I’ve documented my experience with testicular cancer on this site quite extensively over the last 6 years. Best to read this post first. You’ll need to read the posts from the bottom of the page up to get the right order. I consider myself completely cured of the cancer now. 6 years out 🙂
One aspect of the treatment that I alluded to but never wrote about were the visits to the Fertility clinic to bank sperm before radiotherapy, and the visits to the Ultrasound Department to get the testicles (or testicle after the surgery!) scanned.
The fertility clinic visit was funny. In a Leslie Nielsen in “Naked Gun 33⅓” way. I went to the clinic in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. The first shocker during the initial visit was how crowded it was in the waiting room. Literally standing room only for a while. As far as I could see it was all couples undergoing fertility treatment. I’d turned up on my own 😮 It wasn’t even as simple as the changing room being full of couples. The way the reception and waiting room were arranged you couldn’t see the waiting room from the reception window. So I check in. Get told to take a seat in the (very quiet) waiting room. I walk round the curved wall that separated it from the reception, to find the room packed with people. All of them looking at me. I’m sure my face must have looked a picture!
Over time, as I waited couples were called for appointments. At least I got a seat after a while. During the time when the room was emptying I could almost hear the thoughts of the people in the room wondering what a single bloke was doing in the fertility clinic on their own 🙂
When I was called for my appointment I think there was just 5 people left in the room. It started out with about 25 or so. I had my consultation with a female doctor and she outlined how long the sperm would be retained for, how they were stored, what power backup systems they had and stuff. All very interesting. She then passed me over to a male technician. We had a chat and then he gave me a small plastic bottle and directions to The room. I must say that the small circumference of the opening of the bottle wasn’t very helpful for boosting my confidence 😉 The technician told me that there were magazines and videos in the room if I need some inspiration. Giggle.
Of course The Room was up at the end of the corridor. So I had to walk up the corridor carrying the sample bottle. The further up the corridor I got, which was quite busy with people it has to be said, the more obvious it was where I was heading. So I knew and all the others passing and those in side rooms with open doors knew, that I was going into The Room to, not to put to fine a point on it, have a wank into a small bottle!
So I got to The Room. I went in and locked the door behind me. It was a typical sized hospital consulting room with a sink, a hospital trolley bed, a cheap chair and a table with a TV and video player on it. Under the table on a shelf was a couple of storage files with videos and magazines in them. I had a quick look at them. Just to see what they had provided for inspiration 🙂 They were as tacky, both metaphorically and physically as you’d think. I decided I wouldn’t need them.
I won’t go into details (I’ll spare you gentle readers). Suffice it to say I deposited a sample in the bottle. Quite a good sample I thought, that thought would be dashed later, and returned, slightly flushed, to see the technician and give him the bottle. The walk from The Room was the opposite of getting there. This time everyone knew what I had just done! I handed the sample bottle over and after some more admin paperwork was told I was done. I got out of there as fast as possible.
I thought I was done. I was wrong. A few days late the Technician called me on my mobile and told me that the chaps in the sample were healthy and good quality (picture my chest swelling with pride) but (but? there’s a but?), but he was concerned that there wasn’t enough quantity for successful freezing and storage (picture my chest deflating). So he told me I have to come back and provide another sample to top up the previous one. The next day I did. And did the walk to The Room again. At least this time the waiting room was almost empty.
So there it is. My Leslie Nielsen moment. I still have the chaps on ice. Not sure if I’ll ever use them. I’ll write about the Ultrasound Clinic visits later.