I've been reading some of the stories regarding testicular cancer on TCRC and they bring back so many memories of what my husband, Joe and myself had gone through.
Joe and I were married on Sept. 1990 and we had a beautiful honeymoon. We were planning to have children in a few years, but wanted some time for ourselves first.
In April of 1992 Joe complained about a pain on his right side. One morning it was so bad that I finally talked him into getting it checked out. Joe was an electrician and he thought the belt he wore was the problem. We went over to emergency as we lived very close to the hospital. While we were waiting to see the doctor, I suggested to Joe that while we were here why not get the doctor to check his testicle that was bothering him for some time.
That was the day we found out that Joe had testicular cancer. The doctor was very abrupt and came right out and told Joe what was wrong. He told him that he had nothing to worry about because the cure rate was 97% and he was only in stage one.
With those hopes to hold on to Joe went ahead with the operation and had the cancerous testicle removed. He had Chemo in July and after awhile he was feeling almost like new again. The biggest thing at the time was all the hair he had lost. Joe's hair was long and thick and full of curls. It was coming out in handfuls after the chemo so a friend of his, a hairdresser shaved it for him and after a while we got use to the new look.
Joe's profession was electrician but he was also a DJ on weekends and so we got back into our daily habits with big plans. Joe was getting his check up every three months and everything looked good. Joe's friends, the other DJ's, decided to have a benefit dance for him to help us with all the medical bills and expenses we had. It was great, and Joe was so happy to see how loved he was. He has the best friends anyone could have.
In Sept 1993 we decided to go away for a great week of fun and sun for our anniversary. Joe had such a great sense of humor, he was always a pleasure to be with but that particular week was even better due to our celebration of life and love.
On the Monday morning after our returning from holidays, I got the call. The cancer was back! They had found from the blood tests that there was cancer, but they did but they didn't know where the cancer was at the time.
When Joe arrived home from work, I had to break the bad news to him. He was devastated. What do we do now?
After going through many tests, they finally found it behind the liver. He had radiation, chemo, everything that was needed.
He thought everything was going to be good, but we did the sperm collection so that later we could have the children we wanted just in case his count wasn't as high as it should be in the future.
In October 1994 Joe started having problems breathing, so back to hospital we went. The doctors took me aside and gave me the news. Joe wasn't going to make it. The cancer was in his lungs.
How they missed it in the beginning was that they assumed it was hiding behind the liver and they just didn't see it with all the tests that they did. Of course I was angry. They promised us that Joe would be fine. How do I get through this?
I didn't tell Joe that I knew and he never knew. I just encouraged him to take his medicine and do whatever they doctors said. I stayed with him every night and went home in the mornings to shower and change, then back to Joe.
One Saturday morning I will never forget. Joe asked the nurse when he could go home. "We'll see what the doctors says " she tells him "soon". That night Oct. 22, Joe died at the age of 28yrs.
It's almost been five years and I miss him as much today as I did when he died. I loved him. Joe made me laugh and I really loved that about him. Things never seem to bad with Joe, even his illness.
Joe waited too late to be checked, but he didn't die in vain. The following year, 1995, I had another dance in the name of Joe, and I have been having them every year since.
Its called "Dance for the Cure" and the money collected goes toward Testicular Cancer Research.