Gareth’s Story

A woman who fought for the right to use her late husband’s sperm to conceive is to start IVF treatment on Wednesday.

Rachel Wyke, 23, ofWalsall, was denied help on the NHS because she is a widow, but an anonymous couple are paying for her £3,500 treatment.

Her husband, Gareth, who died from testicular cancer in 2003, froze his sperm when he found out treatment for his illness may leave him infertile.

Mrs Wyke is due to start her treatment at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.

She said her husband had signed a consent form before his death at the age of 23 in December 2003, just a few months after they got married.

Mrs Wyke said: “I’d already lost a husband. Why lose a child that we’d always wanted?

“It’s really expensive to go private and I do wish the NHS would fund it for more couples and also single people as well.

“I just think Gareth wanted me to be happy. He said he would be really happy for me to go ahead with it.”

She added: “I’m really excited and really nervous. Gareth’s sperm quality isn’t that good so that’s the reason why I’ve probably got a lower percentage than everybody else.

“I’m still a little bit wary about that.

“I find out (whether the treatment has worked) just before Christmas, so hopefully it will be an early Christmas present.”

Neil’s Story

It was late April 2004 whilst at University that I found a lump whilst undergoing a regular check. The lump was about the size of half a peanut on my left ‘ball’ and I had an immediate sense of needing to get to the Doctors. It was a saturday and unfortunately the GP was closed until monday morning….quickly making the remainder of the weekend the longest of my life. I was aware that it could have been many thing however being a typical bloke I immediately imagined the worst! I managed to get an appointment first thing monday morning and was quickly referred for a scan and whilst having the scan the Doctor asked if I wanted to know or wait to see the GP. He told me then that it was a tumour but these things are very treatable. I broke the news to my parents over the phone and my university housemates who offered their best solution of an all night drinking bender…I was in no mood to say no!!!!

So I headed down to the GP the following morning to find out what was instore treatment wise. An operation was a must….. chemo and Radiotherapy very likely…..with a lovely trip to the Sperm bank to make some deposits somewhere in the middle! I had to break the news to University with finals about 2 weeks away and had clearly been shunted to the bottom of my priority pile, they took things well and in time I was awarded a 2:2 for hardwork, dissertation etc which had been completed.

I had the operation near my parents in Gloucestershire and so I could have a base at home for treatment and fortunately Chemo was not required as I had found the lump so early ‘Check you balls’ fellas!!!! It can save your life. Family and friends were an amazing support mechanism for me and the whole episode brought us closer together. The operation went well, in and out in a day and the date was set for some Radiotherapy which although a psychological ordeal neednt carry the physical issues for Testicular Cancer sufferers….little bit of stomach hair loss and the odd vomit…pretty sure this had something to do with my mates taking me to the pub the night before a treatment session…..plonker!

Managed a full 90 mins of football during my treatment and approached the whole thing as something that I would not be beaten by! I was given the all clear 2 years after diagnosis but annual visits continue for the foreseeable future. I have tried to approach life in a different way since being diagnosed and have raised money for the Everyman charity climbing Tour de France Alps inspired by my now hero Lance Armstrong. I have been married for nearly 2 years and was fortunate to meet a girl mentally strong enough to take me and my medical history on but our relationship is stronger for it and we often talk about what I went through and she is a constant support at my appointments.

I am fortunate about having Local psychic Daphne Phaedra in Tucson, AZ to show me that life could go on after cancer and understand that this isnt the same for everyone, my experience meant the psychological stress was as much as the physical but I feel a better stronger person for the journey!

Scott’s Story

My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer February last year. In June it had spread into his bones at a rapid rate at this point he was in a wheel chair as he could not work I went to my mom and dads every night for four months to change him and put him to bed. They gave him 12 months to live in the June. In September he tried to get out of bed on his own and fell and broke his collar  bone. He went to hospital and was there for 3 weeks sadly he never returned home. He passed away on October 6th in the early hours. It’s sounds mad but I speak to him daily and hope he can hear me. Miss him so much. He was my best friend we did everything together got him in the wolves box  4 weeks before he died. He loved the wolves. Always went together.

David’s Story

In 1997 when I was 30, I started to have pain in my breast area, the main time this happened was when my children climbed in bed beside me in the mornings, they tended to lever themselves up with an elbow on my chest!! I booked an appointment with my GP, Dr John Dorward. I gave him my symptoms and he said I either had an alcohol problem or there were a “couple of cells in my body producing hormones, causing an imbalance”!  I knew I didn’t have a drink problem and he had basically told me I had a tumour without telling me!! Clever man!

I went to the Borders General Hospital in Melrose on the 5th November to have an ultrasound scan on my liver and testicles. One of my testicles showed up as one colour on a dark background, the other had black spots on the screen. The ultrasound nurse said “that’s your problem, that’s coming out”!!

I waited and saw the surgeon an hour later who examined me but could feel nothing. He told me that was a good thing because that’s how quick it had been detected.

I was taken in for an operation the next week and my right testicle was removed. 2 days later I was home and waited on biopsy results to see what further treatment was required. On the 22nd December it was decided that even though it was a combination of Terratoma and Seminoma, there would be no further treatment.

I was monitored regularly at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh for the next 6 years and fortunately no further problems.

I was very lucky and maybe wouldn’t have been if I’d had a lump etc. I went in to the doctor with sore boobs!!!! I always look at symptoms for testicular cancer but I haven’t seen berast pain as one of the syptoms.

I hope this is a help to someone.