Petter's TC Story

My first experience with cancer was in 1987 when my mom got diagnosed for Rectal Cancer during her pregnancy with my little sister Marthe. After my sister was born my mom got operated on and received radiation therapy at "Det Norske Radium Hostpital" (DNR) - everything looked fine, or at least that is what I was told. But that was soon to change, my dear mom had lots of pain, and she had to go back to DNR for more radiation therapy, without any help. She turned out worse, the cancer had spread to all of her body. I remember the pain she went through, seeing how skinny she became, weak and helpless. In February 1991 she died of cancer at the local hospital in Narvik...I was sure I was rid of all that had to do with cancer for the rest of my life, how wrong I was.

In February 95 my right nut started to grow, it became about half as big as the other. Even knowing that something was wrong, I neglected it. And by the summer of 95 it had became 3 times as big as the other, still praying and hoping for a miracle, and neglecting that something was wrong me -- I wasn't supposed to get cancer! -- or at least that was what I convinced my self of. I went until late October 95 before seeing a Doctor, and when he saw my nut he got some BIG eyes!. I believe he had never seen anything like it, about the size of a Grapefruit. I stood there knowing what he would say. A couple of days later I got a call from VAS (The local Hospital) I had to come right away, I was scheduled for surgery the day after.

After explaining my diagnosis to my closest relatives, my uncle Asbjrn and my aunt Beate, they drove me to the Hospital. Upon arrival, I had to go through an Ultrasound on my nut, there was 5 doctors there, and one burst out to me: "Why the HELL haven't you gotten your butt in here before?!" The following night has been one of my roughest yet, after what the Doc said I felt I had a death sentence upon my head. The day after, I was rolled to surgery with about 1,000,000 thoughts in my head. Upon waking up on Intensive care I was told right away that the surgery was a success. A couple of days later I went through a CT scan, no sign of any tumors there, nor was my AFP or HCG any higher than normal.

A month later in December I was called for a checkup at DNR. So I went by train to Oslo, our nations capital, knowing nothing. Was I going to have Chemotherapy or not? What was happening ?

Upon arrival I was meet by Dr. Med Prof. Fossa, head of TC research in Norway. She told me I was lucky, because the TC I had was only spreading to the Lymph nodes 10-15% of the times. I was to become part of a new research project called "Wait and see" (surveillance). After a week in DNR doing different tests, I was told I was one of the luckiest boys in the universe, no signs whatsoever! But I had to go to monthly checkups the first year, and checkups on regular basis in VAS. I was totally sure I was rid it, but in Jun 97 I was told I had a 8x12cm lymph node in my abdomen.

Panic struck, and I must admit I was on the verge of suicide that day. 2 hours after I was phoned at work, I was only a couple of cm from driving off a cliff, but driving I started to think of my big brother Espen and my little sister Marthe, it wwouldn'tbe fair to them doing so. So I did what I had to do, I went back to DNR the following day.

When I arrived I was meet with Dr. Fossa once more. She had recalled some CT's over the last year, and the CT from DDecember taken on VAS showed a 2cm big lymph node, so she concluded the Tumor had grown for at least 9months. VAS had never sent the CT scans to DNR so that their radiologist could look at them. (CURSE ON VAS, NOT HAVING RADIOLOGISTS KNOWING HOW TO DO THEIR WORK) Even more panic struck!

Later that day I was picked up by a nurse named Berit, a wonderful person whom I got to know real well. She told me what Chemotherapy I had to go through. It was called C-BOP/BEP a more intensive chemotherapy than what was normally used, followed up by RPLND surgery. A couple of days after I was hospitalized I got a VAP (venous access port) implanted in my chest, it was in this chamber they would give me the chemotherapy. The first part of the chemotherapy went surprisingly well, I didn't get sick, except for homesick, and food, no matter how spicy, didn't taste like anything except like paper. It was a month containing high doses of:

Cisplatin
VP-16
Bleomycin
Oncovin

But only after the first bag of Cisplatin on the BEP cure I started to vomit, a lot! It never seemed to come to an end, I felt all alone in the bathroom trying to vomit on an empty stomach. It was a time when I cried a lot, and I enjoyed 100% the moments when I was feeling fairly all right, not sick. The nurses of Platform B6 tried to help me as best as they could, but nothing helped as I was deemed to vomit all the time.

After the first round on the BEP (4 in all) I got my first good news, which I really needed. I had a CT and the Tumor was totally gone!! But still the news didn't make the sickness go away. But strangely only 4-5 days after each BEP the sickness was gone. It was a wonderful feeling, it cannot be explained. After the BEP cure, I got scheduled for surgery on Monday October 13th. A whole month home, away from the Hospital. 4weeks of total life enjoyablity! Even food started to taste again during this period.

On October 10th, I was hospitalized once more at DNR, this time for the RPLND. Sunday 12th, I was having again 1,000,000 thoughts swirling in my head, I knew the the OP for tomorrow was going to be BIG! I knew that it could result in NO CHILDREN ever! I knew that they could tell me you need more chemotherapy. Perhaps I was to receive my death sentence. I also knew that the result of the RPLND could cure me forever!! October 13th, the moment of truth, the head surgeon was a 68 year old doctor whom was going to cut in me! I woke up later that day, I was told (But I don't remember anything) and started mumbling and asking for pain killers. The next day I was transported back to the medical post for recovery. The physiotherapist came and told me to get up -- whoa, what an unpleasant surprise, it hurt like hell and I got sick and I started throwing up. The same happened the next day. But the third day I was walking once more, and the pain started to go away, except when, God forbid, I started to laugh or cough.

No matter how much morphine they gave me, the pain was like someone was stabbing me with some very seriously big knives, so if it's talk about RPLND don't think of anything funny, nor take a cigarette. After a week I went home, the Histology said that all the cancer was killed away! And I have been cured. Today it's about 1 month since I got the RPLND, I'm starting to function again. The pain is gone, and I'm looking forward to each day I have ahead of me no matter what! On November 9th I turn 24, and I have at least 60 years more to enjoy on this planet!!

I would like to thank every nurse, doctor, relative and friend that has brought me through these difficult times. I would also give some of my TC roommates best of luck in the future. A very big hello to some of my best friends that visited me on DNR: Martin, Christian and my cousin Roger. And mostly to big brother Espen thank you for being there for me. I love you Big brother.

Petter


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