Jeremiah Ray's Advanced Stage Testicular Cancer and Recurrence Fight

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.

Though advanced, testicular cancer boasts a very high cure rate. Why undergoing treatment I wrote and submitted the various course work in order to complete my degree. A few weeks after completing my last round of chemotherapy (July 5, 2016) I also completed my MFA.

Though I still had to endure radiation to the single brain lesion I was, or thought I was, ready to continue on with the life I had been setting up.

2017 had other plans. Routine surveillance scans (CT & MRI) revealed a growing nodule in my right lung. In early February of 2017 I was informed the cancer, that which I thought I had left conquered and left behind, had returned.

Prior to recurrence, I viewed my diagnosis as a hurdle, a blip, so to speak, on the radar of life which I would deal with accordingly. It wasn’t fun and I never expected it to be. However, when I was informed that it had “come back”, I started to reconsider a lot about life, about disease, about how it is treated and how it is viewed by both the medical establishment and patient. I began posing questions, mainly to myself, about the nature of dis-ease and how one does, in fact, find a cure. The larger question, to which I kept arriving after the recurrence, is; what does it mean to heal? 

Now, more than ever, I firmly believe that we are lead, time and time again, to the same place, the same circumstance, the same relationship, etc.. This is the cyclical nature of life – of all life.