Before They Found Anything I Had Already Changed

Zine from the CancerGram 5 of 18, depicting my general condition in the first half of 2016.

At that point, I had had three bladder infections in about a year. I had seen a urologist, had some tests and tried three different medications. There was blood in my semen consistently, sometimes bright red. I struggled to fully empty my bladder. I suffered from anal leakage. I had started to lose sexual function via soft erections. I could generally feel my prostate consciously. My shit would come out pressed flat.

This period of progressive illness coincided with another kind of descent. My overall health was suffering. I was gaining weight. I had stopped swimming and riding my bike back in Toledo, but I began a home yoga practice to build strength and flexibility. I was still largely functional — I had energy, I could work, my worldly ambitions were still intact.

I had given up a little bit on the dream of love and family, mostly because my sex function was deteriorating and the feeling of having been burned. I definitely still thought that I would improve and pull myself together.

I had secured the job in Memphis. When I got to Phoenix with the catheter, I knew that I had a few months to get tests completed so that my health would be stable for my new job.

I did yoga everyday for about two months that summer. It really helped. I spent my days in the cold pool reading books. I tried all the sushi places nearby my brother’s house. I met friends downtown and generally enjoyed my time there.

And every month or so I would have an appointment with the urologist and have some tests done. They found something surprising.