First blog post on the subject of my testicular cancer. Deep intake of breath…
I’m writing this blog because testicular cancer isn’t spoken about enough, there’s a stigma attached to it still and I really don’t know why. Guys have testicles, its a thing. I hope that in some small way writing about this will help.
Before reading on, if you are a guy please take this seriously when I say check yourself. Seriously, you must, if there is a change you’ve noticed go to the doctor and get it checked and sorted. It will no doubt be nothing but you must get it checked and not make the assumption yourself. The sooner you get it checked the better, nothing will improve on its own.
I’ve read 100’s of forum posts from people and just reading other peoples experiences put my mind at rest, so I really hope this blog going through the transitions along with timescales can have a positive impact for someone out there.
I’m already struggling to find the correct terminology and phrasing for how to go about this blog, so apologies in advance for the haphazard nature I’ll go about writing this. It hopefully will be a very frank and honest representation of the how things happened. I’m only now at (22nd March) at a point where I can express what happened / is happening in any sort of cohesive way. I do plan to go into parts in more detail if and when I get chance to.
The cancer diagnosis for me came out of absolutely nowhere. I’m 27 years old and health wise really pretty healthy. A couple of years ago I’d got back into my tennis and have been a keen runner for a number of years. Feeling healthy lulled me into a false sense of security. Testicular cancer wasn’t on my radar at all.
Main Timeline for reference
December – Noticed a change
21st Feb – Ultrasound scan
23rd Feb – Doctor diagnosis, tumour
27th Feb – Urologist, confirming testicular cancer, stage 1.
28th / 1st / 2nd Fertility Clinic
3rd March – Operation
14th March – CT scan
15th March – Checkup, CT scan observed by consultant, no spread, all removed at operation (yay!)
24th March – Urologist nurse update, radiologist report shows stage 2 spread (boo!)
10th April – Chemotherapy start date
December – I noticed a lump. After a couple of days I queried this with the doctor by giving a call. I was prescribed some antibiotics over the phone and reassured this was nothing without an examination. After a lot of anxious thoughts it didn’t seem right that I’d been given a course of antibiotics without a doctor seeing the issue in person. It seemed essential that I get an appointment. Diagnosis was that this DEFINITELY wasn’t any sort of cancer issue and after much attempted persuasion to get referred on an urgent 2 week timeframe, I was referred for a scan but on the normal waiting time. The doctors reassurance that this was absolutely nothing to worry about enabled me to completely put aside this issue, backed up with the statistics that testicular cancer is really rare. I contemplated going down the private route for the scan but I felt reassured enough that this wasn’t necessary.
My ultrasound scan finally came around on Tuesday 21st February. I was really anxious for a couple of days before this scan but that’s to be expected, I’m a worrier after all. The ultrasound was really a very straightforward process, I and I’m sure many others had the preconception that going for a scan on a testicle would be really awkward and embarrassing experience. It really was FINE. I mean, its obviously not enjoyable and I wouldn’t be rating it as a tripadvisor 5* experience for things to have done in a hospital, but its really not awkward. You’re made to feel at ease and really comfortable, after all the people doing the scans are doing this all day long, they want to make this as straightforward as possible and it showed. Job done, scan sorted, anxious wait for results (my Dr will be in touch) but everything will be fine. Unfortunately the person doing the scan is in no position to give any information so don’t panic when they give zero feedback, thats not good or bad news.
All along I’d said to myself this must be some sort of cyst or something of that nature and I was completely fine with that.
Wednesday 22nd February – I’ve heard nothing from the doctor, waiting for this call was really excruciating.
Thursday 23rd February – I get a call from the hospital around about 12pm informing me that my urgent appointment to see the urologist has been scheduled for Monday. I queried why it was urgent as I’d not yet heard back from the doctors, it turns out I should have already heard from the doctors but hadn’t. I really really needed an update as hearing ‘URGENT APPOINTMENT’ sent me into an absolute panic. If this was just a cyst then why would I need a hospital appointment, let alone an urgent one? I desperately tried to get in touch with the doctors for an update but they were closed until 2pm and there was just an answer machine. I called back 2pm and asked for an urgent update, I was told I could have a call back…this waiting was agony. There seemed some confusion over if I could have a call back from a doctor, it transpired I needed to come into the doctors practice for an update. No information seemed to be able to be told to me over the phone.
After the agonising (I literally could not think about anything other than what was going to be said at this appointment) couple of hours wait I attended the doctors with Dad. There seemed like a painful delay in giving me the information but Im sure that was because 5 seconds to me at that time felt like 5 hours.
I got the update during the appointment that the scan had come back and shown there was a tumour growing inside the testicle, not what I could feel ON, but that there was a tumour inside. A tumour, an actual tumour. No cyst.