“You can do anything, but not everything.”
It has been about two months since my last post. It honestly feels like yesterday that I was in the hospital but at the same time, so long ago. I just recently had my two-month check up and I am proud to say I am still in remission! Though I am in remission and finished with chemotherapy, I am still in the process of healing – It is still an ongoing battle, for a lot has changed!
To quickly catch you all up – A week or two after chemo finished, I was able to get my portcath removed and was allowed to start exercising again. It was mind blowing on how hard it was to do the simplest things that I used to do. For example, a good week after chemo, I hiked Crowder’s Mountain. I used to be able to hike/climb the mountain easily – Barely break a sweat! When I hiked it after chemo, it felt like my lungs were on fire and that I had done a million exercises. I got so tired so fast, and again it was mind blowing that I had taken for granted the simplest things such as hiking. At one point, I truly thought I was not going to reach the top – But I was able to push through and make it to the top and down the mountain (thank you, Jessica!) At that moment, it made me realize that even though chemo was over, it was and will still be an ongoing battle for the rest of my life.
So the road to recovery started with that hike and continued within the next couple of weeks. My exercise intensity gradually increased as well. I was able to take my first kickboxing class, play a full field soccer game, run etc. Unfortunately, it was not all smooth sailing! A couple weeks after that hike I started to have horrible lower back pain. The pain would get so intense that I could not concentrate at work and would have to go lay down and stretch constantly throughout the day.
I ended up calling my doctor so that I could get it checked out. It turned out that the pain I was experiencing had come from stomach ulcers due to the steroid medicine I took during chemo. I ended up getting a medicine called Carafate a liquid gel that would give me a liner in my stomach so that it would protect my stomach from the ulcers and give it a chance to heal. I had to take the medicine four times a day for about three weeks. My back pain continued for the first week and half before it slowly started to subside. Just when I thought I was about to be in the clear, I noticed I had blood in my urine.
I have never seen blood in my urine, it was definitely a bit frightening. I immediately called my doctor again and scheduled a second check up. It was over the weekend when I saw the blood in my urine. The blood had started to dwindle down, so I pushed my appoint to a later time that upcoming week to see if it would continue to subside. Again, just when I thought I was in the clear, on Saturday night, I got up in the middle of the night because I had to pee really bad – When I went to go pee this time, I felt such an EXTREME pain! The pain was so awful, it felt like something was preventing me from peeing. I eventually ended up pissing and the pain had subsided a whole lot after that. When I woke up the next morning, I was sore but grateful that I wasn’t feeling much pain. Soon enough, I visited my doctor – After telling him what had happened, he told me that I had kidney stones and luckily they had passed through. However, I still had to get another CT Scan and some blood work to verify that all of the stones were gone and thankfully they were!
After the kidney stones and the stomach ulcers were gone, I was officially on my road to recovery! I began to go to the gym more frequently, play more soccer in a couple of different soccer leagues and run again. Even though I had my physical fitness back, it is still extremely hard to get back into the rhythm of a lot of things. For example, every now and then, I forget some of the simplest things for no reason. Overall, each and every day I am a step closer to being me again. My doctor says it will take about six months to feel normal again, meaning I have another four months to go. I am super grateful that within these past two months, my hair has started to grow back (bottom left photo), getting back in shape feels great and I am not so fatigued anymore. When people ask me how excited I am to be done, I tell people that it is exciting but scary at the same time – Because at any given moment, it could come back and I’d go right back to square one.
I am making efforts to keep this updated monthly or at the least every couple of months when I have my two-month checkups. I originally had wanted to write more about the insurance cost and how CRAZY difficult it is to manage it all. To simply sum it all up: I have bills coming from about six places – Some my insurance covers it and some of it does not. Also, some bills should be covered but the doctor’s office had coded them wrong. All in all, it is one big nightmare and I am truly grateful for my mother’s help! My bills would have exceeded to $100,000 if I did not have insurance. Luckily, I have insurance and it looks like I will owe around $10,000 – $15,000. Right now, I am planning an event here in Charlotte, N.C. on June 5th, to help me pay for my medical bills as well as raise awareness for testicular cancer. My next post will highlight that event with more details. Thanks again for reading this and supporting me! Check out my “Support Me” tab if you get a chance too.