Friday, December 15, 2006

My Cancer Week

Cancer isn't something I spend a lot of time thinking about. I'm still young enough to be out of the statistical range for most cancer. I had a friend back in high school who got testicular cancer, so I've always been a little paranoid about that (they call it "young man's disease"), but thankfully no tumor on my junk.

Last Monday I went in for my yearly physical. Pretty boring stuff. Except... there was this one thing to ask the doctor about. This one little... well, lump, for lack of a better term. On my left breast under my nipple. Not usually something you'd spend much time worried about, at least not me. But, for some reason I mentioned it to the doctor.

What I expected to hear was: "Oh, that's nothing, just some fatty tissue, maybe a cist."

What I actually heard was: "We're going to schedule you for an emergency ultrasound."

Less than 1% of all cases of breast cancer occur in men. But less than 1%, while still a statistical improbability, is not an impossibility. I don't have a history of breast cancer in my family. I'm not old enough to be "at risk". And yet. My physical was on a Monday and my ultrasound was scheduled for that Wednesday. That's a lot of time in which the mind can wander.

The ultrasound itself was something of an anticlimax. I was taken into a small, dark room, very cozy, and the (female) technician told me to take my shirt off and put my left arm above my head. I said something about her not usually seeing men in here, and she agreed, saying that it was a nice change of pace. She put some warm gel on my chest and rubbed the wand on the bump0 - all told, it took about three minutes. She gave me a towel to wipe the goo off and told me my primary care doctor would get back to me with the results.

The doctor called on Thursday evening, long past when I would have expected her to call. I was asleep (I keep odd hours). I don't really remember much of the conversation, save for the part where she said "it's not cancer" -- at which point my brain shut off, relieved, and I went back to sleep. I'm still not sure what it is, but it's not cancer.

So yeah, that was not a particularly fun week. But at least I don't have cancer. Merry fucking Christmas.

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