Nothing matters more to all of us at the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation than getting out into the public, and helping to raise awareness about testicular cancer. It's the number one form of cancer in men ages 15-44, yet almost no one talks about the disease! The rate of testicular cancer in young men is nearly the same as the rate of breast cancer in young women, yet all you ever see are pink ribbons and breast cancer awareness campaigns. There's nothing wrong with that, but we need to be talking about men's cancers and testicular cancer, too! We need to see more BLUE out there, and so it was great to see so much awareness activity this past week by TCAF Ambassadors in both schools and at health fairs.
When I was finishing chemo, I was given Ambien to help me sleep. It didn't work, but the side effects of 'violent and suicidal thoughts' sure did.I don't think I've ever really talked about this publicly, but reading about Chris Cornell's death and what his wife is saying about his taking Ativan, which is some powerful stuff made me see the connection.
things change… it is hard to believe it was over a week ago today i was rushed to the ER (april 27, 2017). i understand clearly what was happening. at the time however, i was in tears to the paramedics while en route trying to explain my health history in one long-winded sentence, as well as both describe to them (and explain to myself) that currently i couldn’t move my left arm.
TCAF Ambassador John Armijo shares his perspective of getting his life back after testicular cancer through his movie work, and on recovering from the extreme fatigue, neuropathy, and PTSD that followed chemotherapy. "In my quickly-going-insane mind, I had already died and was in Hell. I couldn't leave the house due to low immunities and had lost everything in my mind, from the ability to sleep and eat, and now my sanity was next on the checklist before I ultimately lost my life. A bit exaggerated in retrospect, but very real to me at the time."
Today marks my last two days of chemotherapy for testicular cancer, six years ago. Why do I mark the last two days, and not the last day? Because I distinctly remember just how scared out of my mind I was, worrying that the chemotherapy hadn't done its job, and that I'd have to go through these months of misery all over again, possibly without a healthy exit.
What follows was the agreed upon and, finally accepted, treatment plan following my one round of 2nd line/salvage chemo. After growth was detected in a nodule in my right lung, i was again in a place of facing cancer and, perhaps even more-so than when initially diagnosed, denial of this fact. A lot of questions arose; questions that gave way to fear, anger, despair… I would be stuck in these places of either serene acceptance and willingness to meet it (cancer) head-on, or I would find myself wrapped up in my bed, midday crying such great amounts of tears. It was between these great emotional outpourings that I would feel calm and (an) acceptance.
For those who think that the various forms of strength go hand-in-hand, they don’t. Psychological strength, emotional strength, psychical strength, etc.etc. are all vastly different and how we perceive them, and ourselves within spectrum (of ”strong” and “weak”, whatever those mean) shifts from one form to another. Often, the mentality that one form of strength translates from one to another is dangerous and a detriment to our growth and development.
the following day, yesterday morning, while driving back from an appointment, i lost complete mobility in my left arm. unsure if this was a seizure, a stroke... a clotting issue, my sister took me to the ER. as most of my ER stories go, they did a number of tests, the first of which, after vitals, was a CT scan of the head. what they discovered explained the loss of mobility/motor function in my left arm -- a 3.2cm lesion located on the back rear (right) lobe in and around parietal and occipital lobe.
Editor's Note: Jeremiah Ray was diagnosed with advanced stage testicular cancer in 2016, only to face a recurrence of his cancer six months later. Jeremiah is starting high dose chemotherapy, and is sharing his HDC journey with us.
To me, a stem cell transplant is still a mystery. I understand it on the theoretical level, but it still seems like some sort of sorcery.
Mow the lawn - Check. Move the TV out of the bedroom and back to my office (finally) - Check. Write a blog post for my teaching blog - Check. Finish that David Baldacci novel I’ve been working on - Check. Get my port flushed (since I won't get it removed til June) - Check.
I was on spring break from work, after being back for about two months. I was supposed to be a fun time, but midway through I experienced what I thought was sure to be a crisis.
The day after each scan, I breathe a sigh of relief, pat myself on the back for dodging the bullet yet again, then put my blinders on and resume living. But, I also flip the hourglass over again and push it to the back of my mind. Knowing that while I can bury all the fears FOR NOW, in a few months time I'll have to stare down that barrel again.
As an American, I tend to not pay too much attention to what members of the British Royal family are up to, but I just became a huge fan of Prince Harry. It turns out that he and I both have something in common, and that is two years of total chaos after traumatic events in our lives. For Prince Harry, it was the tragic loss of his mother, Princess Diana, 20 years ago when he was just 12 years old, and for myself, my cancer diagnosis six years ago at the age of 33.
I get asked a lot about how to support people going through chemotherapy, so I thought I would share a short story about the best thing my sister did while supporting me through the process of chemotherapy. She was someone I could count on to listen and helped me feel comfortable enough to dump all my complaints on. The act of listening is one of the most compassionate things you can do yet it is often taken for granted.
The mental challenges that we can still face in our minds, even many years after cancer. "I've been feeling extremely restless lately, and I haven't known why. I realized I've been longing for that security that we all felt about our lives before cancer, and the restlessness is because I know I'll never feel that again. At the conscious level, I've understood and accepted this for a long time, but it doesn't mean that we don't subconsciously still long to feel that again, and that it can't affect us. A bit of depression perhaps, finding myself once again longing for something that I know I'll never feel again?
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.
I was diagnosed as Stage 1A, with a Malignant Mixed Germ Cell Tumor, Non- Seminoma that consisted of 30% Teratoma, 30% Yolk Sac Tumor, 20% Seminoma, and 20% Embryonal Carcinoma. My initial AFP level was 1,151 and my HCG level was 4.6. The pathology of my right testicle indicated that there was no vascular invasion outside of the tumor. After repeated blood tests over several weeks, my Oncologist told me that my AFP levels had not decreased to normal levels in the time they should have, and that I needed to undergo 3XBEP for treatment and assurance that no cancer would return. I agreed with his treatment because he’s the doctor and he should know what I need to do to cure my cancer, right? Wrong!
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.
it seems that, regardless of where my searching lead, one name kept appearing: Dr. Lawrence Einhorn. Why? Because he changed the game – no, seriously! Before Dr. Einhorn, a testicular cancer diagnosis was, essentially, a death sentence. He revolutionized how it was treated and, today, oncologist jokingly reassure patients, “if you had to choose one type of cancer to get, testicular cancer is it!” Yes, it’s a strange thing to say. But testicular cancer boasts such amazingly high cure rates, in large part, to Dr. Einhorn.
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.
I know many of you already through my prior work with Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation doing education for the foundation. I'm the father of Justin Muriett who was a late stage (3C) diagnosis when he was 19 years old. He already had multiple mets when diagnosed including a retroperitoneal mass, a spinal mass, and small lung mets. Justin went through chemo, an RPLND, Radiation, and also physical and occupational therapy after losing leg function due to the spinal tumor. During radiation, Justin was actually terminally diagnosed by Dr. Einhorn in Indiana, due to the fact that he had a malignant transformation of his tumor to a more aggressive PET tumor.
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.
I'm 43 years old. A father and a husband, and a professional loser...
I fought the GIJOE team, and was killed. I fought the raptors of Jurassic Word... I was slaughtered. I fought for control of the Planet of the Apes. I lost. I fought Key & Peele for the cutest kitty in the world. I was shot. I've even fought Keanu Reeves in court. I was defeated. In 2014 I fought for my life against testicular cancer. I won that battle.
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.
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