Oct 27, 2005 - 3:58 pm
My name is Nick. I am 31 years old, and I am a 3 year testicular cancer survivor. I just wanted to stop by and introduce myself. I have never been part of a cancer survivors group or living with cancer group.
A little aboutt my disease for those who are interested. I was diagnosed when I was 28. I was stage four. I would like to tell how I was diagnosed, because I don't want this to happen to someone else. I was going to college at the time and had noticed two lumps had formed behind each nipple. I went to the medical center on campus and they stated that I had cysts and they would go away. After a while I had a milky discharge coming out of my nipples. I went back to the center and they said the same thing. This went on for about 6 months.
About the time of the Sept11 attacks I was having difficulty sleeping. Then before christmas, during finals week I had been awake for several days due to pain that build up where my kidneys are. I turned in my final project and went straight to the emergency room.
I was diagnosed with several things. I had kidney issues as well as pancreatitis. After a CAT scan it was discovered that, as the doctor said, my "body is riddled with tumors". I had so many they couldn't count. I had tumors from the testicle to the pelvis, kidneys, adrenal glands, stuck on my pancreas, stuck on the aorta, around the lungs, and lymph nodes. In a short order I was put on a feeding tube for a month to get rid of the pancreatitis where the tumors were forcing out pancreatic juices (I am grateful it wasn't pancreatic cancer) and upon that surgery for removal of a testicle. After that started the fun of four intense cycles of 5 days straight once a month for four months of cisplatin, bleomycin, and etoposide. I lost all my hair, I went from 190 to 138 lbs, I have never been sicker (and I was in the Navy, trust me we drank like fish and I was never as sick as this), and fatigue and depression were taking a foot hold. But, I never gave up.
After that, I thought everything was all said and done. But, no...Although my chemo cycle was extremely aggresive;my doctor said since I was young and in good health we should attack it aggresively and I am glad we did. At the time I didn't know but much later he said he was surprised I survived..they thought I had less than a 25% chance of survival. I am grateful he never told me that while I was going through chemo, he is an outstanding doctor with great bedside manners. But, I digress, after the chemo, there were many tumors left. I required surgery...Now for me, who went through hell already, this was the proverbial straw breaking the camels back. My reserves of strength and willpower were fastly depleted. After much thought I went ahead with it...a 13 hour surgery that took a kidney, 2 adrenal glands, gall bladder, switched the piping a bit and removed all the tumors that the chemo didn't take care of.
But, here I am, 3 years later...still kicking.
My message to you going through this is:
Well that is my story, thank you for reading it, and I apologize if it was a bit long. I wish you all the best...keep fighting, have faith in yourself, and never give up no matter how hard it gets.