May 30, 2002
Seminoma, Stage 1, Radiation, Age 38, Married, Three kids.
If you're like me, you are searching for that one story that most likely fits your situation. I found this site before I even went to the urologist and read everything that I could about TC, which helped me through the first doctor's visit, and then through the ultrasound, the blood test, the orchiectomy, the CAT scans and the radiation.
Yes, I waited before going to the doctor, as I'm sure many of you have. The following is my story as detailed as I can remember, in hopes that it helps someone going through the same experience.
Sometime around September of 2001 my stepson's head met my right testicle in a collision. The pain was different than most hits that I had taken from sports. The pain was immediate and lasted for a while. Then over the next few weeks I noticed that my right testicle was a little larger that the left and still sore. Well, I just put it off as an unlucky blow and forgot about it the best that I could. However, around Christmas I was standing in front of a full-length mirror drying off after a shower and noticed that my right testicle was even larger than I remembered. Still, I told myself that it was a change brought on by the vasectomy three years earlier. At this point I was unaware of the facts of TC. I still told myself is was nothing to worry about, but from that point I started feeling and looking at it over the next two and a half months.
About the middle of March I noticed that when my wife and I had sex the testicle felt heavy and became sore. She asked me if I knew that one of my testicles were bigger than the other. Well, at this point I knew something was wrong and I started to panic a little. I waited until she was out of the house and I got onto the Internet and did a search for TC. Horror and shock hit me when I found TCRC. I had all the symptoms and I still told myself it was something other than TC.
I called the urologist's office, which did my vasectomy and told the nurse that I had found a lump and that my testicle was larger than the other. She told me in a calm voice to come in three days that it might be nothing to worry about.
I told my wife when she got home from work that I was going to see the urologist. She is a mathematics teacher and knew of someone that had TC. Being the math person, she did some research and began to assure me that the odds of me having TC was so small that she began to joke and poke fun at me for thinking I had TC.
Three days later I peed in a cup and then the doctor came in and told me to drop my pants. "I feel something in there that I can't separate from the testicle. Lets get and ultrasound," he said. Just before the visit my wife said that it was probably related to the vasectomy and that the doctor would give me some pills and that would be the end of that. WRONG!
After undressing from the waist down and having some type of jelly smeared on my testicle the lady doing the ultrasound put the wand to my right testicle. She began to mark something dark in the testicle and I asked her was that something in the testicle and she said "yes." I knew right then that I had TC because the Urologist told me that if I had a growth in the testicle that there was a 95% chance that it would be malignant. I started asking her a hundred questions and she said that she was just the tech and couldn't tell what it was. I worried her so much that she said that if I was her husband that she would want me to have a biopsy. "I want to see the radiologist, " I said. He confirmed that I had a tumor in the testicle but only removing it would reveal what it was and what kind. The urologist scheduled the orchiectomy for the next week.
April the 5th, 2002: I was nervous. I changed into the backless gown and accepted my I.V. without complaint. A few hours later they banged me through the operating doors and slid me on the table and hooked me up to the monitors. I started talking a mile a minute and told them how nervous I was. They put me under as fast as they could. I went to sleep talking about Jesus, which they told me later. I just wonder what else I said.
I woke up in the recovery room and my wife was there, they told me I was crying and asking for her. I still don't remember that. I was sore. Three hours later I was in my recliner at home, relieved that the tumor was gone, holding an icepack to my one testicle.
I was up and around that same day and the next two days I was walking around outside. Six days later I was hitting golf balls.
Waiting on the pathology report, AFP and the HCG was nerve wracking. It took two weeks to get the report back. (Seminoma, no sign of vascular or lymphatic invasion, no signs of spreading, AFP normal, HCG 400) I knew from the research from TCRC that if I had to have cancer this one was the one to have. I was relieved but was a little concerned about another HCG and CT scans yet to come.
The CT scans were easy. They made me drink a bad tasting orange drink and injected contrast into my veins. The machine whirled a little and it was over. The doctor called me in three days and told me that my CT scans were clear, but he wanted to do another HCG to see if it had dropped. It did, it fell below two and he sent me to a Radiation Oncologist.
We discussed options and I chose to go ahead with the treatments on his recommendations. However, surveillance is an option. I just can't sit back and wait and think. The first thing was the simulation. They located landmarks by x-rays and marked me up with a black marker and two days later I began treatments.
The radiation machine is all computerized. It automatically sets the blocks to my specific field, buzzes about 10 sec, flips over and 10 more and I'm done. I've had 8 treatments so far and have not been sick. I just feel a little tired. I have 12 more to go and I'm looking forward to washing off the marks. I pray daily and thank God and Jesus Christ that things are looking good.
TC is hard to deal with and it is emotionally taxing. It must be dealt with and it is highly curable. Please don't put it off. I understand now that my story could be a lot more difficult. I'm still amazed that after waiting as I did, there are no signs of spread.