TCAF Lead Ambassadors
Growing up, I always heard stories from my mother about an uncle I never met. In the 1970's, testicular cancer was less than curable at an advanced stage and my uncle ultimately succumbed to the monster in 1976. My mother always instilled a fear in me that I need to check myself and speak out if something felt wrong. In 2004, my uncle on my dads side of the family discovered that he also had testicular cancer. He went through 3 rounds of BEP and and RPLND and still deals with minor side effects from the surgery and chemo, today.
I have always made it a point to check myself. I always felt like it was a ticking time bomb that I would eventually have to disarm. Being 25, I thought I was invincible. I was a college grad with a great career and always thought of life many years down the road. I was so happy planning my life with my soon to be fiancé and looking into getting our first home. March 15th, 2017 is when that all changed. I hadn't checked myself in a few months and decided I should. The very second that I felt it, my heart sank. I knew exactly what I was feeling.
My husband at 36 had no medical problems, in fact he often refused to go in for even a regular check up. I feel many men do the same, thinking they will "get better" on their own. I am a RN with 9 years nursing experience and did not drag him in until he was hobbled over like a 90 year old man.
This is the incredible story of Toni Brown and her son, Alexander, and his year long fight against testicular cancer starting in January 2014. Alex was a student in his final year of Geology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, when he collapsed in one of his classes after having strange flu-like symptoms for a few days, only for it to be realized that he actually had advanced stage testicular cancer! What's a mother to do other than drop everything at their home near Ottawa at the opposite end of the country, and race to her son's side? "I packed for two weeks and left home the following day. Little did I know that I’d be gone for 346 days."
Hello! I’m Chris Osborn a two-time late stage testicular cancer survivor, I’ve been through 4xEP, 1xBEP, 1xVIP, and 2xHDC with stem cell transplant, and RPLND. I am also a type 1 diabetic. I joined TCAF Ambassadors to help others going through testicular cancer, I have some unique medical conditions and I hope I can pass the knowledge I have acquired over the past few years to anyone who needs it! Here is a brief history of my experience with testicular cancer.
Hi, I am Carl Russell. I am 48 years old and a lifelong resident of the Great State of Texas. I am a son, brother, spouse and father to my family. I am a military veteran with 8 years active duty in the U.S. Army, of which 9 months was spent in Southwest Asia to support Operation Desert Shield, Storm and Provide Comfort. I have lived a great life, but nothing prepared me for the day I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer.
It all started sometime in early 2005, I noticed my right testicle seemed slightly bigger. Of course at 24 I had no clue what that meant and just brushed it off. I kept on going, living my life. Around April, my appetite fell off and by the second week of May not only had I really become worried about the size of my testicle, but it really started to hurt. Even then I had not made an appointment to have it checked, but I did go to my family doctor to check into some issues I was having with swallowing food (which later turned out to also be a side effect of the spreading cancer). Luckily, during an abdominal ultrasound, they saw the spots that would alter my life forever. They immediately rushed me to CT scan and within 24 hours I received a call from my doctor that he was referring me to an oncologist.
Prior to October 2016, I was your typical 25-year-old guy. I enjoyed spending time with my fianceé and pets, traveling to present at educational technology conferences, reading a good book in my hammock, or lounging and watching the latest Avengers movie. That all changed when I found a lump on my left testicle during a routine self-exam in the shower.
After being treated with several rounds of antibiotics for what was thought to be in an infection in one of my testicles, I had an exploratory surgery to see what was going on. That was when I had an orchiectomy and was diagnosed with testicular cancer. We decided to go the aggressive route with the RPLND surgery and a triple round of chemo that I now understand was the exact regimen that Dr. Einhorn proposed. We then monitored Beta HCG and Alpha feta protein for follow-up. I was clean for two years until I started having the same symptoms again in the other testicle, and sure enough the markers followed and I had a second primary testicular cancer!
As a junior in college at age 21, I always thought the toughest challenge I'd face was whether I had enough time to brush my teeth before an 8AM Friday Digital Comm Systems class. I remember waking up on a Saturday morning with a piercing pain in my lower right abdomen and knew something wasn't right. It took me a week before I realized I had a problem and went to the doctor.
Cancer has impacted my life in so many ways; the emotion roller coaster; the fear of losing my son; the rose colored glasses that were ripped from my face; survivor guilt; PSTD; depression, anxiety; and gratefulness beyond belief. I have gone through the trenches with people I only met through the internet, sharing a common bond that none of us really want to share. My new-normal life's passion is to speak to other about their cancer or caregiver journey and I so through several non-profits. I have also returned to college in order to earn my bachelors then master's to change professions and counsel cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. It's an eight year plan and I'm in year four.
I had surgery to remove my cancerous left testicle in April 2012 and a recurrence of cancer in my lymph nodes that was discovered later that year. I went through chemotherapy from January 2013 to April 2013. I thought I was in the clear after surgery. I thought I found it so early that I was going to return to my normal life with one less testicle. It turns out that the surgery is not the only place where things could go wrong. The place where my life was impacted most was my family. My wife changed after my surgery and became argumentative and distant from me. Life was difficult without a supportive spouse to help me through my recovery, but it got even worse when the cancer came back.
Hello everyone. My name is Ricky. I'm a native of southeast Louisiana. I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 45 on Oct. 3rd, 2012 at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans after feeling heaviness and some pain for a few weeks. A few days later on Oct. 8th, I had Orchiectomy surgery on my right testicle with a prosthetic implanted at Tulane Medical Center. The path report revealed stage 1b non-seminoma with LVI. The tumor was composed of 95% seminoma, 5% immature teratoma with malignant transformation to PNET. Due to my family's concern, I had a 2nd opinion for treatment options at MD Anderson in Houston. Starting December 10th, 2012, I received 1xBEP chemo regimen inpatient at MD Anderson. I had a pretty rough time after chemo for a couple of years, but I'm doing much better now. On Oct. 8th, 2017, this day will mark 5 years in remission for me. Both my parents died of cancer before I was 25, so when cancer invaded my body, I was truly terrified. My testicular cancer diagnosis changed me forever.
It all started with a backache in 1992. I had an upper GI after an emergency room visit, and my life got complicated quickly. Now there was no talk of testicular cancer at this point. I had a retroperitoneal tumor near my pancreas and the surgery was exploratory. I get operated on and wake up with tubes everywhere and thinking I had just been stuck with a bad ginsu knife. I had a scar from my sternum down below my belly button and was quite freaked out. Six weeks of recovery and an appointment withmy surgeonsaying "hey Jim you have a seminoma (12 x 5 cm from the report) " I had no idea what significance a "seminoma" was, nor much of anything about testicular cancer.
My 19 year old son was diagnosed with stage 4 choriocarcinoma 3 years ago and nearly lost his life to this disease a day later. Everything happened so fast that we really didn't have any choices. Adam was so sick and we just had to go with the protocol that his oncologist and medical team decided on for him. Luckily we had an amazing oncologist and urologist, not to mention the brain surgeon that saved his life. Even if we had choices I wouldn't have known which way to go. Our family and friends were an amazing support system but we had no one that knew anything about Testicular Cancer. All we had was the information we could find on the internet.
My name is Jeremiah Ray. I was diagnosed with stage IIIc testicular cancer on April 1, 2016. At the time I was pursuing my MFA, I was merely weeks away from graduation when diagnosed. My intention, in furthering my education, was to teach art at the college/university level. I was very keen on helping others explore their own, per-existing, visual vocabulary as well as helping them develop new means of communication and expression. However, all this changed one day when, walking to the CTA, I had a seizure, was hospitalized for a number of days, and was subsequently diagnosed with cancer.