In a couple hours I’m headed to a urologist to get an ultrasound on my left nut. I’m a little nervous about it, but that nervousness has less to do with letting strangers examine my testicles than it does with curiosity: how do they administer an ultrasound on a dangling teste?
Like everyone else, I’ve seen it done on a pregnant woman’s belly—they squirt some lube on said belly, move the wand-like instrument around, and viola, you see your baby on an adjacent screen. In this scenario, the woman is on her back, and her belly is much bigger than the instrument (transducer) itself.
I’m trying to imagine how this will work on my nut, which is much smaller and far more sensitive—not to mention elusive—than a belly. To make solid contact for a readable image, I’m guessing the ultrasound tech will require that the “subject” be resting on a solid surface of some kind. (Disconcertingly, this reminds me of the NSFW intro to “Method Man” from the Wu-Tang classic 36 Chambers.)
Is there a specially designed adjustable table on which the patient is to lay his junk? At 6-foot-7, I’m guessing my bits are higher off the ground than 99 percent of the population. Many things in this world—cars, roller coasters, public bathroom mirrors—weren’t built with me in mind. Will I have to squat?
I’m hoping there is a cup-shaped ultrasound wand manufactured specially for this purpose. If there isn’t, there should be.
By now, if you’re not too busy wincing empathetically, you’re probably wondering what’s wrong with my little elliptical friend (let’s call him “Lefty”). Well, Lefty has a little friend of his own (let’s call him “Lumpy”).
About 10 days ago, I was watching TV in the classic Al Bundy position (pictured above). I was making sure that my boys were comfortable when I noticed an interloper. Given my familiarity with the topography down there, this unwelcome hemispherical stranger, though very small, stood out immediately.
Like a lot of guys, I’m of the ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away school of medicine. I’m generally pretty healthy, and don’t go to the doctor unless I’m in unbearable pain. In this case, the prospect of being fondled by a total stranger was not an exciting one. But testicular cancer is most common among 15- to 35-year-old men. I’m 34. And I’m intent on keeping Lefty on the team. I owe it to him to take whatever steps necessary to ensure he lives a long, healthy life.
I made the call. My new primary care doctor (I recently changed health insurance), on our first meeting, a week ago, gave Lefty a good once-over and referred me to a urologist for the ultrasound.
It will probably turn out to be nothing—doctors no longer recommend self-exams, because they often lead to needless doctors visits, and don’t reduce morbidity. Testicular cancer is rare—only about 8,000 diagnoses are made each year—and is one of the most curable forms of cancer (about 90 percent of cases are cured).
I’m not worried. I’m just protective of my friends—especially those that can’t protect themselves.