“Guys, it’s like I’ve been pregnant for 2 years.” I told my band when they came to the hospital last week to visit. This thing has been growing in me for two years and it took the random action of me lifting my bag up to the front seat of my car to feel the pain from it. I’m reviewing everything in my head to try and write something about this situation but my brain feels just like the inside of my abdomen right now: jumbled and messy. My surgeon says that they came into this surgery with a simple plan. Get my right teste out, make the left one come down: 2 hour surgery tops. It turns out the right one had grown like one of Rita Rapulsa.s monsters in just the short time we found out that it could be cancerous. Doc Surgeon (not his real name) had to make the cut bigger to squeeze it out of my body. Along the journey he found a random hernia that he fixed and then he reconstructed the pathway my left teste traveled so it had an easier time going up and down my body.
Guys who have undescended testes have a higher risk for testicular cancer. Joyous for me, both of mine were undescended. Theresa and I found out 3 years ago when we were going through fertility treatments that this was a possibility for me, but we never thought it would come this soon. But I’m grateful though, like any person with a pre-existing condition I googled my way through a mix of emotions and found that I have the cancer that has a 96% survival rate. I mean, anything can happen, but if it had to be cancer, I’m glad it’s something that gives me hope.
I have a weird relationship with the word Cancer. Cancer is my zodiac sign. If you believe in that sort of thing that means I’m creative, intuitive, and sentimental. Oh and dramatic. Apparently people born between June 20th and July 22nd have a flair for the dramatics, which I don’t necessarily disagree with. My drama king attitude is what sparked my desire to be on stage so people can watch me do whatever it is that I do. But cancer is also something that stalks and haunts my family like a picky wolf poltergeist. It chooses it’s prey carefully among my kin and burdens them with this young illness that we humans still have a hard time keeping up with. My grandma was one of the most influential people in my life and when she was hit with cancer, my whole family felt the weight of her loss. She was literally the best person to ever exist and for something like this disease to take her away so young, was devastating. She was only 60, and I know she’d still be here right now telling me how skinny I was and forcing me to eat Filipino food if she hadn’t passed.
So here I am, sore, annoyed and eager as hell to get back to work. I love my job so much. Performing for people, giving them a reason to dance, let loose and feel complete elation is what drives me to push through everything my wife and I have endured. Theresa tells me I’m a workaholic, but working instead of suffering is a much better option in my story. My left hand is gently cradling my wound right now in hopes that I can somehow summon healing powers to seal it in full. But alas, this one, like many cuts, bruises and emotions, heal with time. I have to set aside the stubborn and put writing, books, and Netflix in it’s place. With all that we’ve been through, my wife and I have been blessed with such genuinely kind and generous people. Friends and family who empathize with our constant bad luck and try their best to make sure our spirits are lifted. Thanking you would never be enough. I can only hope that whatever challenges life has to offer for other people, that I can be of whatever service and help to anyone who needs me.
For now, I eat a banana, sleep, and invite people to come over to play Dungeons and Dragons.
Mahal, Mr. Cruz
Photo Credit by: Danielle Donaldson