This story was originally published at the The Kernel, the Daily Dot’s Sunday magazine.
No one expects to get cancer. Sure, you might have the “what if” moments, but you never actually think it’s going to happen. Until it does.
I was diagnosed with testicular cancer on Aug. 8, 2012. Two days later, I had surgery to remove the tumor; less than month after that, I started chemo. I had just turned 30 years old.
So much of our lives are shared on the Internet. Mine is no different. Even before I was diagnosed, I shared my work, mundane details about my life, dating—the essentials for a man in his 20s living in New York at the time. So when cancer showed its fugly face, I had to document it.
I’ve written a lot about my cancer, but I’ve never actually showed it. If our virtual footprints are a window into even a little piece of the person we truly are, then this is the virtual story of my cancer.
I’ve never been one to care about age. Turning 30 was just another birthday. If anything, it marked a change in a decade and reflected the direction I wanted my life to go in, more professional—hopefully personally fulfilling.
The pain started at the end of July, shortly after my birthday. Having just arrived in Los Angeles from New York, I didn’t have a doctor. I went to my friend’s doctor, which led to another doctor, and then another. The entire time I was cracking jokes. I wasn’t taking it seriously, yet deep down I knew something wasn’t right.