“You have Cancer”

December 12, 2013

4 Days Pre-diagnoses (The one in the beige pants)

“You have Cancer.”  The three words you never want to hear.

These three words were given to me on October 29, 2013.  Specifically, I have Stage 3 Testicular Cancer. Nothing could have prepared me for the whirlwind of emotions that I felt when my doctor told me this. I became angry, sad, hurt, hopeless, fear, numb, the list goes on and on.

Really? Me, Cancer? But…I workout, I don’t do drugs, my family doesn’t have a history of it … – Really, Cancer?!  Since this is my first post, I have condensed the beginning of my journey to the best of my ability to keep you up-to-date.

Before I dive into what type of Cancer I have and all that jazz, let’s go back to the beginning to see how I discovered it. It seems like just yesterday I was living a carefree life worrying about things I thought were SO important and in reality meant very little, if nothing!

It was by accident how I discovered anything abnormal with one of my balls (let’s be real, no one says testicle unless you’re a doctor). So here is where it started – Playing soccer in a couple leagues a week, every few games, it’s inevitable: The dreaded nut shot from a skewed shot or pass. Basically, after one particular game, I noticed one of my balls was a little swollen. It was unusual, but it wasn’t painful or even really noticeable. I was curious about it, so I hopped on Google to see what I could diagnose myself with. Here is the article I stumbled upon http://bit.ly/GoogleDiagnoses. The next couple of days I read a couple more articles before deciding it was imperative that I get it checked out. I go into the doctor’s thinking nothing of it. I am expecting to get some meds, wait a week and I will be good to go. Yea right!  The doctor took one look at me and said, “We need to get you an ultrasound ASAP.” That is when the worrying started to set in. Keep in mind, I had already left work earlier to go to the doctor’s – Now I had to come back and let them know I had to go back. What was I going to say?

I made up some story that I needed x-rays to make sure I was okay for my marathon that was coming up the following week. So I go in later that day for my ultrasound – Which was quite a weird experience I might add. It consisted of an older lady fondling my balls multiple times with this weird kind of gel and moved around them over-and-over. The whole time I’m pestering her, “What do you see? I know you’re not a doctor but you do this for a living, what’s the news?” After the ultrasound, I make my way back to work where I was confronted by my boss – He immediately asked what was up, how am I, etc. I stumbled and couldn’t really come up with anything. He sensed something was up, so I ended up telling him. In the end, I’m very thankful he was in on this from the beginning. I’m very fortunate to work with a great boss and group of coworkers. It has definitely made this whole process a million times easier for me. I love them all more than they know.

At that point, my boss was the only person besides my doctor and myself that knew what was up.  I didn’t tell anyone because I wanted to make sure I had all of the facts right. The next day, I got a call from my doctor informing me that I have an enlarged mass on my right testicle and I would need to come in for a CT scan to see if anything showed up elsewhere in my body. A CT scan is pretty much a badass x-ray machine that takes a ton of thinly sliced images of all of your organs. I had to utilize dye – It was a ton of fluid I had to force-feed myself prior to the scan. It was so that certain areas of my body would show up on the scan. I got this scan done on Monday, October 28th, significant because I had a flight scheduled for New York that week on Wednesday, October 30th. I was going to NYC from October 30th – November 4th to run the NYC Marathon and enjoy Halloween in the city with some friends – At least that was the plan. The following day, Tuesday – October 29th, I go into my doctors to get the final diagnoses from all of my tests. That is when the words “You have Cancer” were uttered.

The blood work for testicular cancer uses three key markers and two of my levels showed very slight signs for cancer. Find out all about markers HERE.  When I got my CT scan back, it showed that areas in my abdominal and lungs looked cancerous. This is where Stage 3 Testicular Cancer comes into play – The more areas it spreads, the higher the stage. The only bright side of testicular cancer is, if it’s caught early enough you have a 80-95% chance to beat it.

While doing research, the average age for testicular cancer is 15-35 and is most common in Caucasian men (Source)- Every hour of every day, a man will hear, “You have testicular cancer.” As I go through this journey, this website/blog will be a resource/source for a multitude of reasons. It’s an outlet to clear my head and document my story, help out current/future people going through the same thing and ultimately raise awareness for testicular cancer and cancer in general!

Thank you for taking the time to read my first post. I will go into depth about the next steps of my treatment, as well as how I told my friends and family about my diagnoses in the next entry.

If you’re interested in how you can support me, please visit the “Support Me” tab on the homepage for more information. Again, I appreciate your time reading this post and if you have any questions or want to talk feel free to reach out to me.

  • Brett Keenan

    Wow. I’m totally choked up. Stephen…I’m so inspired by your positive attitude and willingness to share. Please know that I will be praying for you every day (and I’m an awesome pray-er!). Stay strong buddy.

    • Stephen Traversie

      Thanks Brett! Love this photo haha

  • Cristina Miranda

    They say courage is found in unlikely places. It takes courage to share your experience with others, you’re a true inspiration. Positive Vibes Only.

    • Stephen Traversie

      Thanks 🙂 – Mind over matter

  • Brenda B Parker

    You already know that the Bartholomew family loves you and will all be praying for you. Am glad you’ve chosen to share the details via a blog. Not only will it help you to put the facts & your feelings down in words but it will be a great way to keep us all informed. I know your “story” will be a help to others. Love you.

    • Stephen Traversie

      Thanks for the support! Love you guys as well.

  • Ayat

    Praying for you Stephen. You are so positive! I’ll be following along on your site.

    • Stephen Traversie

      Thanks for the support Ayat!

  • Trent

    Positive vibes man, you will conquer this!

    • Stephen Traversie

      All positive on this end, appreciate the support!

  • Madeleine T.

    We’ll be thinking of you! You’re young and strong. You’ll get through this difficult chapter of your life.

    • Stephen Traversie

      Thank you guys! I will definitely get through this 🙂

  • Mandy Appleby

    If you need anything let me know! You got this buddy! No doubt you’ll beat this!!

    • Stephen Traversie

      Thanks Mandy! Of course I will beat this 🙂

  • Kevin Lock

    I’m praying for you man but let me know if there is anything else you need too.

    • Stephen Traversie

      Thanks for the prayers and support!

  • Mallory McLane

    Stephen, it’s been two years since I’ve lived in Charlotte and had the pleasure to hang out with you and the girls – but in all the hilarious memories that I have of us all at the bar I can’t remember a single one without you smiling! Stay positive and stay strong, I know this is going to be a struggle, but there is not a doubt in my mind-you will get through this and come out of it kicking cancer’s ass! Thinking of you and sending positive energy and loads of support your way. You are truly an inspiration by having the courage to share your story with others so that they too may learn, and for everyone who cares about you to be able to keep sending support your way! (even from the middle of the desert!) xx, keep truckin’ on bud 🙂

    • Stephen Traversie

      Thanks for the kind words and support! Definitely miss some of those good old times 🙂

  • Catherine Lawrence

    Steven, so many emotions right now, I don’t know how to express what I am feeling other than to tell you that you are already a survivor. This journey will continue long after the cancer is gone because you are a different person now and your path has a new direction. It has been eighteen months for me Steven and I am a stronger more decisive person because of my cancer diagnosis. My only advise is to be kind to yourself. If you say the things people want to hear or behave the way you think you should you will get lost in the process. Scream. Cry, shout. Pray do whatever you need to do but acknowledge your feelings. My admiration for you and the courage it is taking to create this blog is never ending. You know you can call me for anything at anytime. Smile if you feel like it! Love, Mrs. Lawrence

    • Stephen Traversie

      Thanks for the encouragement and words of wisdom from your own experience. I will definitely be smiling through all of this 🙂

  • Catherine

    Steven, I wonder if you are familiar with President Roosevelt’s definition of courage- he defined it as grace under pressure. So my friend the word courageous fits you well. Not only for your willingness to educate us through your journey but also to share an experience that I am sure you would prefer not to go through. You already are a survivor Steven and this journey will help to sculpt you into the person you will become to assist others along the way. My only advise for you is to be gentle with yourself. Concentrate on what you need and how you feel instead if saying or doing what you think others need to hear. I understand completely how you feel, so take each day as it comes and then address tomorrow. It has been eighteen months since my diagnosis and each day is priceless. We will survive! Let me help you-please call when you want to talk. Love, Mrs Lawrence

  • Megan Ray

    Love you, my bro! You are so strong and I know you will overcome this 100%. I’m praying for you and please let me know if I can help in any way! Love, your sis

    • Stephen Traversie

      Love you to sis! Miss seeing you around. Thanks for the prayers and support!

  • Seth Wyatt

    Great post man. Keep it up. Looking forward to this being in the past.

    • Stephen Traversie

      Appreciate the support Seth. We will definitely get up when I beat this.

  • Tracy Matherly Wilson

    Stephen, I’m just really proud of your use of exclamation points throughout this blog!!!!!!! 🙂

    • Stephen Traversie

      Just for you Tracy!!!!!!!! 🙂

  • Pat

    Stevie – thinking of you — you are in our prayers — also, I can’t wait to hear how the bionic nut works…

    • Stephen Traversie

      I have plenty of stories for you amigo. Tell you next time I’m in the office.

  • Beth Weston Gunter

    Stephen…… the kid I like to call my adopted little bro. I adore how so many people see what a strong courageous person you are. I will never forget the day you came to get your hair cut and broke the news….. you were consoling me! As awful as this is I have to believe its happening for a reason. You will beat this and grow from it. I am positive that you will be the reason for so many others gaining the strength to get through similar life challenges. I will forever be here for you my friend, my little bro, Mr. High Maintenance. Xo

  • Ana Ogbueze

    Keeping you in my prayers all the way! You will beat this! 😉

    • Stephen Traversie

      Thanks Ana, hope all is well with you too!

  • Courtney davila

    It has been so long since we’ve spoken but I happened upon your page today and discover this news. There are truly no words to describe what a strong, diligent force you are. I pray that for all aspects of your health and well being, and will continue to follow your story as you make your recovery and continue to shine your light on us all.

    • Stephen Traversie

      Thanks for the support and kind words!

  • Kyle

    was great to see you today little brother. you have made me remember why I train, why I try, and why I still fight…..thank you

  • Dale

    Stephen, having survived my own war against cancer I can appreciate your words and your positive attitude. Thinking back to 2007 when we met while waiting in line for the first iPhone to go on sale, brings a smile to my face. You are quite a guy!