I Love The Guys….

Two of my very best friends are male.  We know we can call one another at any time of day for any reason at all.

I have one son and one brother who I love more than life itself and would walk through fire for.  I’d give my life for them.

I have a step-dad who has taken care of me and mine like we were his own, even though he didn’t have to.  I have three uncles who have teased me (and have provided me with infinite giggles) incessantly since birth. I have double the amount of male cousins than female cousins and growing up with them MADE my childhood.

Countless male coworkers, former partners and good friends who make the long shifts shorter, the the laughs even louder, and the times spent not working… Well, stress (and often EMS) free.

Men who have inspired me. Who have instructed me. Who have guided me through the good times and the bad. I am quite literally surrounded by guys. Working in EMS and coming from a family dominated by the XY chromosome… Well, it was bound to happen, yeah?

Why in the hell is she writing about loving guys? What kind of blog has this turned into? I’m going somewhere with this. Trust me, and read on, please?

There aren’t many guys out there who want to talk about prostate and testicular cancer. Hell, there aren’t many girls out there who want to talk about it either.

Repeat after me: ONE IN SIX. ONE IN SIX. ONE IN SIX. ONE IN SIX.

Say it with me, ya’ll. ONE IN SIX MEN WILL GET A MALE SPECIFIC CANCER.

But Epi! Do you realize how they test for that stuff? Yep. I sure do.  Us chicks have the delightful pap smear to contend with once a year, and of course the ever exciting mammogram.

Men, we feel your pain!

Here’s what I have to say.  We all feel invincible from time to time, but this is out there, and there’s a very good chance you or someone you know will have a target on their back at some point in their lifetime.  That should be enough to scare the hell out of you.  MAN THE HELL UP AND PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR JUNK. (And as NJDiveMedic pointed out via text, “The junk AND your trunk.”)

Let me tell you about a friend of mine. He uses the blogging name Hybrid Medic . I don’t consider myself “old” (most days… That’s another post for another time) at 35, but he is definitely younger than I am. He’s from my neck of the woods, hell, we have a mutual work partner in common.  He has a young family, a wife and a beautiful little boy. I came to know him through Twitter, and was happy to meet him at EMS Expo last year and again at EMS Today this year.

He’s one of the good ones out there.  I’m proud to call him one of my people.  The first real save I got as a paramedic… I remember calling him and saying… ”I LOVE this job.”

He’s young, he’s healthy and in good shape. He’s a firefighter and a paramedic in Memphis. Not someone you’d expect to end up with testicular cancer.

He did. I’ll never forget the day I got the text message from him and the lump in my throat and sick feeling when he confirmed that he now had cancer.  He went to war with it, and it looks like he’s come out on top, but it was a hell of a battle. That’s understating it.  And the scary thing is that he had it (relatively) easy.

It was caught early.  Guys, you need to be aware.

A few symptoms to watch out for:

  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Frequent urination (especially at night).
  • Trouble urinating.
  • Pain or burning during urination.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • A pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that just won’t go away.
  • Painful ejaculation.

The above symptoms could point to prostate cancer (or another condition.) See a doctor!

A few more symptoms:

  • Pain in the testicles.
  • Lumps / masses in the testicles (with or without pain).
  • Swelling in the testicles.
  • Persistant lower back or stomach pain.
  • Loss of sexual desire.
  • Increased breast size.

These symptoms could point to testicular cancer (or another condition.) See a doctor!

Have you heard of Kilted To Kick Cancer?  Maybe you’ve seen some posts about it on the various EMS blogs.  A few of my favorite guys are taking part by wearing kilts for the entire month of September.  That’s right, the entire month.  When they aren’t working, they’re kilted.  Folks tend to ask questions when they see a guy in a kilt.  They ask a lot of questions when they see a group of guys in kilts.

“Hey fellas… What’s under the kilt?”

That’s it.  That’s all I have.  Be aware.

If you want to contribute to the cause (with the donations going to research), let me point you towards these folks:

My Blogfather, Ambulance Driver

Jay G. Of MArooned

The Dive Medic from A Look At EMS From 120 Feet Below

Medic Matthew from New Life Changes (GO GET ‘EM MATT!!!!)

Old NFO from Nobody Asked Me

Or really, anyone from this post.  The guys may have a friendly wager going on, but in all honesty, it’s not about bragging rights, it’s about doing the right thing.  Many of them have stories about why they’re participating… If you have five bucks, consider donating it.  Hell, I even have five bucks, and I’m a broke paramedic.

Next year, I’ll be kilted.  I guarantee it.

Be safe out there.

http://testicularcancerawarenessfoundation.org/signs-and-symptoms/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/14231-testicular-cancer/

http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.5802031/k.6CE8/Prostate_Cancer_Symptoms.htm

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate

2 Comments

  • Theresa says:

    Epi,
    Thank you for your post. I lost a cousin at age 37 to undiagnosed testicular CA. He went to the ER because he couldn’t pee. An hour later, he was told he had massive CA, the next day, he threw a clot (cancer is known to do that) and died suddenly. That was 9 years ago. As an ER and school nurse, I educate both men and women about “young cancers”. I don’t care if it embarrasses them…No one ever thinks that it’ll happen to them, until it does. Keep at it Epi….the more we educate, the faster we keep all these wonderful men around. Great post.

  • Jay G. says:

    Hey Epi,

    Thanks for the link! I’ve been doing my salesman schtick pretty much all month (and certainly the past couple of weeks) drumming up donations and such, and every bit of publicity helps.

    Plus I think more people need to see me with the purple unicorn…

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