Growing up, I always heard stories from my mother about an uncle I never met. In the 1970's, testicular cancer was less than curable at an advanced stage and my uncle ultimately succumbed to the monster in 1976. My mother always instilled a fear in me that I need to check myself and speak out if something felt wrong. In 2004, my uncle on my dads side of the family discovered that he also had testicular cancer. He went through 3 rounds of BEP and and RPLND and still deals with minor side effects from the surgery and chemo, today.
I have always made it a point to check myself. I always felt like it was a ticking time bomb that I would eventually have to disarm. Being 25, I thought I was invincible. I was a college grad with a great career and always thought of life many years down the road. I was so happy planning my life with my soon to be fiancé and looking into getting our first home.
March 15th, 2017 is when that all changed. I hadn't checked myself in a few months and decided I should. The very second that I felt it, my heart sank. I knew exactly what I was feeling. I was in shock. Was this a dream? What are the odds that my family is effected thrice? What the hell?! Knowing what it was, I immediately went to the ER and had an ultrasound which verified what I feared most.
10 days later, I was post orchiectomy and scans and I got to hear some of the best news I've heard in my life. "The cancer didn't spread". I had a mix of carcinoma and teratoma and elected to have two rounds of BEP as I did have vascular invasion.
Chemotherapy is the absolute worst experience of my entire life but also the best. I realized so much about life over the course of two months. My work was beyond understanding and had little expectations from me while I battled the beast. They even continued to pay me my salary and I cannot thank them enough. The one true brightspot through all of this was finding out how much I loved my Girlfriend. She was there for every possible second that she could while both working and going to school full time. The appreciation and love I have for a woman like that is unmatched. She is my hero.
Today, I am technically 6 months in remission and about 4 post chemo. My hair is all back along with my strengh and appetite. testicular cancer is not a death sentence, it's a diagnosis. As scary as it may have been and still may be, it has made me a far better person. Life is different now. I care less of material objects and more about the relationships that will last a lifetime. Cancer sucks but not living your life to the fullest sucks even more.