I told the kids at school that I was going to “a meeting” this afternoon. That was true … a meeting with a urologist in the Prostate Clinic at St. Joseph’s Health Care. My doctor did a rectal exam late last year and found an irregularity as she touched my prostate gland – some unexpected bump. She wasn’t very concerned but wanted to be thorough. Fair enough.
So there I was today, sitting in the waiting room for half an hour, wondering if I should breathe easy or jangle a bit. When I looked inside, I saw calm. So I decided to kibitz with the woman to my left and the man to my right. That was fun.
Finally it was time for me, and Dr. Urologist extended his hand. A jolly fellow. He took all the data he had – blood work, rectal exam, my survey answers – and plugged the info into his computer program. I saw the word “abnormal” next to the “physical exam” category. This led to a small gulp. Doctor told me that today he’d do a look-around with his finger. If he didn’t find anything strange, he’d change “abnormal” to “normal”.
I glanced at the screen again. Right now it said “Probability of cancer: 44%”. Woh. Doctor told me that this general cancer lingo included ones that aren’t a problem. Okay, but that wasn’t particularly reassuring. There was another category, which I think read “Probability of high intensity cancer: 24%”. Not a happy camper over here.
As they say, my life was flashing before my eyes. I felt naked, fully vulnerable, swimming in the question “Am I well or am I sick?” Everything seemed to stop.
And then there was Doctor again, smiling and ushering me over to the examination table. His finger was poised for action, and I was poised for the worst, the best, and everything in between.
Seconds later, the exam was full speed ahead. “Ahh … I see what your doctor means. But it’s not a nodule. It’s the vas deferens [a tube inside me that goes somewhere]. You’re FINE.”
I’m fine. You heard that, didn’t you? No sweat. No worries. No reason not to have a long and happy life.
So … on I go.