Why This 'Mo Is Doing Movember
It feels really strange to try and describe this to you, but a few weeks ago I celebrated the first anniversary of the day I was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
I mean, I say "celebrated" but truthfully I don't even remember what I was doing. In all honesty, I was probably sitting at home playing a video game until my eyes stung from looking at screens all day.
Part of me thinks it should have felt more profound, like I should have climbed a mountain and reflected on the year that had passed, the man I had become, the incredible things I had achieved.
But that part of me was drowned out by reality (what have I actually achieved other than a perfect impression of Every Character from HBO's Sharp Objects?) and a delicate feeling of... what? Would I call it melancholy?
Truth be told, the identity of being someone who had cancer, a "cancer survivor", is a strange one for me. See I was diagnosed on a Wednesday -- the 4th of October to be exact -- and by that following Wednesday, I was writing a Bachelorette recap from home. If you don't believe me, it was the episode where Sophie and Apollo played with puppies.
I don't want to call it a "cancer journey" or a "battle", I don't consider myself a "survivor" and every time I speak about my diagnosis I make sure to explain just how lucky I was. There are people who go through actual struggles, real pain.
Aside from trying not to sneeze after surgery the most painful thing that probably happened to me was when my mum accidentally headbutted me before my operation.
Testicular cancer is the second-most common cancer in young men 18-39 after melanoma. In the last 30 years the rate of men being diagnosed with testicular cancer has risen by more than 50 percent, and so far there's no explanation for that rise.
Those stats are pretty scary but the good news is that a person's prognosis -- or their expected outcome -- when diagnosed with testicular cancer is often very good, especially when it's caught early and treated swiftly.
Technically, I had cancer a lot longer than the five days between diagnosis and orchiectomy (that's fancy speak for "ball removal surgery"). I noticed a discrepancy in testicle size several weeks before going to the GP and I did what any absolute moron would do: I ignored it.
When October rolled around I was doing what I've done for the last few years -- recapping The Bachelorette obviously -- but I couldn't help thinking about the year that had come and gone.
Last year was one of the most trying years of my life, for several reasons not just limited to cancer. In that short time, I learned a lot about myself and I think I did a great deal of growing up. Looking back on 2018, things feel... stagnant.
Truth be told I only decided to participate in Movember this morning. In a delirious haze, I jumped out of the shower, shaved off my half-grown beard and decided to start fresh.
Time to stop ignoring. Time to take 2019 by the balls -- or ball I suppose -- and make a change. This is my chance to help out, to raise money, awareness and eyebrows as I attempt to grow a mo.
You can find out more info about Movember here.