Published Feb 04, 2015Today is World Cancer Day (February 4), and Hollerado's guitarist Nixon Boyd has released a song about his recent experience with testicular cancer.
The tune is called "12:01" and it was penned for Eddie Helmkay as part of the band's custom-made 111 Songs project. It's a slow-burning, reflective rock song that builds to a bittersweet crescendo.
Stream the beautiful tune at the bottom of this page, and read Boyd's accompanying statement about his cancer below. Hollered will release the full 111 Songs on March 24.
In August 2014 my doctor told me that I had to have a "quick section", which is the name for what happens when a surgeon opens up a man's insides to have a good look at his nuts. My doctor knew something was wrong (given the size of the lump on my right testicle, I didn't really need a doctor to tell me there was a problem), and he admitted there was a pretty good chance I had cancer – only, he couldn't say for sure. There was also no way of knowing if it had spread to other parts of my body, just that they had to open me up and take a look, and MAYBE remove my right testicle, depending on my diagnosis.
I think I'm a pretty optimistic person. I can handle bad news. I can find a silver lining in just about anything. But one thing I am apparently unable to handle is the level of uncertainty that I experienced in the month leading up to my surgery. (Because how do you find a silver lining if you can't even picture the cloud?) I couldn't create a picture in my mind of what my life was going to be like after surgery, and it lead to insomnia, anxiety, and fear. Was everything going to be fine? Or was I going to have to drop everything and start chemo/radiation therapy to fight the cancer that I potentially had, and maybe go sterile in the process? (Side note: I had several vials of sperm frozen ahead of time in case this was what happened. Fun times.)
I became extremely tired from sleepless nights spent worrying. The feeling that I was barreling towards an unknown fate was psychological torture. The day of my surgery became a day that I was both terrified of and wanted so badly to arrive to bring an end to the uncertainty.
As it turns out, I did have testicular cancer and I did lose my right testicle. In its place is a brand new prosthetic ball that is both bigger and harder than the old one. I quite like it. But even better than the new nut is the fact that the cancer seems not to have spread to any other part of my body. For that I am immensely grateful to the doctors and the surgeons for diagnosing me and treating me. I am SO lucky to live in a country in which someone who would not otherwise be able to afford health care was treated so thoroughly. (Fun fact: In matters like this, the urologist who diagnoses you is also the surgeon who operates on you).
Today is world cancer day. Here is a song that came from my experience with the disease. Along with my wife, who remained resolute and determined through it all, writing this helped me a lot. I say this all with the hope that anyone out there dealing with this disease has the kind of support they need.