Just before Halloween in 2015 I was home with my family. My son Vincent was playing with a plastic dinosaur, a tyrannosaurus rex. He was running around swinging it by its tail like a baseball bat, acting like he was trying to hit one out of the park.
He caught me in the right testicle with the dinosaur’s hard plastic head. I dropped to the floor like a ton of bricks and probably said a few things I shouldn’t have.
The next morning was the first time I had taken any notice of any swelling in my testicle. After a few days with no improvement I called my doctor to see if they could see me, they didn’t have any openings for a week and a half. I took their first available appointment and got on with my life.
About a week later we were out celebrating my sisters birthday. We were doing a bar crawl with a large group of friends and family and I was a designated driver that night. Towards the end of the night out I started getting uncomfortable. This pretty quickly turned into pain.
By the time I collected my wife and told her I needed to leave I felt like I just got kicked in the crotch. By the time I got to the car I felt like someone was standing on my testicle. I knew then that I’d be driving us to the ER, and by the time we got there I felt like someone had parked a car on my testicle. I described it on the pain chart in the ER as a 9 to 10. I could barely move, couldn’t think, and it was making me nauseated.
After lots of waiting and no pain meds I had the ultrasound that confirmed that there was no trauma in there, but a mass instead. The ER doctor, after finally getting me some pain killers, kept me overnight to meet with a Urologist before I left the hospital. He was worried that it would take me weeks to get in to see someone otherwise.
In mid-November I had my orchiectomy. It was almost entirely germ cell tumor, an embryonic sarcoma. After surgery they told me that they thought they had removed it all.
In December I went in for a follow up CT scan to make sure I was “all clear”.
The scan returned results that saw some strange spots around the lymph nodes in my abdomen. I was scheduled for a follow up PET scan to get a better look.
On the PET scan the spots were still there and highlighted by the contrast, which makes them highly suspicious for cancer. Bloodwork confirmed that the cancer had started to spread to my lymph nodes, but fortunately based on the scans we caught it very early.
I was schedules to start chemo in February. Three rounds of BEP Chemo totaling 9 solid weeks of treatment.
Chemo wasn’t easy. My oncologist is fantastic and fully prepared me for what I was about to go through. I was very fortunate not to experience the nausea expected from the treatment. I did however learn the difference between tired, lethargic, and fatigued though. I was fatigued pretty much the whole time. Half way through my treatments I started having allergic reactions to the Cisplatin, which is very, very rare. The meds they gave me to combat the reactions made me even more tired.
My last chemo treatment was April 19th, 2016. About a month later a post-treatment PET scan showed that chemo had killed off everything that had been there previously.
For the next few years I’ll be checked on by my Oncologist regularly and have periodic bloodwork and x-rays to make sure everything stays gone.
I’ve recovered wonderfully from chemo and even have my hair back already.I never thought I’d be thankful that someone hit me in the crotch as hard as they could. That little boy saved my life.
I can’t wait until he’s old enough to tell this story to.
Staying positive and trying to keep laughing throughout treatment made it easier on me. I hope that sharing this can at least make someone smile and help them know that they can do it too.