One of the things I didn't want to talk about was getting that big scary C. It wasn't the cancer itself that was scary. I had learned to live with it for 18 months or so. When you have something visually growing in your body that shouldn't be there, you just kind of know. Even if you do hope for the best. And I was hoping that it would be something else. Every time I looked online for the symptoms the diagnosis was that it wasn't. So I would be like 'thats good, I can save up then'. Then that hot summer of last year came and passed, work dried up just when I needed it most and and spare money went on childcare, going to a clinic for diagnosis was put to the side.Without insurance it just didn't seem like an option that could be affordable. I knew if I went to a clinic and the diagnosis wasn't good and it was there in black ink that I wouldn't be able to shrug it off to the wife as nothing. At the same time if it was something big, and expensive I couldn't see how the wife could pay for those medical bills in the winter months when we would be relying on the one wage coming in. Besides the growth was only painful one or two days a month. The rest of the time it could be managed, with baggy pants, and sleeping in bed in some funky positions.
Eventually of course your body goes 'Hey, Stoopid! Why you no listening!?! You really that stupid, well I'll make you listen!'
Inevitably it did so right after Christmas, when I was hoping to hold off to Spring - when we might actually have money. No money, no insurance meant a trip to a clinic that deals with mostly immigrants in similar situations. By then the pain and resultant swelling was so severe, the doctor wasn't sure that he wanted to see or not see it. Had me confused at the 'let me see, no put it back', but nonetheless he was able to say that it wasn't Cancer. So those online diagnosis sites must be right after all. Money however was wasted on a scan that showed nothing due to the swelling. A shot leading to a sore bum with a 4 hour trip in the car later and two weeks of antibiotics should be the answer for that. No follow up by the doctor and his words ringing in my ears "its not cancer', a bank balance that allowed us to pay the bills and nothing but that month, and I use the excuse not to find out any more until I see some more money coming our way. For a while the pain subsided, and I could put the worry aside, then it returned.
By now I wasn't so good at hiding the pain. Hadn't been for a few weeks now. I'm sure I wasn't much fun to live with. I can be shrek like at the best of times, but the pain and worry was probably making life living with me extra unpleasant. Thankfully I have a wife that loves me through my unpleasantness, who despite my outrageous pride and for reasons unknown wants to save my anus, if not my ball.
She was able to find another clinic, who referred me to a specialist within a few days after yet more tests. Who then told me there was no time to waste and I had to come in again tomorrow.
Cue - the shakes.
Damn those shakes. I knew I had cancer. Despite what I had read online. Despite what I had been told earlier, I just knew. It wasn't s a surprise. I just put it to the back of my mind, and now here it was front and center. But still the shakes would not freaking stop. I hated those shakes more than the cancer itself. To me it was a relief, lets just get that thing out of there. The worst thing was the waiting, its spiritually draining just waiting, waiting, waiting some more. Its anti climatic. And yet it was nothing really, I had a great hospital care and I was in and out next day, god knows what it would have been like if I had to wait like many others before me have ad to do.
Six months on, those bills I thought I might not be able to afford 18 months ago are almost paid. Tomorrow I will see 36, and have yet another reason to love the woman in my life just a little bit more.