Tuesday, March 8, 2011
In reality, I have had the bloating part of the sensation periodically for as long as I can remember. I remember telling my wife that "men have periods, too," because every month I would feel a little bloated and have an embarrassing intestinal purge. I knew when she was about to start her period, because I would hurt, too--on the left side. At the time I wrote the pain off as simply sympathetic pain, maybe some psychic bonding or connection--and this was happening before I had my first estrogen pill.
Sure enough, the testicle had gone missing and was deeply nested in my lower abdominal region. It, of course, came back down, and I started blaming the "menstrual pains" on the times it traveled "back home."
February of last year, it made one of its journeys and came back down, leaving me in constipation with a very sore testicle for over a week. It took a round of very potent antibiotics to make the pain go away. I was also called in for a testicular ultrasound a couple of days later and informed by the doctor that everything looked normal.
I asked my mother how long this had been going on, and she had told me since I was about 8 or 9 years old and she thought I had appendicitis, because I was complaining about abdominal pain. After rushing me to be doctor, it was the first time that she recalls hearing the word "undescended testicle" with regards to me. Her husband, my Dad, was born with bilateral cryptorchidism, so I guess you can say I inherited the predisposition. Anyway, the doctor did nothing to correct the problem, and told her that if it comes down it will be all right.
This is about the same time in my life that I was sent to a specialist at Wright Patterson Air Force Base for an operation because I had a distended bladder causing urinary incontinence and was taken advantage of by an older boy in the swimming pool locker room because I wanted to know what it was like to be a girl.
When I got my operation, I was told that a tube was going to be inserted through the tip of my penis to pop open the bladder so that it wouldn't be blocked anymore. When I woke up from the anesthesia with a burning sensation whenever I tried to pee, I noticed the cloacal line on my penis was stitched up. The surgeon said that they had to open me up there for the procedure.
You would think that if a 9 year-old boy presented with multiple urogenital problems, you would want to do a scan to see what was actually going on. This was 1974. There were no CT's, MRI's or sonograms. The best the doctor could do was get me to drink a chalky fluid so that he could x-ray the shape of my bladder, which led to the previously mentioned operation.
Once I switched to one intramuscular estrogen injection every two weeks, I noticed the menstrual pains got more severe and regular. They would last 4 to 5 days and follow within a few days of the injection. I also noticed that my undescended testicle could no longer be blamed for the problem. And this didn't make sense, because technically you're supposed to have a uterus (or endometrial tissue) to have menstrual cramps.
So over the last year and a half, off and on, I tried to find something that made sense. I finally began my probing experiments, saw an intersex counselor, and got a referral to a urologist with whom I spoke yesterday. The urologist ordered a CT scan. In one image, to the left of my bladder and behind the inguinal canal, you can see a significantly sized low-density mass that does not have a counterpart on my right side. In another image, you can see a long lateral object in front of the pelvic that is larger on the left as well. These masses correspond to where I am feeling the periodic menstrual pains. All that's left is the urologist's interpretation of what these particular masses mean. I'm to call back in a couple of days after he's had a chance to look at the results.
Hugs and God Bless,