Give prostate cancer the finger.

It’s Movember – that wonderfully fuzzy time of year when men everywhere grow out their facial hair to build awareness for men’s health and ultimately ruin Thanksgiving Day family photographs. It has also been dubbed No-Shave November and No-Sex November.

It began in Australia in 2004 and has quickly grown around the entire face of the globe. In its truest form, men grow a stand-alone mustache to trumpet the cause, but over the years it has spread to include other forms of facial follicles as well. This change was made at the request of a coalition of wives, girlfriends and Child Protective Services.

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Hey kids. Who needs a ride to school?

The cornerstone of the Movember movement is prostate cancer. Which I guess is fitting, coming from The Land Down Under.

Here are some facts:
– 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
– 30,000 men will die from it this year in the U.S. alone.
– A man is 35% more likely to have prostate cancer than a woman is to have breast cancer.
– A man in 100% more likely to have prostate cancer than a woman is to have prostate cancer.

Pretty scary stuff, right? The problem is the actual procedure of getting the prostate checked out. It doesn’t take a genius to surmise a man’s reluctance. You see, it kinda involves a finger in the hiney-hole. And most guys are generally adverse to this sort of thing. And, even if you’re the type of fella who mildly enjoys the occasional stinky pinky – a medical and clinical prod ‘n poke wouldn’t be all that wonderful anyway. So, basically we avoid it like the butt-dentist.

fdbf0378a0023ce2fa85838155240c39Take it like a man.

The prostate is a donut-shaped gland that creates goop to protect your sperm. So, why should I care since I just had a vasectomy and don’t really need a sperm security system? Well, the real pickle in the pooper occurs when the prostate gets all messed up and inflamed. Then, it gets in the way of important stuff like peeing, ejaculating and getting a big ‘ol erection. Oh, and then it can kill you. In the butthole.

Anyway, I got myself checked earlier this year. So, if you’re wondering what to expect, here are some basics:

• Prostate exams are performed by Urologists, Oncologists and some questionably qualified Primary Care Physicians.
• Unfortunately, these doctors are not listed by ring-size. I mean, the last thing anybody wants is Dr. Dikembe Mutombo waiting on the other side of that door. You’ll just have to get a referral or risk it. I was lucky. I got Dr. Tyrion Lannister.
• Eat some cabbage, drink some coffee and read a newspaper. Just make sure you drop a deuce before you go. The more stuff in the way, the more time he will need to spend fiddling around down there. Besides, this is the last guy you want angry.
• The waiting room will be filled with a lot of old men with yummy colostomy bags. Don’t run away. Let it be motivation.
• Dr. Jellyfinger has heard all your rectum jokes before. Don’t embarrass yourself.
• The preferred stance is leaning over with your elbows on the table, pointing your knees and toes inward.
• Dr. Manicure will put on rubber gloves and scoop his finger through a tub of industrial fart jelly.
• He will then tell you to relax and breathe easy. And then this happens:

digi-buttMooooon River.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that this is fun. It’s uncomfortable – both physically and emotionally. The best thing I can say is that it doesn’t last very long. The finger goes in, swirls and twirls around a bit, and then focusses on the prostate itself. And trust me, you will know exactly when he starts mashing on your prostate. It has a feeling all its own. Try not to clinch.

Before you know it, Dr. Butter Finger will be popping off his glove and pointing you to the bathroom. It is in this porcelain fortress-of-solitude that you will be left to shamefully clean up and feel sorry for yourself. If you need to cry, this is the place. Just be careful which tissue you use.

Is it a good time? No.
Is it worth it? You bet your ass.

When detected and treated early, prostate cancer has a whopping 97% success rate. That means, if everybody went out and got checked and fixed in time, that ridiculous number of 30,000 U.S. butt-death victims-per-year would go down to only 900 U.S. butt-death victims-per-year. And instead of 1-in-6 men walking around with prostate cancer, there would only be 1 in 200.

So, go get checked out. Especially if you’re over 50. Because if you think another man’s finger in your farter is absolutely terrifying, it’s nothing compared the painful and bloody anal alternatives. Seriously.

Oh. And grow a mustache.

Movember Website
More About Prostate Cancer

CDR457840 digital rectal examI just wanted to post this.

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Undercarriage Update

It’s been almost two weeks since my vasectomy. I’ve had a man tape my manhood to my stomach and stick a needle into my scared, shorn scrotum and cut it open. I’ve had another two injections inside my testicular tote-bag, and then my vas deferens tubes pulled out and cut to bits. And then, after receiving stitches on my already sensitive cinch sack, I waddled around bruised and sore, terrified by the mere thought of gravity itself. But now, I must endure the most severe pain yet.

Nut stubble.

The beginning of the process involved me shaving my nethers. This was my first time to ever attempt such a sheering, and I miraculously came out unscathed. But nobody warned me about this part.

4659080239_de147e65de_zPicture these in your pants.

I am constantly being poked and pricked on the inside of my legs and the under-side of my tender tallywacker. It doesn’t matter the underwear. It doesn’t matter the position. I think it’s just their angry little way of exacting revenge on me for relieving them of their fertilizing purposes.

Other than that, here’s the two-week checklist.

– The dull pain moved around a bit. It kinda travelled from way down deep in the scrotal south, up through the spermidial ship channel to belly-button harbor, and then back down to just under the belt buckle – slowly dissipating along the way. Now it’s gone.

– The bruising went for a walkabout as well. It changed colors as it moved around the globes and even managed to invade the base of my business. It’s not completely back to normal, but it no longer looks like Wes Craven shot a movie in my shorts.

– The stitch is looking better. At about the end of the first week, I was able to take the Dora-The-Explorer band-aid off my balls. Now, the scab has been falling away, and the stitch is starting to dissolve. That’s good and all, but it itches. Itches big time. I got itches in my britches.

902797_1324042691509_fullSometimes I make the sound, too.

Now that the pain has subsided, I can move on to the next phase of my medical instructions. I have a follow-up appointment in 8 weeks. And I have lots to do before then. Lots and lots to do. You see, I’m supposed to bring a sample to that appointment.

Yes. That kind of sample.

You know what time it is. It’s time to do some stretching exercises and take the SafeSearch off my internet browser. It’s go time. Because the doctor isn’t interested in the very first sample I produce.

He wants to see the eighty-first.

Hello, Doctor. Meet my scrotum.

If you want a vasectomy, you go to a urologist. (I had to look that up.) A urologist treats everything from overactive bladders and urinary tract infections to enlarged prostates and spooky scary cancer stuff.

This initial visit does not involve a scalpel – just rubber gloves. They called it a “consult.” Basically, it’s a quick meet-and-greet for the doctor, myself and my naughty bits. I scheduled the appointment for 3:00 in the afternoon. That way, I could leave work early without the expectation of returning. Genius.

Now, the first thing you do at a urologist’s office is the exact same thing you do at any other doctor’s office. You wait. And then you pee in a cup.

Now I’m no expert, but I would have had a diagnosis on this particular warm cup of yellow goodness right off the bat. This guy just drank a bunch of coffee. I considered gorging on a heaping pile of asparagus for lunch. But, I figured that ultimately I wanted these pee-pee professionals on my side throughout this whole ordeal.

So, I hand the cup over to some lucky devil with the best job in the world and make my way to the assigned room.

Enter Dr. Kim.

He closed the door and gave a quick smile. Then came the moment of truth – the handshake. This simple pleasantry could make or break the entire thing.

big_hands_420-420x0Just turn your head and scream.

Good news. He had soft, supple hands with delicate nimble fingers. Expertly manicured nails splashed with a touch of lavender scent glided into a precision grasp and then quickly released within a comfortably measured timeframe.

He asked why I was there, and upon hearing ‘vasectomy,’ he responded, “Oh good. That’s easy.” In fact, he told me that the actual procedure would take less time than the consult. After asking a few more questions, he whipped out a pen and pad. He drew a few amazing pictures worthy of any middle school bathroom stall. Then, he grabbed some latex gloves.

“Okay. Let’s take a look.”

I dropped my Underoos and he put on his glasses. He poked and prodded at some stuff and then pointed at the spot where he would be going in. Front and center. He pointed out one of the actual vas deferens tubes, too. Kinda weird looking. He even commented on how my sparse amount of body hair and low levels of body fat were going to make the whole thing easier and more pleasant for the both of us. I took it as a compliment.

He popped off his gloves. I pulled up my pantaloons. And he sent me to the front counter to schedule my procedure. Easy-peasy.

Feeling reassured and oddly confident, I strolled up to the sliding window and greeted the nice young receptionist with a grin. “Good day, me lady. I would like to schedule a timely congress to partake in a casual vasectomy. Might I inquire as to your next opportune availability?”

“Sure thing. How’s Friday, the 13th?”

My boys deserve a Dr. with references.

Now, it’s not too often that I deal with the phrase, ‘scrotal incision’ – but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to entrust just anybody with the task.

1ce1e6_2390540Free heartworm medication with every vasectomy.

The good news here is that I’m not blazing any new trails. I have quite a few friends who have already undergone this procedure . So, I just take out my handy rolodex, spin it back to the ‘sterile’ section – and start making some phone calls. Everyone was eager to help – perhaps a little too eager. As one might expect, some had good experiences, and some had bad experiences. And, as I heard more and more of their stories, I learned that when it comes to a man’s nethers, simple words can take on new meanings:

VASECTOMY DICTIONARY
Good experience =  uneventful
Bad experience = balls on fire

Doug said his anaesthesia didn’t take. Balls-on-fire. George said his recovery time was months rather than days. Balls-on-fire. Jason said his urologist’s name was Dr. Richard Chopp. Well that’s potentially even worse than balls-on-fire. So these options were quickly eliminated. Mike, Greg, Chris, John, Jin and Clint all had much more delightfully uneventful snips. And in the end, good or bad, every single one of my interviewees told me they were ultimately glad they had it done. And then they limped away.

A couple of docs were dropped due to distance. Apparently you don’t want a long bumpy car ride after all the fun.

And then there’s insurance. Check this out – it’s rather important. If you have the procedure done in a surgical center, boom – you get punched right in the deductible. That would be about $2,000 for me. Wallet-on-fire. BUT, if you have the procedure done in the urologist’s office, you are only responsible for the copay. That’s right. Twenty bucks. Ten per tube.

Enter, Dr. Kim. Referred by a friend, insurance compatible, a cozy 1.7 miles from my house, and bargain basement, value-menu pricing. Bingo.

I call. I shakily mumble the word, ‘vasectomy’ a few times, and then they set me up with a preliminary appointment. They called it a ‘consult’. I guess a person can’t just walk in and order the Cut’n Go Special. Dr. Kim wants to get to know me first. And get introduced to the fellas.

Oh, what to wear?