Posts in Ambassadors
Strength Is Freedom

I was a prisoner of my past.  My prison warden was someone called “I used to”.  “I used to” would remind me of my previous accomplishments lifting humongous weights, running long distances, and various feats of acrobatics.  The warden was quick to steal the joy out of my life and pull the rug out from under me whenever I attempted to regain the strength I was so proud of having before.  I spent many days feeling sorry for myself and lamenting the things I could no longer do until one day I decided I was done with the suffering.

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Living Under the Shadow Of Cancer

Cancer. The bastard disease of humankind that kills without hesitation, without prejudice. It is one of the most dreaded words in the medical world, especially if you are a patient. Cancer will turn a world upside down, backwards, and inside out. And more than likely, cancer will be what kills me in the end. That’s a depressing thought to have I know. It’s one of those things that is just ingrained in my mind, and something that contributes to daily anxiety. Let me break it down for you.

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Jeremiah Ray - High Dose Chemotherapy Day -5

where and how do i begin explaining high dose chemotherapy with (tandem) stem cell transplants? i have been considering how i should go about describing the process, however i wasn’t even sure i understood it correctly. 
in my case, and this might be the same for other patients, i am not sure, but upon admittance the clock starts at “day -5” (day negative 5). so, “day 0” is when i get my stem cells back. days -5 — 0 are, as you might have guessed, chemo days.

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Ambassador Bio: Jason Greenspan

Hi guys! My name is Jason Greenspan and I'll be a five-year Testicular Cancer survivor in November 2017. In May 2012, I was a very healthy 18-year-old and in my senior year of high school. I already applied to colleges and was excited to attend my senior prom. A week before my prom, I was watching television and had a simple itch. That itch ended up being the most important itch of my entire life. I noticed something hard; something I hadn’t noticed before. I went to the doctors a few days later and he said the words I never thought I would hear; “YOU HAVE CANCER.” When the doctor said those words, my world stopped. The only thing I could think of is what my future would be like. I was diagnosed with Stage IIA Testicular Cancer.  

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Jeremiah Ray - Harvesting II (cell counts)

not the best quality images, but this shows the rapid increase of white blood cells that occurs post nadir (lowest point that an individual’s blood cell count reaches after chemo) coupled with growth factor injections. it is also clear, looking at the counts, why i was suffering from a neutropenic fever and spent a few days in the hospital hooked up tp IV antibiotics and fluids. 

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Infertility After Testicular Cancer

It has been a year since my first blog for TCAF, and I finally feel ready to openly talk about why it took so long to write this. This time last year was extremely hard for me. Four months out from Nate’s RPLND, life had slowly begun returning back to normal and the realities of what that meant were hitting hard. Not only were we recovering from everything we had been through during our cancer journey, but we were suddenly facing a new challenge... infertility.

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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.

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Jeremiah Ray - Harvesting

After being in the hospital for 5 days, my oncologist was worried that if i didn’t make it Thursday to collect and thus left only Friday, we were taking a massive gamble as most people need at least two days to collect all the stem cells they will need for a transplant. if i were to wait until Friday and NOT gather all the cells, we’d have to finish up on Monday and just hope the injections were still assisting in generating the needed stem cells. it’s not only the shots that are assisting in this generation of cells! the whole reason for undergoing the monstrous round of chemo/etoposide was to send the body (after nadir) into white blood cell count overdrive! add daily shots to the mix to assist this and boom – massive (daily, maybe hourly?) jumps in cell counts. 

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Jeremiah Ray - Neutropenic Fever

after spending the better part of the day yesterday (saturday) confined to my bed and lacking all energy, i decided to take my temperature, again. i had taken it earlier in the day and it was slightly below normal (97.9F). however, in the later afternoon, when i could barely gather myself to make tea, i thought it best to take it again. it was 100.8F and rising. normally, i would pop some tylenol and call it a night. however, considering the monstrous round of chemo undergone barely a week ago, i thought it best to head over to the ER.

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Ambassador Bio: Carl Russell

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.

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Ambassador Bio: Josh Cooper

"Hey guys!  My name is Josh Cooper, I am a stage 2a Pure Seminoma Testicular cancer survivor.  I was diagnosed in October of 2012, originally stage 1b.  At the time, I was a healthy and happy 24 year old, and thought nothing could go wrong.  One day, I noticed my left testicle just felt off.  It felt hard, but I didn't find a lump.  As the days went on, I searched webmd, and started to worry.  With no health insurance, I went to my local urgent care.  They originally thought it was an infection, but a few weeks later we did an ultrasound.  That day, I got the call the changed my life.  I remember sitting in my car, my world crashing around me, when I heard the words "Mr. Cooper, there is a very good chance that you have testicular cancer."  

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Jeremiah Ray - pherisis line & etoposide

on 5/27/17 i went inpatient for my etoposide infusion. as mentioned this is done just prior to daily injections (which i start today) of stem cell growth factors. the idea in such an intense chemo dosage (explained below) is to really try to beat down the “bad” stem cells before forcing the generation of new, healthy ones. these newer stem cells are then collected and then the aforementioned process takes place again but with even more intense chemo over longer periods of time. so, rather than just “beating” them down, they’re being annihilated completely.

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