This is me
I'm Dr. Glaucomflecken and here is my story
I was in my 4th year of med school in 2012 when I woke up with a lump the size of a testicle on my testicle. I knew enough about medicine at that point to know that testicles don't typically multiply and a doctor confirmed my suspicion shortly thereafter. Testicular cancer. It's a painful experience to go from feeling like an invincible 25 year old to a cancer patient dependent on hormone therapy to feel normal. It's hard at that age to face the possibility that you might be done having kids.
As I progressed through endless treatments, CT scans, injections, doctors appointments, and blood draws, I started to tell jokes again. At the time of my diagnosis I hadn't done stand up in 2 years. I initially got involved in comedy as a high schooler telling horrible jokes and getting very little positive feedback. I improved during college and med school, and was eventually good enough to make a little beer money. Unfortunately, as my schedule became increasingly packed and med school turned into residency with a wife and two kids, I no longer had time for late night comedy spots. I found a medical satire blog called Gomerblog, which provided a creative outlet to fill the void that stand-up comedy had left. Comedy writing has helped sustain me over the last few years, even as cancer reared its ugly head again requiring more surgery and hormone therapy.
After my second bout with cancer, I discovered First Descents, a non-profit that brings young adults affected by cancer together during a shared outdoor adventure experience. Well, I say "I discovered" when what I really mean is my wife discovered it while looking for a way to connect me with other young cancer survivors. I tend to internalize my grief and anxiety until it eventually comes out in joke form. I needed to see and hear other people my age struggling with cancer and my wife knew it. The First Descents program was a lifeline for me. It was a way to put my disease in perspective and realize I'm not alone in my fight. The week I spent in Hood River kayaking with 15 other remarkable young cancer survivors gave me strength emotionally and physically. It's an experience I'll never forget.
Since my First Descents program last summer I have been trying to figure out how to give back to a program that has given me so much. I'm pretty good at two things: ophthalmology and telling jokes about medicine. My goal is to use those skills (yes I consider telling jokes about eyeballs to a modest social media following to be a skill) to generate awareness for this valuable program.
The First Descents motto is "Out Living It" and I guess that's what I'm doing with this website and comedy. I'm out living it.