Entirely Self-obsessed post about Cancer and Super-Powers

I really don't like talking about myself too much. Regular readers of this website may well disagree, and its very existence would argue against that statement. But it is more or less true. However, when certain things are going on in your life it can be awfully hard to write, much less think about anything else. That's where I'm at right now.

Just over a week ago Ruth. Sophia and I were headed to Boise for another of Ruth's dollhouse shows, and to visit her dad who lives there. What started off as a nice trip became one of the least pleasant experiences of my life so far. While on the road I'd started noticing a rather disconcerting burning feeling every time we stopped for a bathroom break. At about the halfway point the burning turned to blood and clots in my urine. The bladder/prostate infection I'd been treated for in January apparently had sent out the word how welcoming a host I was and I found myself with a whole new e. coli colony infecting me. The pain was too bad for me to drive so Ruth had to take over for the rest of the trip down, and I had to stop at least every hour to try to pee and relieve the pain. We decided that I'd better go to the emergency room as soon as we made it to Boise. There, after a long and rather unpleasant wait it was confirmed that I did indeed have another bladder infection. One bladder infection for a man my age per year is unexpected, two in three months is an indicator of another problem, so the ER doctor gave me a CT scan to check for kidney stones. They didn't find any stones, however there was an unexplained mass near my kidney, so I was told to follow up back in Great Falls.

This past thursday I had a contrast CT to try to identify the nature of my tumor. It failed to do so, but it was clear that the tumor is non-vascular. Which was the second best news possible, it still may be malignant cancer, but if it is, it will be slow growing and easily treatable. It could also still be any number of benign tumors, and may or may not be adrenal tissue.

The whole bladder and prostate problem don't seem to have anything to do with the tumor so I'm going to have to have my bladder "scoped" to visually see what the problem is. It could still be bladder cancer or it could be twisted ureters, or any number of other equally unlikely and unpleasant sounding conditions. It'll still be a few days before I learn anything about that. I do feel a little foolish though for complaining in my January post about the digital rectal exam, as uncomfortable as that might be, it seems rather preferable to having a camera inserted (I'm using the most gentle word that comes to mind here) through my urethra. Hopefully the Urologist will find something easily fixable.

These things going on with my health are not all that uncommon, nor would they be too worrisome for most people. Quite a few people have asymptomatic tumors that are only found when looking for something else. The reason I have to worry about bladder and adrenal cancers is the mutation I inherited from my mom that gives a much higher risk for many different types of cancer. The mutation is called HNPCC (Hereditary Non-polyposis Colo-rectal Cancer [mouthful isn't it] here's Wikipedia article on HNPCC), sometimes its also called Lynch Syndrome.

The thing that that I've been thinking about with all of this, is that with this mutation I will always have the specter of cancer hanging over me and my family. That's okay, we all have our issues, and there is always the hope of future cures for even more cancers. My complaint however is that in movies and comics mutations give people super powers, or at the very least turn them into cool monsters. What I want to know is where is my upside in this? I want a super power like x-ray vision, or the ability to talk to animals. Or better yet, electro-magnetism. Now if I could shoot lightning from my fingers, that just might make up for crappy genes. At least the poor people with sickle-cell anemia gene get a resistance to malaria out of their mutation. Unfortunately, I don't think that being sarcastic and snarky qualifies as a super power. I suppose I'll just have to keep up trying with the lightning.