Ambassador Bio: Chris Osborn

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.

I remember the day like yesterday, I was 19 years old, it was a Friday night, and for the past week I had a dull aching pain coming from my left testicle. It was that Friday night that the pain increased and I got myself into the emergency room ASAP. The doctors in the emergency room assured me that I was too young to have testicular cancer and it was most likely an STD causing the pain, so I was sent on my way with some antibiotics.

Well about 10 days later I really started getting concerned when my testicle continued to grow. This time I went to the emergency room and requested an ultrasound of the testicle. That day they found a solid mass on my left testicle and I was immediately scheduled to have a left orchiectomy the following day.

The pathology reports came back a few days later and I did indeed have testicular cancer. The next step was a CT scan, bone scan, and brain scan. The CT scan showed tumors on my liver, abdomen, and lungs. Thankfully the bone scan and brain scan came back clear. The doctor looked me in the eyes and said you have stage 3A testicular cancer. My mom sitting next to me started crying and my dad was at a loss for words. I sat there in silence playing every scenario of what could happen to me in my head, the doctor continued talking but I was so shocked I can’t even remember the rest of the conversation.

A week later I started my 4 rounds of EP chemotherapy. The toughest thing for me during this time was the side effects of the chemotherapy. I started to have loud ringing in my ears and neuropathy in my hands and feet, and I still deal with that today.

Fast forward to after finishing 4 rounds of EP I was told I was in full remission! I felt like I finally got my life back! I started working again and I also started attending college again. About a month into working and college I started having problems eating, no matter what I always felt sick to my stomach. I went to multiple doctors and they basically told me that I wasn’t eating because I wanted attention from my parents! How ridiculous is that!!!!! So, for the next month I suffered. I dropped from 165LBs to 110LBS. Finally, I got another CT scan after arguing with doctors. The CT scan came back and my cancer had returned even worse than the first time. My doctor recommended an RPLND. I knew I wanted to get my RPLND done by the best of the best so I went to Indiana to see Dr. Foster at Indiana University.

I was terrified of the RPLND, but honestly it was a breeze compared to chemotherapy. However, when they removed tumors near my spine some of my nerves were effected in the process leaving me with problems getting around today. The tumors removed during the RPLND were sent to pathology and confirmed to be live cancer. I had about a month wait for my abdomen to heal before I started chemotherapy once again.

Before I knew it, I was back sitting in the dreaded chemotherapy chair, getting poison pumped into my body that I prayed would save my life. They started me out with BEP because I had never had bleomycin before and Dr. Einhorn thought that it was worth a shot, the round after that was VIP, and believe me this was no VIP treatment at the spa!

Finally, my insurance approved me to start the stem cell transplant process for high dose chemotherapy. I started the stem cell collection process, it’s an odd procedure, you get hooked up to a big machine that filters the cells out of your blood and collects them, they are then frozen for when they are used during high dose chemotherapy.

Now it was time to start the dreaded high dose chemotherapy, I’m the type of person who wants to have as much knowledge as possible going into a situation so I can better handle it, however reading into high dose chemotherapy only increased my worry.

The first round was rough for me, because I am diabetic they can’t give me the traditional anti-nausea steroids because it increases your blood sugar to very high levels. I could not get any food down and they even considered placing a feeding tube in me. I made it through the first round, I wasn’t in good shape, my body was weak but my mind was still strong.

They wanted to do the second round of high dose chemotherapy about two months after the first one. If you are familiar with high dose chemotherapy for testicular cancer patients two months between the high dose cycles could cost me my life, it’s just too long of a time. Immediately I emailed my man Dr. Einhorn, he agreed with me after looking at all my medical records. The next day I emailed every doctor on my care team the email I received from Einhorn and told them to inquire with him further if they had any questions. They listened to Einhorn and apologized to me. An important lesson I learned was YOU NEED TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR OWN HEALTH. Be the driver at your doctor appointments not the passenger, it’s your body it’s your life on the line.     

I finished the second round of high dose chemotherapy and was let out of the hospital January 1st, 2015. I have been in remission ever since. I’m now a senior at Iowa State University studying Management Information Systems. I feel as if I was given a second chance at life, and I am thankful every day for that.

Now I help others who are affected by testicular cancer, I am extremely passionate about this. If it wasn’t for people like Kim Jones, I wouldn’t have had the resources so readily available to me. I am always open to talk or answer questions about my personal experiences, so feel free to get in touch with me.

Having a strong support system behind you is crucial to making sure you get the best care possible, and I joined TCAF Ambassadors to do just that.

Chris Osborn
TCAF Ambassador