Cancer Saved My Life by Ken Wlodarczyk
I have been diagnosed with testicular cancer twice. Once in May of 2009, and again in December 2012. The first time, I was numb to it. I just wanted it out. It wasn't that bad and I didn't even need chemo or radiation. I caught it in time. They told me it was an aggressive tumor and it was good that I came in when I did. But the second time was a little different.
I was going good. I was working and doing well with my check-ups. Then my doctor thought he felt something. He said it is probably just a cyst. I was so far ahead that the odds were in my favor. I got an ultrasound just in case. He didn't like what he saw so he sent me back to my surgeon. Only, he couldn't really tell what it was. We waited a month and did an MRI.
The moment my surgeon walked into the room I knew it was back. I had a feeling it was back. I was down on my luck. Surgery just four days before Christmas. This time, it wasn't as bad after my operation. I felt ok. Maybe because I did this before. But the pain set in on Christmas eve and Christmas day. I slowly slipped into depression.
I'm the type that keeps a strong face for everyone, but inside I was scared. I don't hide my feelings well and I developed a lot of anger problems. My surgeon told me to see my oncologist so he can look at the tests and see what our plan of action was. I had a feeling I was going to have to go through chemo this time. This was the second time I've had this in 3 years. Crazy enough it was the same tumor. Very rare. Only difference? They found blood vessels in the tumor.
Fearing it might be in my blood stream, we did two rounds of chemo. It was a lot smoother than I originally thought it was going to be. I had my moments of feeling sick, weak, and tired, but overall I expected worse. It was then I said to myself that it's time to change my life.
I love baseball and I work out all the time. I let go of myself a little bit. It was in that chemo chair I made a promise to myself: I will not let this cancer kill me. I will not let it take my pride. I'm going back to the gym and working my butt off to get back in shape. I wasn't going to let depression or anxiety run my life. That's letting cancer win.
This was my slogan through all of this. I am a sore loser. I hate to lose. Does cancer really think I'm going to let it win? I was losing my hair anyway. So I went to the barber and got a purple Mohawk. That was the closest I could get to our ribbon color. Its weird but cancer saved my life. It made me reflect. Its also made me speak up about MY horrible cancer. No one knows what testicular cancer is. Until now.
Now, I've dropped a total of 50 pounds since cancer. Some from chemo, and the rest from my hard work and dedication to hitting the gym 4-5 days a week eating the right foods. I know it sounds weird but cancer saved my life