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Finding Out

I was diagnosed with cancer in November 2003 whilst on a trip to Australia for a mate’s wedding and to watch the rugby world cup. The holiday was top drawer and I’d recommend Sydney to anyone who fancies a cheeky pint or two and wants to have a giggle. We’d finished our first leg of the trip in Sydney and headed up to Brisbane for England Vs. Wales and the wedding. But this wedding wasn’t your standard, “rock up, get pissed and go home” affair. Oh no, it was a full blown Asian one which lasted for days - an amazing experience.

It was the actual wedding night when I was a pissed idiot and caught myself right in the jewels. A simple of case of being a drunken fool and trying to dance bangra style, well it was an Asian wedding after all. Clearly my bangra skills are somewhat dubious, especially combined with drink I was an accident waiting to happen. God it hurt. Not one to be a boring git, I persevered for a bit, but then decided a trip to the hospital was required.

So there I am pissed out of my head, sat in the Royal Brisbane Hospital waiting room, with people who had been bitten by snakes and stuff, far more serious than a sore ball! I was thinking about leaving but checked with the nurse and was seen straight away. The doc had a look and was adamant that everything was fine. This is where it gets lucky - in Australia, with any testicular injury, they take a blood test to double check, and you get an STD check for free. So off went my blood, and Paul, the doc, took my mobile number and said he’d text if anything came back in the results.

Rather shaken up and pretty scared about the whole thing. I hadn’t really thought about the STD thing until I left the hospital but was hoping everything would be fine.  And, as for the cancer side of things that didn’t even come into it - especially as the doc had checked and said it was fine.  I went back to the wedding and caught up with all the guys. I mentioned it to Shaf, one of the boys, but as for everyone else I just went on like normal.

On the way to England Vs. Wales the next day my phone bleeped………WANK………It was from Paul saying that I needed to come back for an ultrasound on Monday. He didn’t say what was wrong but I knew it must have been cancer because of the ultrasound you don’t normally get a one of those for a helping of the clap. Not the best way to enjoy 80 minutes of rugby I can tell you. We won, which was some compensation, but I wasn’t really altogether with it.

On Monday it was back to the hospital for the ultrasound. After drinking a pint of horrible aniseed shit (to help with the scan) the radiographer did a full search and when he started moving all over my body I thought ‘good god here we go, things aren’t looking too brilliant’. Unfortunately the guy couldn’t tell me what was wrong, as he said a doctor would have to compare these results with the bloods for full analysis .Brilliant, another wait.

Tuesday in the Brisbane hospital and I’m getting pretty messed up about the whole thing.  I’ve now convinced myself I’ll be flying back early and have given my remaining rugby tickets to my mates. So I’m in the waiting room again and I get called to see another doc. I find out that I have a tumour in my left testicle and should fly home as soon as possible for treatment. I was in a state of shock and came out the hospital in tears. I told Shaf and then decided it would be a good time to tell my folks. Word of advice, don’t tell your mum you’ve got cancer when you’re on the other side of the world, it doesn’t make for a good call. 

It was later that day when I was walking through Brisbane just trying to piece things together when I was stopped by a guy who was selling smiley faces for terminally ill kids. I bought a smiley face and then everything started falling into place.  Here I am on the other side of the world having a trip of a lifetime, watching the rugby, catching up with old friends, staying at the coolest hotels in the world (Palazzo Versace), oh and a small matter of Deano getting married. The terminally ill kids have just been dealt a bad hand. It makes you think; there’s always someone and - in my case probably millions and millions of people - in a worse position.

So time to stop being reactive and start dealing with the problem and get things sorted. It got even better when I phoned my flat mate. I’ll never forget his line after I told him “Oh shit……Chin up hey mate!!” It was only later that I found out he’d just been told his grandfather had passed away - what a wonderful day!!  NEXT

 

 

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