The 5 Year Plan

What will you be doing in 5 years? Where will you be? What job will you hold? Thank goodness I’ve never been asked this question in a job interview because I certainly wouldn’t know how to answer it. I could go the Mitch Hedberg route and be a sarcastic dolt, or I could be honest and say “not a clue”. Because that’s as honest as it gets. Some people could answer this question with a purpose. 

In five years I’ll be the head of my division, at the top of my game, planning my way further past the top.

Not me. I’m not sure if its good or bad. It’s good to have goals but goddamn, 5 years is too far out for me. Too much can change. Too much can happen. The only thing that’s absolute for me is in 5 years I’ll be getting blood tests. In 5 years I’ll be getting CT scans. 

There are 3 doctors that I see currently. Before my cancer, I didn’t even have a primary care doctor. Now, I see an oncologist, a urologist and a primary . The urologist and Primary looked at my cancer in a positive light. 

“Congratulations, after we’ve removed your left testicle, taken more than enough blood, had you drink a terrible substance and tested your claustrophobia response, you’re cancer free.”-not really what my doctors said, but still.

My oncologist chose to go the route I more prefer. 

“You might still have it.”

Now, I don’t think he’s being pessimistic. I’m not pessimistic, not usually. But what I am is realistic. The day that I first met him, my oncologist held up a pen. 

“How many cancer cells do you see on the tip of my pen?”

I said I didn’t see any. He explained to me that that’s exactly true. I can’t see any. He can’t see any. The blood tests won’t pick up any. But what he could tell me was that there are hundred of thousands of cancer cells clustered onto the top of his ball point pen. (Not literally; he was giving an example. I feel the urge to tell you this in case you believe he was threatening me with some sort of “cancer pen”.) There could be thousands of cancer cells in my body right now and they would be undetectable to anybody. 

The 5 year plan is to make sure they are gone completely. My testicle has gone the way of the Dodo. I was extremely lucky in the fact that the cancer didn’t spread to any lymph nodes or organs. It will take 5 years before my oncologist feels comfortable saying I’m cured. 5 years to make sure no more tumors grow. 

Cancer is kind of a pain in the ass(Understatement of the century), because even after it’s removed from your body, you still have to worry about it. My CT scan revealed that I have 2 small nodules in my lung. Normally, the doctors wouldn’t worry about them. But because I’ve had cancer, they want to watch them. 

Also because I’ve had cancer, my primary care doc believes I should make a living will and an advance directive. She wouldn’t normally suggest this to people my age, but I’ve had cancer.

  1. Anybody that has had cancer knows that whenever there’s a small problem with your body, it has to be watched. High blood pressure could just be high blood pressure. But it could be more because (say it with me now): you’ve had cancer. 

The testicles contain semen. If you didn’t know that, please leave. Semen contain parts of the DNA and cell structures that can create life. When my tumor grew, it took all those “life cells” and ran with them. That sack on my sac was made up of different cells. A “germ cell terratoma” they called it. Terratoma. Terr-a-toma. Apparently this type of cell is undectable by blood tests and unresponsive to chemo. This is your classic good news bad new scenario. Good news: I don’t need chemo because they took it out all at once (by removing my testicle)

Bad news: if it comes back it will attach itself to a major organ and grow on it which means that the organ or a portion of the organ must come out…well shit. 

That’s it though: “if”

If my CT scans are clear for 5 years. 

If my blood tests come back negative for the other type of cancers my tumor was made of. 

If my right testicle doesn’t also develop a tumor (which now has a higher chance of happening).

If I keep living a positive, loving every minute of it, life.

If, then

I’ll be cured.

-AF 

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