I really debated whether to blog about this here, since this is a very personal issue. But, many who are already aware of what is going on have asked me if I am going to blog about the experience, and I finally decided that it might be a good idea. So, this post (and some others in the near future) will deviate from my high-tech focus, and will delve into more a much more personal issue that I am now working through.
Just after starting my new job I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I had known for a few months that something was not right, but I really didn't think it was the "C" word - after all, that happens to other people, not me. When I finally decided to see my doctor, he immediately recognized that this was quite serious. Within two days I had received an ultrasound and seen a specialist. A week later the tumor was removed, and I was informed that the cancer had already started to spread into the abdomen. It was really a whirlwind - add this to the normal stress of starting a new job, and you can see that I have been quite distracted.
It has been three weeks since the orchiectomy, and we are now "staging" the cancer. This means that we are trying to find out how far it has spread - if it is in the lungs, then I would be a stage III. If it is remained in the abdomen, I would be a stage II. Either way, I will be starting chemotherapy next week. I am told that I should expect to be in the cancer treatment center for between 4 - 6 hours each day for the first week (which really cuts into my work day...), and then I will return for a quick visit each Tuesday for the next two weeks. We will then start the process all over again, and I will go through that either 3 or 4 times.
As I begin the chemotherapy, I will continue to blog here about the experience. I hope to continue to work while going through this, although some friends say I am being overly optimistic, and they think I will be too tired to work. Everyone reacts differently, so until I know that I can't focus I will plan on trying to work as I go through this experience.
The real question in my mind is: do I wait for my hair to fall out, or shave it off before hand? Actually, anyone who knows me understands what a minor issue this is, as I am already bald by most standards. At any rate, I finally decided (with the help of my wife) that this really comes down to an issue of control - shaving my head is the only thing I can really control right now. If I do it before, then I am doing it on my terms, and not allowing the cancer to take control. Interesting perspective (she is smart that way). I am planning to shave my head before I start chemo on Monday...