Updated September 10, 2000
I am a 33 year old president of a Marketing Communications firm. I have been married to my beautiful wife Susan for 7 years and we have 2 wonderfully active sons, Alexander (age 4) and Evan (age 2). My life is extremely active - business is hectic, I play squash and I'm a goalie in hockey, I am very involved with my church and what ever time is left over we enjoy visiting our friends and families.
In late November and early December I stopped a couple of shots right on the ol' handle. Upon examining myself for "damage" the next morning I found a sizable lump on my left testicle. But because of the general tenderness of the area and the recent shots it had absorbed, I decided to give it until Christmas to see if it returned to normal. As the holidays approached the general discomfort completely disappeared, however the lump remained very pronounced and the testicle began to seem "heavier" than the other.
Thinking it was probably just a cyst or burst blood vessel brought on by the injury I went to see my G.P. on December 28th 1996. After an examination the doctor had a concerned look on his face. It was then that I first heard the term "Testicular Cancer".
The G.P. had me immediately in for an ultrasound on January 2nd 1997 at our local hospital. The ultrasound revealed a solid mass of about 3cm x 1.5cm x 1.75cm.
Next it was a visit to the Urologist, another exam and the proclamation that I probably do have TC and would require immediate surgery to have the testicle removed. This came as no surprise as, thanks to the TCRC, I was already pretty aware of the procedures.
On January 13th 1997 I went into short stay surgery and the deed was done. The operation went very well and I was released the next morning. I took the week off and returned to the Urologist at the end of the week to hear the pathologist's report. The tumor was seminoma and nonseminoma.
So then I had a CT scan about 10 days after the operation and a full set of blood work 3 weeks after. The tests would show any swelling of the lymph nodes or determine if the "cancer markers" in the blood had returned to normal.
At this point I must digress; looking back and typing this story it seems quite clinical and distant now, but I must tell you all that those 4 weeks leading up to the test results were the longest in my life, not to mention the most agonizing. I experienced everything from sheer panic; will I live to see my kids' kids, to the annoying inconvenience of managing my company day-to-day without knowing if I have to juggle long term treatments and recoveries. But through all this 2 things supported me and saw me through it. First and foremost God's grace in strengthening my faith through prayer and the fellowship of church. Second, and only barely, was the love and caring of my wife, parents, in-laws and close friends. I don't know how I would have survived without them both. The mind plays awful tricks in the quiet of the night.
Anyway, back to the story, on February 10th, 1997 I made my trek to the Urologist and was given the news. Blood tests showed levels returned to normal and the CT scan was completely clear and normal also. Praise GOD!
From there it was off to the Oncologist who reviewed my options. Not liking the idea of an 18" zipper down my gut I opted for "surveillance". My Oncologist told me the chance of recurrence in cases of my specific nature is only 10%. Further if the unfortunate did occur the treatment would be a course of Chemo, as they would notice it early based on the slightest consistent increase in the blood of the cancer markers. Well, what a relief! I am back to a normal routine now as I write this, in fact I have to go as I have a hockey game in about an hour! Don't have to see the Oncologist again til May 8th. March break we're going to Disney World!
Good Luck to all and God Bless, MWJ the uniballer
Update sent October 1997
ALL GOES EXTREMELY WELL! I had my 3rd surveillance appt w/ the oncologist last week and the levels have dropped off the map and all scans and x-rays are completely clear! The doc doesn't expect to see anything but I continue to go every 3 months. Life has been incredibly hectic and my little company has grown to 9 people. We recently landed Glaxo Wellcome as a new account so we look forward to business with them. The updated site looks great!
Congratulations on the growth of the site and the recognition. Your efforts are extraordinary and heroic. I hope you are well and continuing to be clear, your story hasn't been updated since march. Continued good luck and keep up the faith - Mike J
PS the new call name is "The Single Guy"
Update sent September 2000
Since my last update I have continued to see the oncologist quarterly until last March. All results were determined "undetectable" so of course that's a big relief. Now I have been relegated to checks every six months for the next two years then if all is well it will be yearly.
The biggest news is that despite being "a single guy" my wife and I had our third son last September. He is the happiest and cutest little guy named Jacob. Our family is very happy and well. My company is about to have its 10th Anniversary and ps doing very well. My wife and I are very involved at our church (which burned down 2 years ago due to arson) which just enjoyed its Grand Opening Ceremony that was a big success.
Now we're looking forward to Jake's 1st Birthday and I'm getting geared up for hockey season now that both our boys have finished soccer for the summer. Its truly amazing the difference in the view from three and a half years later... Praise God.
A personal note of thanks to those who have sent me notes of encouragement and asked questions since my story went on line. To the few I may have missed getting back to please forgive me but if you get in touch now I guarantee I'll respond ASAP.
Thanks to the TCRC for all their great work and resources to all of us who have faced the battle.
Blessings and good Health to all... Mike
If you wish to hear more or talk specifics about any part of my journey just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org