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I’ve never had a reason to talk about this, but subtly with this sort of thing usually isn’t best: One of my roommates has testicular cancer. Actually, he had it until he got his left nut chopped off. So, he now has the ability to claim surviving cancer on one front as well as battling it on another. That is to say, he started chemo today because the doctors at Sloan Kettering think the cancer might have moved into his lymph nodes. So in three months he’s going to come back home and chances are, he might even still have his eyebrows. But the point is, cancer changed this man’s life; no matter what happens after he gets through this, Fuck it. He survived cancer.

He showed up on Friday with a very lengthy text message detailing his plans and his intentions for the entire weekend: “I’m coming in.” We proceeded to get shitfaced and discuss politics, cancer and optimism. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that he was depressed before cancer, but oddly enough, cancer seems to be a very good thing for his outlook. At one point during our discussion he turns to me and goes, “I’ve got to be like The Hold Steady. You know, Stay Positive. The sack’s half full.” At which point, I applauded him for his brilliance, integrity, and taste in music. He’s got a 98% chance of survival and the only thing that won’t go back to normal is the rubber superball he has as placeholder. He’s reducing his toxin intake on all fronts and gaining a clinically-prescribed case of agoraphobia. He’s kind of got to give up the horizontal handshake–his ex has made that rather easy–and now he’s even afraid of shootin’ rubber bullets. But I mean, he’ll be up and running in due time and you know what? By the time he’s good to go, He’ll have survived cancer. Fuck it. (Wait a minute…that’s incredibly graphic.)

As great as it may be for his outlook after treatment, his chemo still wasn’t going to start for another three days. We got to talking about how he was doing and he started to scare the shit out of me. We both spend inordinate amounts of time with our laptop on our lap. He voted for McCain (which I find extremely shit-inducing). I’m reading a book where the narrator takes a piss or thinks about taking a piss every 50 pages because he has prostate cancer. Jumping forward a little in this narrative, I’ve had 7 hours of sleep in the last two days and have been drinking coffee like my heart wouldn’t beat without it. Thus, I too have been pissing or thinking about pissing (according to my conversion tables) every 50 pages as well. Also, since my roommate’s been diagnosed and castrated, I’ve been massaging the crap out of my dangly parts every morning to make sure I don’t have any lumps. Now it just feels like I’ve bruised myself into having cancer. I heard you can’t will yourself into having cancer but I’m not sure that being sympathetic to a dude you see almost as a brother totally prevents such an event. (“Sympathy cancer? Yeah, it feels like I have it in my balls.”)

I think testicular cancer gets to the core of every man (shut the fuck up) on the most fundamental levels: you’re faced with a combination of losing your libido, shrinking dangly parts, hair loss, organ removal and possible death. That is, you run the risk of losing everything that makes you a man: your hair (maybe with the exception of your eyebrows), your dangly parts and your life. And your dangly parts. You go from being a hairy, libidinous, beer-chugging Man to a lethargic, shriveled and bed-ridden person who needs naps, a liquid diet and to stay indoors (an eighty year old). Your only hope, the only reason to keep going and keep fighting is the hope that all this shit goes the fuck away so you can become a man again–and my roommate will. Because, as we all know, He’s already a cancer survivor.

Fuck. It.

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One Comment

  1. Right on. Your roomate is hardcore. You only stop being a man when you stop trying to fight testicular cancer!


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