The following has been submitted by “Anonymous Guy in Ohio.”
In general, I was a very healthy child growing up in our Christian Science household, so many of the intricacies about CS’s distaste for modern medicine avoided my awareness. Never had a broken bone. No allergies. Outside of a few severe seasonal colds, I never missed school.
My parents skirted around CS expectations in a curious manner…I got the mandatory vaccinations for school, I went to the dentist regularly–including getting fillings when needed (?) but everything else was off the table.
I very much liked Christian Science growing up. I remember being disappointed as a kid to find out that it was a lay ministry, meaning that leading services wasn’t a full time job. If they would have had priests or ministers, I probably would have considered that as a career path.
I don’t know why, but in my youth I was highly susceptible to testicle torsion. This is essentially when your testicle twists backwards and circulation is cut off. Very common sports injury. Some, like me, just seem to have a predisposition for it–like some people having “bad knees”, I guess.
It starts off innocently enough. A feeling like your leg is falling asleep, except it’s high up in your groin…usually I would go for a short walk, nature would take its course, it would untwist itself, and I wouldn’t think anything of it.
Then one day shortly before my fourteenth birthday, it happened again–and this time it didn’t turn back. This is the WORST. Nausea sets in as the most sensitive part of the male body starts dying. Worst pain you’ll ever feel. If I think about it hard enough, even 25 years later, I get nauseous all over again.
After vomiting for an hour, my mom said that I needed to “get back to God” and start praying. (I was a mouthy 13 year old–aren’t we all?!)
Several hours later it was now 1am and I was writhing in pain as I vomited off the bedside. The pain was too great to walk, so running to the toilet was out of the question.
My mom decided to read “Science and Health” to me….I didn’t hear a word she said. I told her my balls hurt. She told me that it was part of puberty and “I didn’t know what boys my age were supposed to look like” when I told her I could feel the swelling in my scrotum.
Finally I punched the wall. I was out of ways to process the pain. My mom closed the book and walked out of the room, telling me to get some sleep.
I thought about going to the hospital myself, but at 13 years old, I would have to walk there. In my small town, that was definitely possible, but in my condition, not practical.
I dreamed in a red haze all night.
For the next week, I felt part of myself die inside. They both swelled up to the size of a tennis ball as they fought for circulation. I was bullied in school for “walking funny”. I’m pretty sure the Guidance office & a few teachers pulled me aside to investigate, but I was programmed not to discuss family business with them. If only I had.
Eventually, one testicle shriveled up and died.
That’s when I fell out of love with Christian Science. There’s no coming back from that.
A few years later, I got an infection “down there”–this is a common thing if you’ve had this kind of trauma in the nether regions. It was a different pain, but similar enough that I was certain the whole thing was happening again.
I already only had one testicle–was I now a Eunuch at age 16?
I demanded to go the doctor. My mom said, “We can’t, you need to pray, this is what you get for falling away from the Church.”
I told her I was going with or without her because I had a driving permit now, and I didn’t care if I got arrested for not having an adult in the car. If she took the keys, I would walk, because it wasn’t as bad as the last time. Realizing that I had her, and that a minor showing up at the hospital without their parent’s consent would probably get Children’s Services involved, she relented and agreed to go with me.
My mom refused to sit in the appointment, because the Church would be disappointed. She said she was only doing this to humor me.
The doctor was done in about 10 minutes. “Here’s an antibiotic for the infection in your right testicle. No, your left testicle is never going to grow back. We’ll schedule a follow up test, but at this point it’s more dangerous to remove your testicle than to leave it.”
I told him that he didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already suspect about my condition, but I would need him to tell my mom because she thought I was only here because I was having a growth spurt and lacked a working knowledge of puberty.
He agreed, brought her into the exam room. He minced no words. I will never forget the look on her face as he told her that I was intimately scarred for life, and there was no remedy.
“It’s okay to cry,” she told me as we got back in the car, with tears in her eyes.
“I ran out of tears a long time ago,” I said. ” All that’s left is anger now.”