Three years ago, MAY '92 I found a tumor. The tumor was in my right testicle. I was first mortified and shocked, and saying to myself " how could this be?" 'why is this happening to me?" The worst thing is that I didn't tell my parents right away or even the doctors. I couldn't tell anybody 'cause it was so embarrassing, and I felt so ashamed of it. Then I was in denial and this continued for two more years. That was two years of not telling anybody, I let it grow and grow and still couldn't have the courage to tell anybody. There are many reasons of why I didn't tell anybody. I prayed everyday that God will make it go away naturally, I tried to eat healthy foods and exercise a lot, but the tumor kept on growing and growing. I kept thinking day in and day out, when I was going to tell someone, and get some help. It's like I gave up on my life and didn't care about my future. I was 16 years old when I first found the tumor and also thinking how can a young guy like me who plays sports, eats healthy and goes to church get cancer? I'm not overweight, I'm not a smoker, I don't do drugs or drink still to this day I can't understand it.
Well, after 2 and half years of being in the dark, hiding this tumor, one night I started spiting out blood. my friends thought I got it from smoking, but I didn't smoke that much. I only smoked 3 cigarettes in my whole life. It was winter December, and this coughing up of blood continued. I started to get tired, I lost my appetite and that testicle started to get noticeably big and heavy. I will have trouble sleeping and changing clothes. In gym class in the locker room, I would rarely change in front of the guys and try not to be noticed. So I started spitting out blood and lumps started appearing on my chest and back. I did tell my parents about problem of spitting out blood but not the testicle tumor.
My dad brought me to the hospital for X-rays with my parents still not knowing of my tumor. Then I finally had to be hospitalized in ICU because I was diagnosed with a lung disease ( forgot the name). and still nobody knew of my Testicle tumor! I still couldn't tell anyone! Doctors did not examine me completely so that's why they were trying to figure out where the lung disease came from. After three days of hospital stay, I sighed and finally told for the first time in my life to the doctors that there was something wrong with my testicle. That was embarrassing 'cause there was a lady doctor there too.
I was diagnosed with testicular carcinoma, and somebody told me it is the most curable kinds of cancer. But 'cause I didn't tell anybody for 2 years, it has spread to the lungs, skin and some I don't know. It was Jan 95, I spent new year's eve in the hospital. I was to undergo chemotherapy and surgery.
Now it's Nov '95, I just went through 7 cycles of chemo (VP16, Cisplatin and Bleomycin), my last chemo was a Bone-marrow transplant (Carboplatin, I think), an orchiectomy of the right testicle and two biopsies. I am thinking this is not what a 18 or 19 year old should go through. My germ-cell cancer is measured by a blood test called Beta H.C.G., I guess it measures hormones of the cancer to tell if it's growing. That normal person would get 0-5 HCG, in DEC 94, when I was first diagnosed the number was over 200,000+! That number after chemo started to dramatically decrease to 500! then to 22, then 11, 7, and it started to go up and down between 2 and 9. These numbers were accumulated after each cycle of chemo and my last chemo was in Aug '95.
CT Scans also show no new tumors and shrinkage of existing tumors. So it's been two months of a break from a chemo since Aug '95. The bad news is that the Beta HCG has jumped up to 56. I am starting to have emotional feelings that I experienced when I found the tumor three years ago. Again in denial, but this time everybody knows about my problem and no longer hiding in the dark. I know everybody, doctors, nurses, friends, relatives, and especially my family is trying to help me and pray for me too.
It seems that I am desperate for a miracle here, I'm praying very hard, and also trying hard to get answers and info through the internet. I know I want the latest info of new drugs and techniques that might help save my life or at least prolong my life even more. I know that's on the minds of all cancer patients, trying to buy time. I am only 19 years old and haven't experienced a full lifetime, but I thank god "for the blessings thou has bestowed on me" and my life. I am also thankful for my loving family, especially my father who has been very encouraging and caring of me. Thankful for my friends who are understandable and supportive. "Someone special told me that cancer wasn't made to hurt anybody", "it happen because it was to bring family and friends closer together in a time of need" And this was true, I made more friends than ever before and I am so happy of all the support. Thank you god!
In conclusion, I write to you for help in fighting this illness. I am just desperate for a cure or a miracle of some kind. Is there any new promising drugs to treat my testicular cancer?
19 years old...
Editor's Note: Unfortunately, we later found out that Jerade DeVeraturda passed away Dec 5, 1996... He literally died of embarrassment. Don't let this happen to you. If you think there is something wrong with you, regardless of how embarrassing or stupid you think it is, please go see a doctor and get it taken care of!!