Check your balls chaps. Seriously, check them now!
I am going to come straight out with this. I wasn’t going to share this story because of it’s personal nature. However and with reflection, I feel it should be shared because essentially it could save someone’s life.
I’m going to discuss testicles. My testicles to be precise.
Around the middle of January, I noticed an achy feeling down there and being a man I managed to convince myself it must be a strain. It felt like a strain, it couldn’t be anything too serious. I cleary just hurt myself mucking around with the kids. It will go as quickly as it appeared.
Two weeks passed and it hadn’t gone. This is when the penny dropped and maybe, just maybe further investigation was needed. So, and I am embarrassed to admit this, after I plucked up the courage, yes, I did say after I plucked up the courage, which in hindsight is ridiculous. Just check your balls, I repeat, just check your balls!. I decided to check myself for any lumps.
Unsure, if to be relieved, that other than pain, nothing else was found. I decided to give it a week or so and keep checking and this is when mistake number one happened.
I don’t go to the doctor, in fact in the 8 or so years since I registered with my current doctor, I don’t think that I have ever been for myself. So, with that in mind, you can probably guess that I didn’t phone the surgery and make an appointment. Instead, I headed over to google. Yes, you read that correctly, Google that trusty doctor alternative.
I immediately regretted this decision and was now overwhelmed with things that could be wrong with me.
Being the sensible, adult, grown-up, father that I thought I was, I choose to ignore it and hope it will go away. Guess what? It didn’t.
Talking Bollocks Saves Lives
After a few more weeks, I was beginning to get worried. So finally I phoned the doctors.
Why had I left it so long, why was I an idiot?
With everything else going on currently, my doctors are running a telephone triage system. Within half an hour of phoning the surgery receptionist, I was having a full-on conversation with my doctor about the state of my balls, I was literally talking bollocks. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought. Doctors, as it turns out, are really good at making you feel comfortable when discussing private and personal information. Who knew……
I will admit that an element of fear did creep in when the doctor suggested that I should visit them rather urgently and could I be there for an appointment at 3:30 that day. However, he did lighten my mood when he asked if I knew where the doctor’s surgery was, as it appears I wasn’t one of their regulars.
Getting personal with strangers
I knew, of course, I knew, that at some point a complete stranger was going to be fondling my testicles.
So it shouldn’t have come as such a big shock when I found myself laying on a bed with my trousers and boxer shorts around my ankles.
A lot goes on in your mind when you find yourself being touched in a private area, by a complete stranger. But in my case, my main focus was the fact that this particular ground floor surgery had curtains that didn’t close all the way and there was a group of teens outside the window, who not only looked familiar. They were about the age of my eldest.
After what felt like an eternity, I was sat in a chair, fully dressed and finding out that he didn’t know what was wrong. However, I was politely and succinctly told not to panic, to keep off google and I was going to be referred for an ultrasound.
Oh, the joy. I was going to have to go through this all again.
A week later, I found myself nervously sat in another waiting room. Still achy, still worried and still on google far too much. A few minutes later, I was semi-naked on another bed, holding my penis up against my belly as another man was inspecting my testicles. I then heard the obligatory “sorry this will be a little cold” as a very cold gel was rubbed on, followed by a handheld ultrasound machine.
Doctors are better than google
A few ums and ahs later, I was done. Still semi-naked, but essentially done. I knew my fate.
It turns out that I have a varicose vein down there. This isn’t particularly rare and can even go unnoticed. Plus, it is very treatable. However, it can cause infertility in up to 80% of men that have them. For me, that wasn’t an issue, I have three kids and I am 46 with no plans for any more. But for a lot of chaps out there, that would be a worry.
I am the lucky one. I have a very treatable issue and thankfully other than uncomfortable, not too serious. Well, that is until mistake two happened. But for the sake of this post, I won’t go into that.
Just don’t google the treatment for the removal of varicose veins in the testicles.
And chaps, please check yourselves regularly, it could be a lot worse. Around 2,400 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer a year in the UK. If detected early it is 98% curable. It is the most common cancer in men aged 15-45, with the highest incidence in men aged 30-34.
It isn’t hard to check your balls and should be done by all men monthly.
Please find your cut out and keep guide to checking your balls. If you have any symptoms or have discovered something not normal or uncomfortable, please contact a medical professional and for the love of God, keep off of google. However, if you are going to head over to the internet for advice, can I at least recommend this page. And remember, CHECK YOUR BALLS