Frank's TC Story

Finding the TC personal stories in the internet was a very emotional moment, realizing, that there are other guys out there who had the same disease as me. For one weekend I was just printing and reading and printing and reading. I find it very inspiring that TC people have a lot of humour, even though they have been through hard times. Thanks a lot for setting up these pages. They are of invaluable help for me.

So this is my story: I am a 40 year old German living in Hamburg, Germany, with my Canadian wife and our 4 year old son. I am a systems analyst at a cosmetics producing company. I consider myself more fit than most of the other guys of my age, doing lots of sports. In December 1995 I was sitting with my son in the bathtub when this overexcited little guy kicked me in the balls. Two days later it was still hurting, so I decided to go to a urologist next day.

On that day the pain was gone, so I was almost ready to cancel the appointment. Only the fact that the food in the company canteen was really bad that day made me go to the doc. While the urologist did the ultrasound, he talked about his progress playing golf. My mind was already back at work (.....3 p.m. group meeting.......6. p.m fitness center.......need to buy some groceries ....) Then the doctor changed his explanations about golfing and said: You have a tumor in your left testicle. The testicle has to be removed as soon as possible. Ill call a hospital right away for an operation date. Phone me tomorrow for further news. Bye! (At least he didn't say "Have a nice day!").

Coming out of the office onto the street, I felt like a concrete block had just fallen on my head. Walking back to the office through busy lunchtime traffic, I felt like a Martian who had just landed on planet Earth.

The next few days I spent at doctors having examinations. Sitting in the waiting room waiting for results was like waiting for the death penalty. Once I was in his office, I checked his face for every positive or negative sign. I had this feeling of being thrown into this medical machinery from one day to the next without being prepared for it, having to believe what these doctors told me. I was very disappointed that my body had totally failed to tell me that there is a serious disease growing in my body, that I couldn't trust this body anymore.

5 days later I was in hospital, waiting for the operation next morning. The surgeon came along for a few explanations. He told me (By the way.....), that I can expect that the removal of the testicle wont be the only operation, the RPLND will be the next one. That was too much for me. Just a week ago I thought I was super healthy, doing regular workouts, no beer belly and now this sensible surgeon comes along and tells me that they not only want to take one testicle from me, but also to cut my belly open. When I sat there, weeping onto the shoulder of my wife, the boss of the urology department came along, obviously quite irritated that I was disturbing the tranquil atmosphere in his department, asking me what all the fuss is about. I should be glad to have a type of cancer which is curable in most cases! The result of that chat was that I got a kind of sleeping tablet for the night that would have made an elephant go to sleep!

The operation next morning was not spectacular and I was fit within a few days. The analysis of the tumor showed that it was a non-seminoma tumor. The CT didn't show any enlarged lymph nodes, so I was a clinical stage 1 patient. That result was a big relief for me. On the basis of these results I could have opted for the close surveillance scheme instead of the RPLND. I chose the RPLND, because I didn't want to take the risk that there were any cancer cells left in the lymph nodes.

At the end of January 1996 I went back to hospital. Although the RPLND sounded like a job for a butcher, my psychological state was much better than it was the first time. Strangely enough I was in a good mood and more relaxed than if I had to do an important presentation at work! I think my body delivered some free endorphin drugs to my brain!

When I woke up after the operation, well, I wasn't really in the mood to dance on the table. The first 24 hours I felt really sick, but with the second day things got better. The main problem in the first few days was to get out of bed (Tell the nurses to do it slowly. The first nurse who helped me, used me to try out her latest Judo techniques. I've never hit a woman, but I was very close to it !). The second problem was digestion. Lots of air in the system, which caused quite a bit of pain and forced me to do lots of acrobatic movements in bed to get the air out. It took about 3 months till my digestion was really back to normal. The analysis of the lymph nodes showed no cancer cells. That meant, no chemo, just regular checkups!

For the first checkups I was quite nervous and didn't sleep well. In the meantime I have gone through more than 2 years after the operations I still do every 3 months chest Xray, ultrasound of lower abdomen, check of tumor markers). Until now everything is fine. Still every morning when I look into the mirror, I have this reminder of what happened to me. The good thing about TC is that I don't take life too serious anymore. To get fanatical about jobs and career? Oh no, other people can do that.


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