Is It

It was all finally starting to go right this time, and now this. A fucking lump in your right testicle. You tell yourself that you’re just imagining it. That its nothing new. That you remember something being there before. But as you keep on feeling it and noticing that distinct line where the smooth ball ends and the mini hard ball of lump begins, you know that shouldn’t be there.

And that’s when the real nightmare of incessant thoughts of possibilities and permutations starts as the lever is released and the roller coaster starts to fall. And you tell yourself to be logical but how can you? Nothing makes sense when you’re actually going through it in the moment. Maybe in retrospect and even then you’re still trying to figure it out. Trying to force a hexagon into a pentagon cutout like a child who still doesn’t understand. And of course your mind gravitates to all the worst case doagnoses. You think you have cancer. But you don’t actually know it. But that doesn’t even matter. Because either way, it means you have to give a fuck about something intangible now.  Love and God you could escape by avoidance your whole life but that whole bad luck cancer young card takes that choice away. So of course you start thinking of fate and how that whole Shitpile you didn’t wanna come near is now on your mind. But you don’t wanna think about that. Because that won’t help, the rational mind says as it shows you all the symptoms and permutations play out before they’re really ever there…

So you try to distract yourself. You get in bed and start reading an Etgar Keret short story. Let’s say you’re reading the Flying Santinis. So here you are. Thinking about cancer. Reading the Flying Santinis and you’re rubbing the stubble on your face. And you follow the stubble from the cheek down the chin and to your neck and you feel that fat fold that second turkey neck there. And you say “Man…” you say to yourself. But not really out loud. And then you follow that neck line and something round and stringy starts sliding around under your fingers out of nowhere in the side of your neck by the muscle. Just somewhere inside you’ve never seen or thought about. And maybe you’re smart and actually studied science or jaw anatomy. So maybe you know that the area under the jaw in the neck there is rich with lymph nodes. And this feels like a swollen lymph node. Which is a positive sign of systematic infection / virus / cancer in and of itself. Uh oh. And of course your mind illogically jumps to the conclusion. The very conclusion we don’t want to name out loud. No not death. The worst possible one. That we will not have done something worthy of note in annals of history. And now fate is sealing our time to make it a fools errand we will not succeed at in any way. Unless of course you started impregnating women  who would carry your child and rear him after death in your honor. Hey crazier things have happened. But this is a best case scenario assuming the worst prognosis.

And because you’re all smart and know that face cancer anatomy, you start to think about how your amygdala has only just started to release all those glucocorticoids and you still have control over your prefrontal cortex executive function. So you apply logic and reasoning and tell yourself to relax. That it may not even be a swollen lymph node. That it could just be a tension knot or a benign cyst of some sort. Just like in the right ball. And even if it IS a swollen lymph node, you say to yourself, maybe even out loud, even if it is a swollen lymph node, there are several reasons you know of and many more you don’t know of that could be the cause of it. Because even if you are smart, it’s not like you finished medical school. And even if you did finish medical school, it’s not like even a doctor can diagnose you just by looking at a lump. There’s gotta be blood tests and elevated markers and then a few confirmation exams to make sure those aren’t just false positives. I mean, hell, it could just be a cold and your balls and your neck swelled up. Weird body shit that most only find out at 40 you’re finding out at 25. Hell it could’ve been that painful pimple in the crevice between your nose and cheek that you popped this morning giving you this “cancer” now. Or the deep scratches on your back from that crazy bitch with a droopy left titty last night. Or even something else you don’t even know about. Even if you are a really smart doctor. Maybe even if you are a bonefide certified oncologist who doagnoses cancer on the daily via these very blood tests. But regardless, when it’s you, your brain, it always goes back to the cancer and the what can I do NOW. Because being human is about getting through today.

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