Your page profoundly scared me when I first read it a few months after finding out I had TC. I couldn't seem to read a success story. Thanks for spending a lot of time on something very important. Here's my story, so far:
I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in June of 1996. I had felt a small lump on my left one about a month or so before I went to the doctor and had thought and hoped it would go away, being maybe a cyst or something. I showed my girlfriend one drunken night and she was worried but it somehow was avoided by us until I had dark news for her. It was right before her first U.S. tour with her rock band and I didn't want to burden her with my possibly having cancer right at that special time in her life. I was really excited about her getting the chance to tour and see the country and rock it. More concerned for her having fun than my being safe. I wouldn't do the same thing another time around. So I decided to go to the doctor when she left and did so on a Thursday, the day after she went away.
The doctor was immediately concerned and sent me to the hospital for blood work and ultrasounds. I talked to my mom and she was able to locate the best Urologist in town. I made an appt. for Friday and started worrying. The appt. came soon enough and I was felt up yet again and he right away said "There's about a 95% chance you have a malignant tumor in there, I have a surgery day Monday and I'd like to take you with me." Wow. I was actually relieved that it was happening so quickly. He explained the surgery, they were going in through the left pelvic area, taking the ball and all the spermatic cords leading to the lymph node. Major surgery, not major, but medium maybe. My first medical experience, at least, so it was major to me.
One long weekend.
I called my girlfriend that night at the club in Chicago where they were playing and said "remember that lump? It is not good, here's the scoop." She immediately cried and wanted to come home but I was pretty rational and confident at that point and talked her down. I told her I'd be ok, that my mom was around and I was staying in my girlfriend's room at her house because my room where I was staying wasn't very comfortable. She took it pretty well. She was definitely scared, and sad not to be there, I think. Now I would have asked that she came home.
The day came and I met my mom at the hospital, she worked there, as I do. We went to the prep room and I got naked again and got all the IV's hooked in. The Anesthesiologist came in and told me what he was gonna do to knock me out and keep me that way. At this point I was scared. I was uncomfortable. I'd never been a patient. I'm a healthy person, always had been. The lights were weird, being pushed around was weird. I was wheeled to the OR and was getting a little floozy with drugs as we went. I was looking at people in the halls and feeling strange in my drug induced ambulation through my own fucking work place. I really didn't want to see any co-workers. I don't think I did. The ER was so bright. There was at least 6 or 7 people in there and here I am about to get splayed open feeling self conscious. Still do when I see the nurses who work in my doctors office. I'm glad it's not on videotape or anything.
The next thing I remember I am in this huge room and there's an ancient man choking to death it seems. The light is unnerving and I feel absolutely high in an uncomfortable way. A nurse comes to me and I ask where I am and she tells me "recovery." I couldn't understand. It was over? I thought I was just in the OR 2 seconds ago. She convinces me I made it and I felt kind of elated, although weird as ever. So eventually I'm taken to a room on 7th floor and people start to visit. I hated that. I knew I was starting to feel like shit and probably looked like hell warmed over. Not too many came, but enough to make me feel strange. Like I was in a zoo. In retrospect I think it was sweet of those who did come. I wish it had just been Sarah though. At about 9pm I started getting stir crazy and made a request to leave. They had given me shit food and I wanted the fuck out. The nurses said I had to stay the night. I asked why and asked that they call the Dr. and see why. Nicely, they did so and he said if I feel strong enough and can pee that I could go.
I was immediately hobbling into the bathroom peeing in some bottle for the nurse to check and walked around the halls enough to prove I could do it. Against the nurses and my mom's wishes I checked myself out, got my meds and was mandatorily wheel chaired out. My mom followed me home as I also wanted to drive myself home. I talked to my girlfriend that night and it was good, I think. Don't really remember but I am sure it was. She was concerned. That night pain set in with a vengeance. I could barely roll over without wincing. Couldn't actually. Started the pain meds and they took pretty good care of me. I can't remember when I first looked at the surgery area, that night or the next day, but when I did I was scared again. I was black and blue all over, shaved, really ugly. And I had one ball. I wish I had pictures, they'd be scary. The UNABALLER emerges.
Recovery was ok. I had a week off work. One thing that really scared me was whether or not I was gonna be functioning normally. That was answered in waking up on the 2nd morning full of pep. And full of aching. Things were still in need of more healing. But I knew that I was pretty much still functioning sexually. Of course that made me happy. I tested more a few days later and found things were really working in correct order, if you get what I mean.
So, from here we had to make decisions. Dr. Farrer and I went over my options:
1) Radiation and monitoring
2) Straight monitoring, no treatment.
He recommended the latter because the tumor was the 2nd smallest he'd ever seen, the smallest belonging to a urologist. I concurred wholly with him. I didn't want to be bald and sick if there was a chance I could get through this without it. We went the observation way. I was to get catscans, xrays, blood work, and a checkup every two months for a year. After a year it was slowed to every three months and at a year and a half went to just one more time at 2 years, at which time we'd see where we stood.
That's where we stand today. Having just passed two years and my last check up successfully I have made it through. Every time I had to get the checkups and work ups I was scared shitless, sweating it out in the waiting room awaiting results. Luckily I got good answers every time. Lucky as fuck. I am still able to have kids if I ever felt I wanted to. Still function very well, at least as well as before. My life has been more productive since I had a glimmer of no hope. The last two years have been fucking awesome. Things can only get better it seems from here.
Take care of yourselves and don't feel shame in talking about this disease to anyone. Men need to know. So do women. Blackchad@aol.com