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!