It takes less than 10 minutes and I know the results straightaway. Which surprises me somewhat. I’m not due to see the urologist for another 4 weeks.
I’m called into the room that houses the CT scanner. The assistant sonographer tells me that a doctor will be in shortly and he’ll tell me what he finds; “don’t leave without knowing what’s going on”. I’m reassured – and puzzled by this. I have to wait weeks to find out if cancer has returned to my lung, but I can know the state of my bits in minutes.
I’m still grappling with this when the doctor whizzes in; no introductions, no niceties, just a brief “lie on the table and pull your trousers down”. I stare up at the ceiling, aware that we’re both avoiding eye contact. After a few moments probing he announces that everything is fine – apart from a testicular cyst. As my GP suspected. And with that … whoosh … he’s gone.
Who was that man ….?
I hear the buzz of a text message to my mobile from a couple of desks away. I know what it is, and who it is. I’m a little nervous, but read it anyway. She’s used capitals – I can see her shouting and jumping up and down at home. “PROF THINGY JUST RANG. NO SIGN OF TUMOUR!!!! YAY!!”. I want to jump up and down myself. But that’s not really the done thing in an open plan office. We have some research students who often complain about noise (students – complaining about noise; not something you expect to hear in the same sentence) – and having no wish to hold back the frontiers of knowledge, I settle for a coffee and a chocolate biscuit.
I call Annie for further details. Professor Thingy – he is thus described because we don’t know his name – has telephoned, as he said he would and confirms that there is no sign of cancer. He is however surprised and concerned at what he calls “an extensive area of pneumonitis.” There’s more; “the upper part of the left lung is not working at all”. At the slightest sign of infection – a cough, temperature or change in colour of my sputum – “he must go quickly to his GP” because any infection will need to be treated with antibiotics and steroids.
They talk about exercise. Annie explains that I get fed up because I keep comparing how I am now with how I was before surgery; “his exercise tolerance will never be the same … more exercise will help”. So I have to compare myself now with how I was, say, 4 weeks ago. I have improved, there’s no doubt of that. I make myself take the stairs to my office on the 3rd floor at least once a day. It still hurts but my recovery time is shorter.
Their conversation draws to a close. I’ll have an X-ray in 3 months and another full CT scan in 6 months. In the meantime he’ll write my to GP with a copy to us; “it’s been nice talking to you”. And we still don’t know his name.