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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TCAF at Country Jam 2017

Country Jam 2017 is a wrap, and TCAF was there. Country Jam is an annual 4 day country music festival near Grand Junction, CO, which this year featured Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, Justin Moore, Randy Houser, and so many other great artists! We'll let the pictures do the talking! Thanks to all of the wonderful TCAF volunteers and friends that came out, and for helping to make this event a success!

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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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TCAF in Schools and Health Clinics - Testicular Cancer Awareness Education Where It Matters Most

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.

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Jeremiah Ray - The Only Constant In Life, Things Change

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. 

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John Armijo - PTSD, Keanu, and Me

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."

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