My friends used to say that I would outlive all of them.
We would laugh out loud, but everyone thought it might genuinely happen, considering I was the only one who took care of my body 24/7. For instance, while I would go to a bar with them, I would merely be there for fun conversations or blind dates, but I would not drink or smoke at all. If they decided to do a potluck, I tend to bring a couple of healthy dishes to eat their greasy foods. More importantly, I had been exercising twice a day every day in the last five days. It would be an understatement to say that my fitness regimen was updated.
Two years ago, I had to go home from a Christmas Eve party early because I felt nauseous. I managed to drive by myself because my friend’s house was only a block away from mine, and everyone else was far from being sober. When I was preparing for bed and went to the bathroom to pee, though, I had the biggest shock of my life when the toilet water started getting red as my urine mixed with it. Then, I felt an intense pain in my lower abdomen. I got to call 911 and give my address to the operator before I passed out.
Waking Up To A Bad News
When I woke up, I was no longer in my bedroom. I was already in a hospital room, wearing a gray-colored gown. My arm ached a little as I moved it and saw that I was getting a blood transfusion. As if they knew I was already awake, a couple of doctors and nurses entered my room.
“Good morning, John,” an elderly doctor greeted me with a smile. “How are you feeling today?”
“I have mixed emotions,” I replied honestly. “What happened to me? Why do I need new blood?”
The doctor nodded gently and took a file from the nurse beside him. “It says on your report that you arrived here with a bleeding penis. After a few tests, we found out that a vein popped, and it caused blood loss for you. We also detected a pea-sized lump on your left testicle, although we will only find out today whether it’s benign or malignant.”
My head began swirling again as I tried to process everything that the doctor said. It was one bad news after another. In the end, I could merely utter, “What if the lump is malignant?”
“I’m afraid it’s a symptom of testicular cancer. In that case, you may decide to have the lump removed surgically or go through chemotherapy.”
As if this news was not enough, another nurse knocked and went into the room, holding a paper, which I assumed to be the result of my testicular examination.
The doctor’s expression turned from kind to sympathetic after reading the result. “I can confirm now that you have testicular cancer. The silver lining is that it’s only on the first stage, so we can still get rid of it.”
Fear enveloped me. “What if I don’t want to get a surgery, Doc?”
“I can give you medication to hopefully reduce its size, of course. However, in my opinion, it is better to remove the lump entirely to keep it from growing,” the doctor advised. “We will return to our rounds for now. You may click that button above your head to call a nurse and let them know your decision. They can pass the message to me later.”
I nodded. I thought long and hard about my circumstance. I still could not wrap my head around the fact that I got hospitalized – due to cancer, of all things! Despite that, since I was afraid of surgeries, I decided to take the long route and medication treatment.
The Long And Depressing Road I Took
Getting chemotherapy meant that I could pretty much do nothing in the next six months. I tried going to work at first, insisting that it was doable. Unfortunately, the drugs were too strong, and I ended up throwing up whenever I tried to move.
As the days passed by slowly and painfully, I began spiraling down. I started questioning everything I knew. I could not understand how I developed cancer, no matter how much the doctor explained its possible causes. The longer I stayed in chemo, the worse I felt, to the extent that I told my doctor that I wanted to give up during one session.
In all fairness, I got lucky with my physician. On the same day, I said that he asked his wife – a resident psychiatrist in the hospital – to meet me. She confirmed what I knew all along – that I had depression – and gave me a book about it. She said, “Read this book when you go home today, and then contact me tomorrow when you’re ready to deal with your condition.”
What are the four major causes of depression?
- Traumatic events
Is reading good for depression?
Yes, reading is good for depression. Its effect on people is almost the same as that of meditation and yoga, in the sense that it relaxes the mind well.
What is the most reliable depression symptom?
Feeling helpless about life is the most reliable symptom of depression.
Are books good for mental health?
Yes, books are good for mental health. According to scientists, reading for at least six minutes every day can reduce your stress level and heart rate by 60%.
What is the primary cause of depression?
The environment is the primary cause of depression. According to research, it makes up 60% of the problem.
What is the most significant cause of depression?
A mixture of environmental and neurological factors is the most significant cause of depression.
Why is reading so boring?
Reading is boring because you either have not found an interesting title or are not thinking about it positively.
Can anxiety affect reading?
Yes, anxiety can affect the reading. When you are panicking, your brain cannot comprehend the words even when you can read them well.
Is reading good for your brain?
Yes, reading is right for your brain. Aside from improving your vocabulary, it also allows your brain to create new neural connections.
What are the four types of depression?
- Bipolar disorder
- Seasonal affective disorder
- Clinical depression
What are the five mental illness signs?
- Severe anxiety
- Long-term irritability or hopelessness
- Excessive mood swings
- Varying behavioral patterns
Is it normal to cry for no reason?
Yes, it is technically normal to cry for no reason, especially when you are stressed out.
Does reading increase IQ?
Yes, reading increases IQ. That’s why IQ tests have a vocabulary or reading comprehension section.
How can I improve my mental health?
The easiest way to improve your mental well-being is by talking about how you think or feel, no matter how embarrassing it may be. Then, you should focus on your physical health and ask for mental health if need be.
What are the five benefits of reading?
- Creating new neurons
- Expanding vocabulary
- Increasing empathy
- Reducing stress
- Slowing down cognitive decline
I knew that the psychiatrist’s initial tactic – giving a book about depression – was a bit unconventional for some. Still, it genuinely helped me realize that I was not the only person dealing with such a disorder. Hence, while I was not doing chemo, I was getting one-on-one therapy to cope with my depression. Six months later, I left the hospital cancer-free and depression-free.