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Caleb and I were in college in San Diego and it was a taco Tuesday. I remember picking Caleb up after work, excited for our dinner date. As he got in the car he said, “would you mind if we stopped at urgent care before we go to dinner”. I was shocked, because I knew if he was asking to go to urgent care, something was wrong. He had expressed some discomfort around his groin area before. Caleb was a collegiate baseball pitcher and figured it happened during baseball practice some time ago.
Of course we drove to urgent care and were seen right away. I remember he kept saying “sorry” for cutting into our dinner plans as we waited to see the doctor. They eventually took Caleb back for scans and other tests. I didn’t think much of our visit at that point, just glad he was deciding to get checked. Once he was brought back to the exam room, it was a long while after someone finally came to tell us that they found something in the scans and needed to wait for an oncologist from a neighboring hospital to review the scans.
This was obviously surprising to hear, especially as 22 year olds, in college, living life to the fullest.
We waited and waited, and joked and discussed where we would eat after the ER. We passed time by talking about our day, work, school and practice. Caleb didn’t seem nervous or anxious, which carries over to me. If he was fine, so was I. After a few hours of waiting, the oncologist walked in the room. She sat down and asked us about ourselves. I thought it was weird that she seemed interested in getting to know Caleb with so much detail.
She continued to show us Caleb’s scans. I tried to follow the best that I could. And then it came. The word we didn’t expect to hear. Cancer. Testicular cancer. Then came the tunnel vision. My eyesight went dark and Caleb and the doctor seemed miles away. I couldn’t hear a word after that. I felt numb, almost unconscious. I caught  a glimps of Caleb and couldn’t imagine how he was feeling. I instantly snapped out of the trance I was in and really tried to stay focused on the oncologist’s word. I asked questions that I knew he wasn’t able to at that time.
We walked out of the ER, hand in hand. Sat in the car and cried. I cried more than he did. He continued to have this sense of peace in him, that, to this day, I cannot explain. I’ll never forget him consoling me, and me thinking that I should be the one consoling him in this time.
We drove home to the LA area that same night to give his parents the news in person. Caleb went through the dreaded surgery. Although we weren’t sure what to expect, we knew that it was necessary. All Caleb wanted was for that tumor to be removed. He woke up from his surgery with a fighter’s attitude. He wanted to walk out of the hospital on his own and be able to look back at what he overcame.
Later, we found out that the cancer had spread. It spread to his lymph nodes. It was in his chest and all along his spine. 22 years old. A college student. Baseball pitcher. A boyfriend, brother, best friend and son. With testicular cancer, spreading to his lymph nodes. We had no idea what to think, say or do. All we could do was pray. It sounds cliché, I know. But people all over the world were praying for him, and were praying for a miracle.
Every appointment, every blood work, all the scans and pricks and probes. Caleb stayed unshaken. Peaceful. It was hard for me to grasp.
I remember hearing them discuss the treatment options, freezing sperm, chemotherapy, radiation. 22 years old and going through radiation to fight. The day before he began radiation, he was making plans on how he would get to school after each radiation treatment. He was finishing that degree.
He walked into the room, where they would permanently mark him for radiation. A few last scans, and we were on our way to dread radiation the next day.
We prayed and we prayed. This part is blurry but I remember Caleb getting a call. His last scans showed no cancer in his lymph nodes. His scans were clear. Cancer free? We went back for more scans, more blood work. Again, clean scans. Our prayers worked. Caleb was cancer free, from one day to the next, he was healed. Caleb has continued his yearly cancer checkups, and is now 4 years cancer free.
Our faith was tested, for sure. But Caleb‘s peacefulness and sureness remained, somehow.
Every year and everyday for the past 4 years, we celebrate him. This year Caleb and I celebrate 8 years of being together and recently becoming engaged. We get married next year, when he will be 5 years cancer free!

Although, these moments were hard and I can barley recollect most of them, my advice for others going through this is to never lose hope. Keep fighting because your loved one wants you to fight for them. Don’t stop praying because your loved one hasn’t stopped either. Also, don’t be afraid to talk about it. In this process, Caleb has talked to so many others who have had scares and been checked. We will forever be advocates for testicular cancer awareness.
I am so thankful for this community. My fiancé has found so much comfort in knowing there are others like him and sharing his encouraging story.