I will do my best not to get too graphic here, but I think it's just as important for men to check themselves for lumps as it is for women.
While showering last Sunday, I discovered a small lump a in place where there had never been a lump before. I was concerned, but not terrified. The lump was was smaller than a pea and not causing me discomfort or any functional problems. I noted it and decided to mention it to my doctor on my next regular visit.
That was until Thursday, when I awoke to discover that the lump had not only tripled in size, but was now painful to the touch. Cue full system panic mode!
I got to work and called the Health Advocate to find a specialist, ASAP. If your employer does not offer Health Advocate services, ask them to. Health Advocate will (among many other things) find you a doctor or specialist who accepts your insurance, help settle medical bill disputes and even help find long-term care for your elderly parents. Staffed by polite, caring and discreet nurses who immediately make you feel at ease discussing the most intimate of health issues, Health Advocate has proven an invaluable resource for Uncle P in the past few years, especially now that I have reached a certain age. The amazing nurse Kathy at HA found me a local specialist who had an available appointment this morning. After a quick call to my PCP (Primary Care Physician) for a referral, I was on my way.
The doctor they sent me to was not only competent and professional, but adorable. Not quite as hunky as the doctor in the above picture, but certainly someone Uncle P could appreciate on a non-medical level, if you know what I mean. After a thorough examination of the area and lump in question, I left his office with a prescription for an antibiotic and the assurance that what I had was nothing more than an inflamed cyst, something he said was quite common among men my age. He ordered a blood test and scheduled a follow-up in six weeks.
You have no idea the relief I felt upon leaving that office. Still, I am glad that I know my own body well-enough to realize when something's not right. And I urge you all to be just as aware. While my issue turned out to be simple and not at all life-threatening, it is so important to be aware of changes to any and every part of your body. Examine yourselves regularly and mention any changes, lumps and other anomalies to your doctor right away. What you find may well be nothing, but it is so much better to be safe than sorry.
While every doctor you see may not be as hot as ER's Goran Visnjic, he or she may well be the difference between nothing to worry about and something serious.
Okay - lecture over. Back to my usual nonsense, tomorrow.