Under The Knife

The time had come for me to go back to the Urologist. I took a little bit of time to come to terms with my diagnosis, but after a few weeks I was ready to go to the doctors and discuss my “options.” I had taken off for the day and Trenae came with me of course because we were making a decision that potentially would impact our future whether positive or negative we did not know at that point. My doctor was two hours away but I didn’t really mind because she was one of the top Urologist in the country. She had been published in Men’s Health and a couple of other big magazines. I remember being so incredibly nervous going in the day because I had a feeling surgery was in my near future, and for those of you that know me know that even though I am diabetic and sell insulin (I know crazy right) I don’t like needles. We go into my doctors office and she says to me I have reviewed your latest sonogram and I was correct when I said you have varicoceles on both sides. I was numb at this point she could have told me I won the lottery or I was dying and the emotion would have been the same. I wait for the words I know are about to come out of her mouth; “We are going to need to do surgery.” At this point I kind of wish she had said you won the lottery or “hey Steffan you’re dreaming you can wake up now.” Nope not going to happen. I started to panic, I had never had a major surgery before unless you consider wisdom teeth major. I remember asking her so many questions. Will I be under? how long is recovery? what are they going to do? Is there a chance we can have a baby after this? I felt like I had word vomit and I couldn’t stop. Thankfully she said “Yes you will be under completely, recovery should be 2 to 4 weeks, and yes there is a possibility you will be able to have a baby however I want to tell you it’s very slim. You have gone ten years with two varicoceles so can’t be certain.” At this point I’m ready to have the surgery now, twenty minutes before this I was sure I would never hold a baby in my arms that carries my genes but now there’s a slim chance?!? You have to understand for infertile couples like me and my wife a slim chance is the best and worst words you can hear. Best because there’s a chance which is huge because before it seemed like there wasn’t. Worst because you get your hopes up and you go on the roller coaster ride of emotions. It goes up and down up and down and you never know where your ride is going to stop. For us I like to think the ride is still going.

I had to have a couple more blood tests done before surgery and a couple more semen analysis done. They did one for me that tested my urine because apparently when you’re diabetic you can have what is called “retrograde ejaculation.” For those that haven’t gone through this it means that your swimmers go the wrong way in the urethra and are excreted by urine. For a little while I was really hopefully that this is it, that’s what is wrong with me, my swimmers like me don’t have a sense of direction. Unfortunately this was not the case there were still none. I start getting used to bad news to the point I just expect it and if its good I’ll be even more surprised. I had blood tests that were done to see if I had Y Chromosome Microdeletion which is a common cause of male infertility. That of course came back negative as well meaning there’s no explanation for my infertility other than the varicocele. Finally we schedule surgery to “remove” the varicoceles. I had to notify work that I would be going on short term disability for two to four weeks. My manager was more than supportive and asked if there was anything he could do. I wanted to say to him just make me normal. Make me not have to go through this. Make me not have to drag my wife through this. He told me I needed to contact HR and start filling out the paper work. OH THE PAPERWORK. Let me just tell you they don’t make it easy to go out on short term disability even when you have to. I had to speak with a case worker and explain what I was having done and why. It was really uncomfortable for me to say “Yes ma’am that is correct I have varicocele veins around my testes killing off all sperm production. No ma’am I’m not the only case of this there are many others.” It was terrible. … I get the notification a couple days later that I have been approved for disability and that was a relief because at that point I just expected them to say no. Why wouldn’t I, It had been one bad delivery after the next but thankfully this was good news. Well as good of news as you can get when your about to be opened up. Finally the day has come for my “Varicocelectomy” as they call it. They will go in and make two laparoscopic incisions right below my underwear line and for lack of a better explanation go in and tie off the veins that have expanded and are allowing blood to pool and increasing the temperature in the scrotum. This is most cases can help male infertility and increases sperm production. We check in at the front desk at the outpatient center, and I regretfully say my name because I am in full on panic mode at this point. They call my name after sitting and waiting for a few minutes and I go back and put on the awful blue gown again with the ever so fashionable yellow grippy socks (I have to say I kept them and may or may not be wearing them as I type this, Don’t judge). My wife comes back and sits there with me as I meet with the anesthesiologist. During this conversation they are hooking me up to an IV of saline mind you and I just about pass out. I feel my body temperature increase to the point I am sweating. Sweating that cold sweat that you get when you’re sick, and then it happens… I go full on crazy like hulk strength could pull out the IV if I wanted to because I wasn’t getting surgery not today not ever. Until my wife told me in her very stern teacher voice “sit down, you will have this surgery and you’ll do it today.” I needed that. I needed her to tell me I was doing it and remind me of why. My doctor finally comes in to check on me and discuss what will be done, and at that point I do what any grown man would do. I start balling naturally, Telling her I don’t want to do it and that I’m scared. She says “that’s  ok, we don’t have to do it then.” I feel Trenae shoot her a look to which I imagine looks like the little boy from the 80’s show that says “Whatcha talking about Willus.” My doctor quickly changes her mind and says it’s going to be okay its normal to be scared. Then the nice nurse whose name has escaped me comes over and says here this is going to make you feel better. She injected some medicine in my IV and I feel myself fade quickly. My last image before it became darkness is my wife standing there mouthing the words “I Love You, It’ll be okay” and then my eyes close and the room is completely black……….




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