My name is Jeff, I'm 28 years old and up until Feb '98 I thought that I was in good health.
It all started with some pain in my left testicle. I went to see my family doctor and was told that I had a bacterial infection. I was given antibiotics and was told to take them for the ten days and call back if there was no improvement. After ten days I was still in pain and noticed a small lump on the testicle.
I went back to my family doctor and was told that my wife and I were passing this bacterial infection back and forth. At this point we were both put on Floxin and told to call back in ten more days. Ten days later and still no change.
At this point I was sent to a urologist. The urologist I went to see seemed to be very knowledgeable and told me that what I had was a varicocele, and that I would need to take still more antibiotics and return again if they didn't help. After this 3rd round of antibiotics I began to worry that there was something else wrong, but I had no idea what it could be.
When I went back to see him the second time, He suggested that we repair the varicocele and see what happens. I underwent the surgervaricoceleVericocele about a week later. [Editor's note: Varicocele's are varicose veins in the scrotum, and while they can cause pain and swelling, they should not feel like a lump on the side of the testicle.]
Three weeks after the surgery I was still in pain and the mass on the side of the testicle that was supposed to be the varicocele was still there. At this point we did an abdominal CT scan. This scan showed nothing in the abdomen. However I would later learn that it didn't look into the pelvis area.
At this point I opted for a second opinion. I went to see another Urologist in Indianapolis (Not IU). This doctor suggested that the testicle needed to be removed to be sure that it was/was not cancer. With that we set up the orchiectomy for a few days later.
We had also discussed taking my right testicle and moving it down away from my body because it was not developed properly and was not descended completely, and that if we did not move it it may develop cancer at a later time. [Editor's note: Moving it would not do much of anything at this point besides make it easier to check.]
By this time I had been poked and prodded so much I thought that I was becoming a pin cushion. I had opted to have both procedures done at that same time, to make for a longer recovery, but I would only go under the anesthesia one more time. Blood tests were done, and later I was told that they can be false and that in themselves they are not a good and accurate measurement for tumor markers, they can be false negative.
I had the IO done on Tuesday and was released and sent home at Midnight Tuesday night. I thought that this was a little early, but what did I know. At the time that I had left the hospital I had not urinated and had not even so much as walked on my own. I don't remember the trip in the wheel chair to the car, or the ride home, or even getting up the stairs and into the house.
The next morning I woke up at home and the first thing that I wanted was to eat. I hadn't eaten since Monday night before the surgery and man was I hungry. The doctor told me to stay on a clear liquid diet for the first 24 hours post op, but being superman, I wanted real food.
BIG mistake that was!! I ate three bites of a sub sandwich, and took a sip or two of sprite, and felt like my inside's were going to come out. In under 5 minutes. The transition from vertical to horizontal was not an easy one, so it is a wonder that I managed to make it to the bathroom in time. At this point, I couldn't even hold down water. The doctor called in some medicine for the nausea (I forget what it was) and I was out for the rest of the day. On Friday, I got the call on the pathology report, the tumor/mass on the side of my testicle was benign, I was free and clear, and couldn't be happier. About three and a half weeks after my IO and orchiopexy, I started having the same pain in the remaining testicle...
I went back to see my urologist and it looks as though we are going to remove the other testicle now as well. I have been on Hormone replacement therapy since two weeks post op because the survivor is just not putting out the testosterone needed.
This is somewhat distressing that I am going to lose this one, however it is really no big deal. It's not working anyway and therefore serves no purpose to me. With the added risk that because it is moving back into it's original position I could develop cancer in it, I think that I would rather get it out and move on with my life and take what has happened and chalk it up to just another bump in the road of life.
Two very positive things have come out of all of this. The first is that I know realize the importance of taking the time to LIVE every moment to the fullest! and the second, no matter what happens keep a positive attitude and and keep your eye on the things that matter most. My three kids and my loving wife.
Epilogue. The remaining testicle DID have cancer. It had seminoma, and after a long time, Jeff decided to go ahead and have radiation to make sure that it was gone. A year after his initial diagnosis, Jeff sent this note to TC-NET:
Just thought I would drop a line, this is the one year (almost) of my battle with TC. It's been one L-O-N-G year and with the help of all my doctor's and friends I think it is over, finally! I endured the radiation treatment with little problems, I endured both IO's with little trouble. The hardest thing for me was the emotional side of TC. Well, and the whole hormone issue that seems to go along with having no balls...... :-)
I have learned a lot in this year, I know where my heart lies and what my priorities are now. Life for me used to revolve around my work not my three kids and my very supportive wife and family. I started a new job back in October and it seems to be working out well for me. The people there understand about my battle with TC. The one thing that I cant seem to shake is that TC is the first thing I think of when my eyes open in the morning and the last thing I think about before I fall off to sleep at night. Does this ever change? I do have to say that in some aspects my thoughts on it have changed from more of a negative thought to just a conscious thought that it may still be in there. I still panic at every little pain that I feel.
I again have to say thanks to the TCRC for being there, Chris, Doug and Nick you guys have done a lot to help out a lot of guys who would otherwise not have had the support that they got because of this site. Nick, you have listened to me when I needed a guy to talk to on the phone or in email just as if we had known each other all our lives, you cant possible know what that meant to me!
Anyway, I think if I can survive the last year, I can certainly make it through many more to come.