresses and skirts, when they leave you so exposed. I couldn't relax in the waiting room for fear of showing off my radioactive cock.

Over two hours of reading my book and occasional glances at the TV later, I finally got called up for my biopsy. Just like before, they stick a IV of morphine in me, I nod off, then wake up feeling like I had one of my old drunken black outs. I was an outpatient, meaning I was to go home that day, which was fine with me. As someone who suffers from anxiety around strangers I did not want to stay overnight. I asked every doctor I saw that day that if I would be able to go home the same day, and they all said yes. That was my first thought when I regained consciousness, to call my friend to come get me. However, the nurse wasn't happy that I kept falling asleep- probably something to do with being up since five in the morning. Desperate to be sent home, I was internally screaming at myself to wake up but,  much like when someone who is really drunk tries to act sober, I only looked more drunk. That must have been why the nurse was absolutely not letting go me home. Despite some oxygen and a cheese omelette (not great, but I hadn't eaten all day so it hit the spot) I was still sporadically falling asleep. Probably because I hadn't had any kip and was still fucked up from the morphine. Regardless, I was staying overnight.

Even though I was sharing a ward with some middle aged duffer, who loudly chatted with his mate on skype for most of the evening, and another guy who had paid the £10 to have the TV on by his bed, I had one of the best nights sleep in a long time. Again, most likely down to the morphine. The following morning I was able to have a look at what the surgeon did; my pubes were shaved off, and either side of groin, the stitches were secured with a glue that resembled the burnt edges of a cheese toastie, and- either by way of the radioactive dye or the antiseptic- my little dickie was a dark shade of blue/green. And yes, when I needed to go to the toilet, my piss was bright green, like Fairy Liquid. But just for the first piss. After my partner turned up, and some hours waiting for a doctor to sign me out- but not before he peeled my gown back to reveal my discoloured member and go "ah, there's the smurf penis". I don't care how secure you are. No man wants their dick likened to a famously diminutive cartoon character, blue or otherwise. The bloody cheek of it! But I got to go home, so the last thing I was gonna do was complain, and thus began two weeks of healing up and codeine-induced sickness, which is like being drunk but without the fun bit. Just straight to part where you feel like throwing up and want to stay recumbent for the rest of your life.

After a fortnight of rest I was back to my shitty evening job and back to normal. Except for the bit where I was given the second degree for having to take time off work for medical reasons that I had okayed in advance before both of my operations. Nonetheless, I still had to tell my boss- without yelling "I was trying not to fucking die"- the exact reasons for my sick leave. Which is just the ticket, when you're waiting to see if you have a fatal condition and the stitches on your crotch feel like a frozen sausage is jabbing into it, every time you crouch down to pick something up. Yeah, cheers for that, you gray-suited, boring, wanker.

Less than a month later I had the follow up appointment. My partner insisted on coming along, which was something I wasn't mad about- because shock horror! The guy who hides behind a duff games blog has intimacy issues- but didn't want to say no, because they put their life on hold since the moment I got diagnosed. So there was no way my lame attempt at buffering them from bad news was happening.

Thank fuck! The biopsy came back negative. From the moment I heard the word cancer, my life had been on hold. The negative result unpaused that. Now my life can carry on without the caveat of "oh, but I might have cancer". All I have to do is go back to the Macmillan centre every three months for a ultra sound scan (which takes 10-15 minutes tops), to make sure the cancer is still gone, for the next few years, then every six months for some years after that. And if the cancer stays the fuck away after all that, I'll be officially cancer free. I'm not gonna talk about "battling cancer" simply because I didn't. The doctors and nurses did all that. And the most credit needs to go to my partner, who was the one who insisted I see my GP in the first place. If it wasn't for their persistence, if I had gone a week later, the results of my biopsy might be different. And if it wasn't for my partner's faith and support, my cancer story wouldn't as irreverent. I don't know what I would of done without them.

So, to reiterate, fellas, if there's something wrong with your genitals, get it seen to as soon as possible. It's nowhere near as embarrassing as you imagine, and a uncomfortable examination is a small price to pay for saving your life.

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