“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.