December 11, 2009

Testicles: Take’em or Leave’em?

beach-balls

If a guy I was sexually active with were missing a ball it would take me a while to figure it out.  Seriously.  For me, they’re not the main attraction down there nor do they have a gigantic space in between like breasts, which allow you to focus so specifically on the left or right. If both balls were missing it would be much more apparent.  I’ve never been in this situation, so I can only speculate, but I don’t think it would change my sex life much if my guy were missing one or both balls.  Sure, I’d have to get used to their absence, but it wouldn’t change my level of attraction or satisfaction if they were missing.  (Apologies in advance to my husband for whom this might be a weird post to read!)

I got a great comment from a testicular cancer patient on my post about missing body parts: “I couldn’t get a prosthesis at the time I lost righty so I proceeded to live the ensuing twelve years without. Dating was difficult and awkward, not because partners might be scared off but because I feared they would be. Any man will tell you that anxiety and fear are huge mood-killers where sex is concerned.”

When I hear guys talk about their anxieties about being ball-less I want to tell them ‘My life would be fine without balls. Really!’   But the guy who commented raises a good point that even if the partner didn’t care, he still had anxiety about it.  Cancer and body images issues go a lot deeper than what other people think of our bodies.  It’s how we think about ourselves that matters as much if not more.

Maybe I’m easy going on the missing body parts issue because I have empathy for fellow cancer patients.  However, I don’t think that’s the case with balls.  I wanted to do some research to find out if I as a sexual  partner I’m alone in my thinking of ‘balls, take’em or leave’em.’  But, I couldn’t find the right combination of keywords to google that would yield good results rather than immature dialogue or raunchy sites. So I’d love to have an honest conversation about balls on my site instead:

If you are a straight gal or gay guy, how would you react to a partner missing one or both balls?  Would it change your sexual experience?  If you’re a testicular cancer patient, has it changed your body image and/or sex life to have one or both testicles removed? Remember you can comment anonymously.


Brian Lobel is a witty and super-intelligent testicular cancer survivor.  Read about him in Everything Changes: The Insider’s Guide to Cancer in Your 20s and 30s.

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Comment(s)

  1. Scott Joy Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 4:06 PM

    When I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2003 at age 39, I was already long-married with four kids. My urologist discouraged me from considering a prosthetic testicle. My wife couldn’t care less. Practically, it hardly makes any difference. Candidly though, I miss it and wish I had it back — nearly every day.


  2. Estrella Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 4:56 PM

    I’m completely with you here, Kairol.

    Boys who are short one – believe me when I say it would make no difference to me at all. For a girl, that’s just not what’s important down there!

    But as someone who wouldn’t let anyone look at my breasts for a year, I have to say I do understand and wouldn’t knock any of you for being a little self-conscious. Just know how utterly unecessary it is to worry about! :)


  3. Richard Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 5:05 PM

    I was single and 43 and I figured out that instead of being paranoid about having just one ball that I would be proactive and ask my date, ‘have you ever been with a guy with one nut?’ it has been different but so far no woman has cared at all.


  4. Fed Bernal Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 5:09 PM

    When I was diagnosed with testicular cancer I was more concerned about the “cancer” part than on losing righty. The issue of getting a prosthesis was brought up by one of my MD colleagues at work, and my reaction was that since I am married and not part of the dating pool, I really didn’t need one (plus, the wife and I did say “for better or for worse” and my urologist never offered the option). Image-wise, I don’t think losing a testicle mattered in my case either because one would be hard-pressed to tell the difference. Having only one testicle has not impacted my sex life either. That said, I believe things would likely play differently if I were single and not in a relationship. My guess would be that the anxiety over whether my partner would react badly is far greater, just like the person you quoted in your post said.


  5. Aegean Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 5:15 PM

    Funny thing how it took lefty getting hit by a street hockey ball to find out about the TC. Now when my youngest (3 years old and needs to be carried in Daddy arms sometimes) actually nails me where lefty was, Righty says; “Whew!”… and poor lefty, well, he’s dearly departed.

    Like Scott, I miss it, but not because I feel any less of a man. My wife has not changed an iota because of it, or lack of it. I guess I miss it because I know that there is something missing. A prosthetic would not have solved that, as I too was 39 with 3 kids.

    If I ponder the unthinkable…. being single at 40 and having to go out on the dating scene, I honestly do not think it would bother me (read: if… just in case the wife reads this). Maybe because I am in professional sales/marketing that I think I would be able to charm my way past anything. When I was dating I quickly realized that you can talk your way into bed even if you are not the tallest and best looking guy around. And those are apparent… so unless we go back to Jordache and Sergio Valente tight fitting jeans, no one would ever know… until it was time to do the hooking up part of hooking up. Even then, if memory serves correctly (treading lightly here), most girls are very careful when cupping you there.. thus most would probably not realize that it was missing for a while. (I am of course assuming that you are not dating a porn star).

    Anyway, I may have lost a testicle to cancer but I lost my marbles to my 3 kids a long time ago.


  6. Anonymous Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 5:29 PM

    I didn’t actually realise that you could remove both testicles and still get an erection…as they say, learn something new every day!

    To be honest, one or both missing would not bother me a bit. It would be having any kind of relationship beyond short term/casual with someone who has/had cancer that would be a no go for me – even though I have cancer myself. I can’t imagine dealing with someone else’s ‘what ifs’ on top of my own!! Though of course, that’s all hypothetically speaking as I’m pretty realistic about my chances of ever having another relationship – nada!


  7. Kairol Rosenthal Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 5:47 PM

    Anonymous – Great question about erections after having both balls removed. I just looked this up on tc-cancer.com. (It is a great site and Scott Joy, who commented above administers the forums):

    “Bi-Lateral Orchiectomy, which means they remove BOTH testicles due to cancer or fear of cancer, is also nothing that will change your normal routine of life. Natrually, you will not be able to father children with no testicles – so you will definately want to bank sperm if you are planning on ever having children of your own. Medical advances has made it easy to “replace” testosterone levels in your body and maintain a normal, happy sex life! Talk to your Doctor about different hormone replacement options. Currently there are daily gel applications and shots available.”

    Now back to you anonymous. I’m curious what about your circumstances make it such that you have no chance of ever having another relationship. I’m not trying to go Polly Anna on you – I’m genuinely curious about your circumstances. I know a lot of patients who have said the same thing.

    Best,
    Kairol


  8. Nicole Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 7:16 PM

    As a caregiver of someone currently going through treatment for testicular cancer, I can honestly tell you that when I looked “down there” after the orchidectomy, I couldn’t tell a difference. Maybe because it looked the same, or maybe because I didn’t pay much attention to his boys when he had both of them.

    I have a feeling a large majority of women are probably the same way. One ball or no ball, it doesn’t discourage any attraction or sexual desire.

    On the other hand I can completely understand why a man would feel self conscience about it. I think of all the little “flaws” I worry about for myself, that I’m fairly certain my boyfriend doesn’t even notice.

    In conclusion, my boyfriend doesn’t miss his. I could quote him as saying “F*ck that little guy, he gave me cancer. He can go to hell for all I care.” =P


  9. Leslie Rott Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 7:44 PM

    In all seriousness, I think I mind it a lot more when guys figuratively lack balls than if they literally do. Kairol, I’m with you on this one. Not sure it would make much of a difference. But maybe I only say that because I hope someday, some guy will feel the same way about my health issues…


  10. Chris Danaceau Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 8:28 PM

    I think it would bother me at least a little bit, even if I didn’t admit it. And moreso if I lost both of them. I’ll make the analogy with my experience losing hair when I was in chemo. I didn’t think it would be a big deal. I didn’t have a lot left to begin with, and I had kept it close cropped, anyway. But when the time came that if finally got really thin (75% gone?) I found it DID bother me. What I hadn’t considered were the eyebrows, which really alter the look of the face when gone. Between those and the very wispy remaining hair, I knew that I had the “cancer patient” look when out in public.

    So I think the alteration of body image is bound to have some impact which will vary depending on the circumstances (23 and single vs. 40′s and married w/kids)


  11. H Lee D Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 10:20 PM

    It wouldn’t bother me at all. There aren’t any activities that I especially like that require them, so no big deal.

    But some (many?) people are very attached to all their body parts and don’t like to have any missing. A coworker had to have a toe amputated (little toe or the one next to it and spoke at length about missing part of her body and feeling incomplete. I wonder if it was an appendix or wisdom teeth or tonsils if she’d feel the same, but I never asked.

    While I would prefer not to be missing pieces, I think I could deal with many things being lost … but aside from hair (which didn’t bother me at all), I’ve never had to deal with it, so I’m really only guessing.


  12. Pat Steer (Gaelen) Says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 11:29 PM

    In the early 90s I spent three years in a relationship with a guy who had a permanently bent pinky finger. He explained that while renovating his NYC loft, his finger had made unfortunate accidental contact with a circular saw – and that the accident had saved his life. Turns out that while in the ER for the finger injury, the doc did a physical assessment and noticed that my lover had an enlarged testicle.

    Yep – TC.
    He was in his late 20s when he had the accident, and by the time I met him and fell in love with him, he’d been 20 years cancer free. I think he told me about the accident, his bout with TC and the fact that he only had one ball on our second date (might even have been our first.)
    Granted, this was a very confident, self-assured guy – he hadn’t married at the time we met, but I was by no means the first woman he dated after his cancer dx. ;) In fact, we eventually split up after three years because of infidelity (his, not mine.) His having only one testicle was a complete non-issue for both of us…his explanation started as a story about renovating his loft and why he couldn’t bend his pinky; losing a testicle to TC was just plot development.

    I do understand how important it is for people to feel comfortable in their own skins – certainly something I’ve struggled with since my own diagnosis. And I kind of get the ‘I’ll never have another relationship’ feeling; I don’t have any problem telling people I have cancer, but mentioning it on a date seems like it would be pretty awkward. I guess I’m hoping that any new relationship would develop with someone who already knew, so I wouldn’t have to slip ‘oh, btw, I’ve got cancer’ in between the main course and coffee.


  13. Jonny Imerman Says:
    December 12th, 2009 at 12:19 AM

    Kairrrrrrrrrrr you rock for getting this convo out there!!!! More guys need to talk about this cancer!! From a testicular cancer survivor who lost his lefty at 26, I promise the young guys with this cancer that women just DON’T care about these 2 body parts!!! wishing everyone well!! GREAT JOB KAIRRRR as usual!!! Jonny


  14. Patti Says:
    December 12th, 2009 at 3:30 AM

    It’s an individual decision if a male wants to have a “Prosthesis” to replace the cancerous testis. Personally, I don’t think it’s a big thing. My husband has to go through surgery and remove a ‘ball’ and he didn’t have a prosthesis.

    I think if you’re at the point where this is an issue, it’s an individual decision and what you’re going through really changes your way of thinking. For many, dealing with testicular cancer is life changing and having a ‘prothesis’ is the last thing on your mind. But it is a very personal decision that varies from person to person. No matter what the decision is, what matters is what that individual wants.


  15. Alex Says:
    December 12th, 2009 at 12:36 PM

    I think what this conversation points out is that there is a large set of variables that influence how someone feels about prostheses. What might seem trivial to some is life-changing to others. First of all, there is an immense difference between losing one testicle as opposed to losing both, principally from the point of view of permanent sterility and inability to produce testosterone endogenously. Although having said that, I know of men who have either experienced hormonal problems or who have faced problems of self-confidence with respect to relationships even after losing one testicle only. Losing a testicle, after all, is nothing at all like losing a toe, to borrow the example someone mentioned. Any cancer striking at one’s sexual organs will surely have some impact on one’s sexual life, even if only temporarily.

    Second, so much depends on where one is from a relationship point of view: young single men could be expected to confront the loss of even one testicle (to say nothing of losing both) quite differently than would a man in a permanent and supportive relationship. This stands to reason. After all, dating is fraught with uncertainty to begin with. All the more so when one is missing a sexual body part or two.

    Finally, as a gay man, I can’t help being struck by some of the conversations I’ve had on the topic over the past few years. Trust me when I say that all the men I know would most definitely notice the absence of a testicle in a partner. I’ll leave it at that. Whether or not that would be a problem is another matter and I would not draw any conclusions from it. After all, my own partner who has been with me through all my TC travails is proof that it is not a deal killer in the context of a same-sex relationship. However, that so many women have told me (or posted on sites I read) that they would not have noticed a difference in their partners to begin with is really interesting. I could speculate that only a man would be fully aware of what’s missing in another man. Again, I speak only anecdotally based on my own past conversations and from my experience as a gay man.


  16. Brian Says:
    December 12th, 2009 at 1:21 PM

    Hey there awesome coversation. here is my 2 cents. As a 29 year old gay man losing my righty to cancer has been one of the hardest things for me. i am glad to have beat cancer but it has been 8 months and i am still nervous and well still not relaxed with new guys down there some have made comments and other have said nothing i think it is a bigger deal to me then it is to others. so i am now saving money and hopefully will be able to buy myself a new righty for my birthday. i know its not a big deal to some but to other you just don’t feel complete with out it


  17. Pat Steer (Gaelen) Says:
    December 13th, 2009 at 10:22 AM

    Alex – just a quick note re: your comment “that so many women have told me (or posted on sites I read) that they would not have noticed a difference in their partners to begin with is really interesting. I could speculate that only a man would be fully aware of what’s missing in another man.”
    When I was with the lover who had lost a testicle to TC, I mentioned that it was a non-issue for both of us – very true. But to be clear, this is one woman who would have noticed. ;) It’s just that my partner pre-empted my observations by telling me straight out, and before we were sexually involved.

    There’s a big difference between ‘noticing’ and ‘mattering,’ although I think in the effort to explain one, we gloss over the other. Even though I would have noticed the loss, it wouldn’t have mattered except in the context of my partner’s continued health vigilance.


  18. Kat Says:
    December 15th, 2009 at 1:31 AM

    As a woman, and a cancer survivor, I wouldn’t care if the guy I dated had no balls. Literally. But if I didn’t go through cancer, I’m not too sure… I guess I would hesitate at first, but only because of lack of knowledge about testicular cancer and the side-effects of having to remove one/both. If the guy is upfront about it and explains the his well-being thoroughly, then I would be fine with it.


  19. Kairol Rosenthal Says:
    December 15th, 2009 at 1:44 AM

    Kat – You raise a great point about how partners communicate about their disease. I write in my book a lot about this issue in a chapter on sex and dating. If you are able to communicate clearly and concisely the implications and impacts of your illness on your sex life, your daily life, your fertility, the more a partner is able to understand what you are going through and what it would mean to be in a relationship. “I have cancer and only have one ball” certainly isn’t enough info to go on.
    Kairol


  20. Patients for a Moment #14 « DUNCAN CROSS Says:
    December 16th, 2009 at 12:30 PM

    [...] Changes asks a question that is near and dear to my… well, not my heart, necessarily: Testicles – Take ‘Em or Leave ‘Em? The question is whether the consequences of testicular cancer – the lack of ballage – are a big [...]


  21. Marc Says:
    December 23rd, 2009 at 2:17 PM

    Great discussion and I am glad that some other gay men have spoken up! I could go on about all of this for awhile, but won’t. Instead, I wanted to add something to the discussion that I think is missing, from the perspective of both gay and straight men who are single.

    There are different types and sources of anxiety here, one of which is the anxiety that comes with telling someone you have had or currently have cancer. It’s one thing when the evidence of cancer is easy to hide. It’s another when it isn’t. I think if we are all being honest here, it is not a question of whether someone notices you are missing a ball or not, it is how they react. I think that if they don’t notice, there is something not quite right with them and/or they are doing something wrong :) ha.

    You can argue that missing one or both balls is or is not noticeable. Even if it is just noticeable for you… or even if it is noticeable to others and they don’t care one way or the other… I don’t think matters as much. Whether warranted or not, the fact that everytime you are going to hook up with someone you are going to feel pressure to have the cancer conversation… well, that sucks. Fearing that the other person might say something about it if you don’t… that sucks. I think for a lot of people sex is a time when you don’t want to think about much, let alone cancer.

    That being said, having only one ball for me and having this type of pressure to discuss cancer hasn’t really been a bad thing. At least in the almost year since treatment. It has reinforced my feeling that if I am being sexual with someone, I should know more about them than just their name, and they should know more about me. They should know what is important to me, which includes that I am a cancer survivor. And the fact that I have one ball shouldn’t matter to them, though I would hope they would care enough about me to want to know more at some point. Just as everyone should be able to discuss things like HIV and STD status before jumping in the sack, for me, being able to at least get to know someone on a base level is important. And right now, cancer is still part of that base level since a lot of my life still involves cancer (though, luckily, mostly in positive ways now).

    That’s just my two cents. Thanks for starting this discussion Kairol!


  22. Kairol Rosenthal Says:
    December 25th, 2009 at 9:36 PM

    Marc – You bring up a great point here about how sex brings up pressure to have the cancer conversation and how if you are having sex with someone maybe you should know more about them than their name.

    My cancer was pretty invisible. So when I was single and dating it was easy for me to hop in the sack and not have someone notice that I had cancer. I write a lot in my book about how I became more promiscuous after my diagnosis. I was super randy from hormones and also really wanted to have someone hold, be near me, make me feel not so alone. It was superficial closeness – mostly physical and not so deeply emotional, but sometimes I would take what I could get and I didn’t want big conversations about cancer to ruin the moment. Not idea. But sometimes I just needed that to get by. I’m extremely lucky I didn’t get any other diseases!


  23. Lisa Says:
    January 19th, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    My now hubby lost his left testicle and left kidney to testicular cancer almost 2 yrs before we married.

    I kissed the sick testicle goodbye and bargained with God that if losing a kidney would keep him with us than take it.

    I guess my point is that I miss the testicle that is gone as much as the kidney.

    I think of it occasionally but it truly never crosses my mind when we are intimate. I have much more access to the healthy one.

    Just keep the cancer away and we are whole.

    Peter doesn’t mind it gone as long as he is still with us.

    BIP, VIP, 14 hour RPLND surgery and 2 stem cell transplants later he is clean.

    No cancer, thank God and do daily.

    I would cut off any piece of me to keep him with us so I guess a real woman in a real relationship cares about the mans soul not the pretty parts.


  24. Steven Says:
    May 25th, 2010 at 3:49 AM

    Personally, I would rather have my balls. Having balls is what separates me from my females and trannies. I felt bad enough about having to neuter my dog and now I am in the same situation. If I could cut open my own nut sack and safely sew in a marble, I would do it in a heartbeat. The guys that think it’s okay to so nutless are more than likely also uncircumcised too. Where can I sign up to have the procedure done?


  25. anonymous Says:
    September 5th, 2010 at 12:42 AM

    Steven’s comment was stupid.

    I have been diagnosed with TC in my right testicle. I am having a right orchidectomy in 3 days. I am a 23yo gay Australian man who finds it difficult to enter and stay in meaningful relationships due in part to my upbringing and the attitudes of society. I was happy in the face that i was a good, healthy man who practiced safe sex and tried to only practice meaningful sex as much as possible and one day might find that special guy. I have been a fit man all my life, played sports, worked out at gym, had a healthy diet, drunk plenty of water. All of a sudden after swelling and pain, i am told i have to depart with my right testicle. I fear it will definitely impact on my sex life and possible relationships negatively. All of a sudden i have cancer and am unhealthy. I feel as though i among many guys, deserved this the least, even amongst my own brothers which is a terrible thing to say – i haven’t had religious beliefs for years but any beliefs in karma have now been evaporated.

    I have been told by a urologist to get it out and then worry about whether there is more cancer present before i consider a prostheses. I think i can handle this in the short term but in the long term i will want one put in. One of the first things i asked him was whether a transplant will be possible (which he said no). I asked this as i am worried both about the cosmetic side and loss of functionality (both performance and testosterone production) that may come after surgery. So anyhow i thought id just share my experience, i guess i’m still coming to grips with it. I have been depressed since i found out – to be honest more about the loss and implications of losing it, than the cancer itself, as ive been reassured of the survival rates of this sort of cancer – althought i am worried about possible chemo or radiotherapy. This has all popped up in my life when i did not need it. It sucks. But it has happened to alot of guys and i guess while i will lose something in some ways maybe i will gain in others..

    Oh the other thing is, i definately think gay men will notice – there is already compartmentalisation/labelling of different kind of gay guys. what i mean by that is appearance and type of guy sometimes is considered more important to gay guys than the quality of their character, at least in my experience anyhow. so thats why i would want a prostheses sometime in the future after my surgery. i just want to get it out of me asap – itd take longer for me to investigate for one now and have it replaced at the same time. but yeh, i wish there was more exploration into transplantation, hopefully maybe something to look forward to in the future. i guess i dont know enough about tissue rejection to really understand why it isn’t being explored more yet. with serotyping have they not found successful methods of transplantation with other organs? from what i’ve read the plumbing of the testes is quite uniform and simple. there is of course the issue of having sperm of another man.. but in my case as i am gay, it wouldnt much matter for me, im not getting anyone pregnant am i. i am a good man, i would never rape anyone but there is innocence before guilt. but i have diverged and this has gotten long, sorry


  26. Kairol Rosenthal Says:
    September 5th, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    In response to the comment above this one, just let me say that I’m sorry you have this going on in your life right now and have such big unknowns ahead of you.

    I have never heard raised the issue of testicular transplant. For that matter, I cannot think of any kind of organ transplant that is for a non-vital organ, but that might just be a sign of my limited knowledge and imagination.

    I do think there are a lot of differences in responses to this issue depending on if you are gay or straight, younger 20s or later 30s or 40s, single or with a partner. The gay men I interviewed in my book Everything Changes both spoke to me a lot about body image issues. I hope in your quest to learn about getting a spare ball, you get to talk to, read about, and learn from other gay men in your same shoes.

    Lastly, gotta say I didn’t quite understand some of the last part of your comment, but it sounds like you’ve got a whole lot on your mind and I’m glad to hear from you about the rest.

    I hope your surgery goes smoothly,

    Kairol


  27. Chris-P Says:
    September 24th, 2010 at 8:48 PM

    I was 4 years old in 1969 when I lost leftie. I grew up not knowing much different…let’s be honest, I knew all my life I only had one. I thought about it all the time, I’m 46 and I still think about it. I have this many years without one so I’m talking to my Dr. about getting a prosthesis. I have been with the same partner for 9 years and he doesn’t care, but he supports me 100% because he know’s it’s for me. Hindsight based on my emotions, if I had a teenage son (or younger) that went through this, I would lean toward assuming a prosthesis instead of leaning away. If it doesn’t work, have it taken out. But having it done later makes you arrange another procedure and another stage of recovery. Most of this is based on my general attitude in life, I want to try things, I say “why not” or “sounds fun” a lot in every area of my life. If it doesn’t work…oh well.


  28. anonymous Says:
    September 28th, 2010 at 11:20 PM

    I’m the 23yo who posted the long-winded comment before about having surgery to remove my right testicle. Thanks for the wishes Kairol.

    I had the surgey down, nearly 3 weeks ago now. The tumour turned out to be indeed cancerous, mixed germ cell, and im soon to see an oncologist about either surveilance or chemo.

    Anyhow, i got a prosthetic but unfortunately my recovery story is pretty horrible. After the surgery the doctor and nurses said everything went fine and if i wanted to i could go home depsite being booked to stay the night. I looked down at it and it looked good. So i went home and did what he told me, remain horizontal. But i got up once in a while to pee. Long story short i was in emergency being cathertised under morphine in the early hours of the next morning with a huge hematoma. Google that word if you dont know what it is. And opting to not drain it, so as to not increase risk of infection and sacrificing prosthetic too, i am now just off from work for another month at least waiting for it to absorb back into my body. This may take up to 6months to fully absorb. Basically i think its the doctors fault for letting me go home that day. I just figured id save a couple hundred bucks. Im young, i was healthy. I wasnt in a health fund but i paid upfront to get this tumour out of me instead of letting it spread.

    So im posting here to tell people if they get an orchidectomy or vasectomy or prosthetic implant put in, dont walk out of the hospital the same day, and get a scrotal support for when you do. And then even think about peeing into a bottle for a couple of days instead of getting up, cos scrotal hematomas put your life on hold for months. Summer is approaching. Why couldnt this have happened through Winter?


  29. Kairol Rosenthal Says:
    September 28th, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    Hey 23 year old,

    I’m glad you wrote back. It is good to get an update from you, though I wish it were a brighter one. It sounds like you have been raked over the coals. I really hope your recover goes better than the last three weeks.

    Your comment brought up a lot of interesting issues about the difference between health care in the United States vs Australia. I had no choice but to leave the hospital 23 hours after my surgery because my insurance kicked me out. This is after major surgery to remove 19 tumors in my neck. My hospital stay cost about $19,000 and that doesn’t even include all of the surgical costs. So unless I could pony up the cash to buy me more time in the hospital, I had to leave.

    It also brought up the question of do you consider a prosthetic ball (or breast) to be elective surgery? I’m curious if insurance companies in the United States automatically cover this or if patients have to pay out of pocket. Answers anyone? Thoughts? What about in Australia?

    Wishing you a speedy recovery,

    Kairol


  30. anonymous Says:
    September 29th, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    As far as australia goes, we have a “Medicare” system. From memory it is similar to Canada’s but dont quote me on that. Basically most things are paid by our government out of our taxes which are higher for rich people not in health funds. But im not rich and im young and had never seen the inside of a hospital before this ordeal. So i wasnt paying for private health insurance. If i hadve been then as it is cancer related i think they wouldve covered it. I have read other peoples stories about their insurers covering the prosthetic too cos its related to cancer, but that is just what ive read. Anyhow, i was given the option of getting the orchidectomy done by (probably a young resident doctor in training who hadnt done it before) in a months time in a public hospital or to pay for the urologist to do himself in a private hospital in 2 or 3 days. I took the second option as i didnt know how long it could take for it to spread to other parts of my body and i was scared, not to mention it was very painful (which is less common than not with testicular cancer) and it actually felt like it was spreading to my abdomen which is the next place it generally goes.
    So i paid upfront (have to pay upfront for private) and then when the hematoma happened i got admitted to emergency in the local public hospital – if your admitted to emergency its automatically covered under medicare. I stayed in hospital for 4days. They then tried to get me to go home as i was not in immediate dire care – they took my catheter out to see if i could pee myself, i couldnt and spent 15mins pounding the wall behind me in extreme pain waiting for a nurse to come and recathertise me. My bladder was practically about to burst from being full and not being able to pee. They got to me eventually and i stayed another couple of days till they doscharged me and taught me to cathertise myself which is also very painful when your swollen like a balloon. But back to your query, i have paid about $5000AU out of my own pocket so far. That should be the most of it financially, as i either have surveillance or medicare funded chemo (as done in a public hospital) to look forward to. Im stage 1. Im lucky in that way and that this type of cancer has a high cure rate. But i wouldnt wish the constant pain of a large hematoma on anyone. If any female ever claims that ill never know the trauma of childbirth i will at least have something to claim back.


  31. anonymous Says:
    September 29th, 2010 at 12:34 AM

    sorry that last sentence was a joke, tho on readback can see how it could sound sexist, its not. :)


  32. Kairol Rosenthal Says:
    September 29th, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    No worries. Humor always welcome. I personally hope to never experience either in my life time!


  33. anonymous Says:
    June 17th, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    Maybe I can shed a little more light on this situation.

    I’m a middle aged, single, FULL Orchid (EVERYTHING !).
    When I was 11 I was travelling in a car with my father, who was drunk, we were involved in an accident where he walked away without a scratch and I had a scaffolding pole through my groin.

    OKay, I’ve grown-up not understanding what it means to have testicals through puberty, with my hormones administered by injection from the age of 13\14; but even then it took two years to find the correct dosage, and in the process I started growing breasts.

    Thankfully I was excused from sport, because the teachers thought I would become the centre of ridicule in the changing rooms. To be honest now that I am older I can appreciate their thoughts.

    The problem is growing-up as a neuter is something people fail to understand. Genetically I was, and am a male, and dress as such; though when naked physically I have the appearance of a female with smooth skin, very little facial hair, B cup breasts and a relatively smooth groin. This means I wear tight T-shirts in order to disguise and flatten my chest and that I need to sit down everytime I use the bathroom. Trust me on this one, it raises a few eyebrows when the urinal is free & I’m queuing for the cubical.

    At the age of 19 my Dr did suggest reassignment surgery, with special considerations being presented; but I was still trying to find my identity, and truthfully did not believe the world would tolerate me appearing in the evening wearing my male cloths and reappearing in the morning wearing a dress, even though my hair was shoulder length. – it still is.

    As for sex I’m pretty much stuck. I haven’t heard of anyone who wants to sleep with a “male” only to find that the male is using a … you get the picture. It’s not that I haven’t tried selling the benefits, but it’s not something that is openly talked about and when I’ve tried to broach the subject, a fair few times, the other person has made their excuses.

    So guys I know that cancer is going to bite, but I’m going to be honest I don’t know what it feels like to have had sex & really appreciate those danglies and maybe I am an extreme case, but get over it and stop whining about it. Afteral do you carry on complaining about missing your appendix if you’ve had it removed ?

    This is life, make the most of what you have and enjoy every day as you’re meant to.


  34. colin Says:
    July 19th, 2014 at 12:22 AM

    hi just been reading some comments about what has happened to other guys with t.c. i lost righty 9 years ago but they weren,t quick enough to detect it and now I,m in remission from it. i only wish my life was the same as all of the rst of you. my life has been hell since it was removed.
    my partner left me just 2 days after the op was done saying he couldn,t love a freak. sionce then I,ve spent all of my time alone because I,m fed up with being made a joke when I,m in public. when bf left he told everybody he knew what had happened. now even my closest friends now won,t evern speak to me. as for sex well that,s a huger joke. i have not had sexual relations with anyone or even dated anyone for the last 5 years for fear of being rejected.
    so what I hear you all say but put yourself in my shoes, you walk into town to shop and all you cop ia a barrage of abuse and insults. and once someoen knows the whole town knows and NO moving is not an option for me. All I want is to be accepted as I am, but no i csan,t even be accepted. so all of you ouit there who have a good life and greast sex keep it up because I now believe that I,ll never find any one who,ll love me as I am unless he too has lost one then we,ll have something in common. life right now is a very empty and lonely place for me and I,ve thought about ending it all
    so empty am I feeling. good luck to all of you


  35. anonymous Says:
    October 22nd, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    Had myself castrated ten years ago in Thailand, at eighteen. Love my shrunken tiny penis, B cup breasts and total lack of sexual desire. This was the best thing I ever done. Within six weeks of surgery I was and remain, totally impotent. I do not miss erections or orgasms. Sex never crosses my mind. I scarcely remember now what it was like to be a man. Life as a no T eunuch is good.


  36. anonymous Says:
    March 16th, 2015 at 10:35 AM

    I had a testicular torsion when i was eleven i was teased about it from other children which still i remember to this day my wife and i went through a rough patch about 17 years ago she was going to tell everybody i only had one ball we patched things up and i got a prosthesis put in .she didnt bother about it at all but i am still mentally traumatised about it and the fear of people finding out about it

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