September 30, 2000

David Skellie's's TC Story...

My story goes back to 1990. I had been having shooting pains in my groin whenever I bent over or stooped down to pick something up. Even though I knew that something was different, I didn't do anything about it until I mentioned it to my wife, who being the "worrying type", demanded that I see a doctor quickly. This time, it was very good that she forced the issue.

I saw my family doctor the next day who made it very clear that I had a problem. He set up appointments the following day for x-rays and with a urologist. They wasted no time.

The urologist and an assistant urologist confirmed that I had cancer in my left testicle. The assistant said that I was a little older that the usual patient. I was 38 at the time. They asked if I had children. We have two. They suggested that if I wanted any more that I should preserve some of my sperm and I should do it right away. They asked what I was doing the next day and that I should cancel it because they needed to operate immediately. Since my wife and I had already decided that two kids were enough, that process wasn't necessary. I was in some shock that this thing was happening to me. There was little cancer in my family and no one had had the testicular kind.

The operation was on July 20th. Before the operation, I kiddingly said to the doctor that they should have prostheses for this type of operation. When he told me that they had that sort of thing, I was surprised that he had never offered me that choice. After discussing the option, I decided that it was something that I wanted. I guess I felt that it would make me feel like more of a whole man. I'm comfortable with the choice that I made although in hindsight, I'm not certain that I would do it again. The falsie just has not been that important or necessary as it turned out.

My children at the time were 9 and 5. My son who is older one was upset about the operation that his Dad was going to have. I found out later that he had been crying out in the garage but didn't want me to know. I wish that I had known so that I could have comforted him.

The operation went very well. I was very sore for most of a week. While I was convalescing, the doctors scheduled another operation for August 1st. That operation was called a lymphadenectomy and involved the removal of eleven lymph nodes from deep inside me. The doctors opened me up from my breastbone to my groin in order to be able to get to those nodes.

The recovery period from this operation was pretty difficult. I was in the hospital for eleven days (one for each lymph node, I guess) and lost 26 pounds, dropping from 188 to 162. I hadn't been that thin since junior high.

The recovery period lasted about two months. My wife was very loving and supportive. My kids were thrilled to have me home.

I went back for blood tests and x-rays for 6 years at ever widening intervals. I still see the doctor once per year. I realize just how lucky I am and thank God for the second chance.

David A. Skellie
dskellie@erie.net


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