Hi guys, I find it really important to talk about my experiences, especially as a young man (we don’t talk enough) to get the message across for guys to check their testicles.
So here goes. I was 22 and at work when I got a really sharp pain in my groin. I just thought I had pulled it while running around at work (I’m a chef) and it was a busy night. Didn’t really think anything of it until a few days later when my right testicle was really swollen and in a lot of pain. After a bit of nagging from my fiancé at the time, I went to the doctors to get it checked out. They thought I just had an infection and gave me antibiotics. A few days had passed, and it didn’t seem to be getting any better and my fiancé wasn’t happy with the diagnosis, so we went to A+E to get another opinion. After a few hours I got the shocking news that it could be testicular cancer. They booked me in for a CT scan and bloods and booked me in with a specialist. The second diagnosis was correct, it was testicular cancer!
As soon as you hear cancer your mind goes into overdrive, especially when you have two sons at home only 1 and 2 at the time. Will I be here to see them grow up? What will my fiancé do if I am not there? I’m only 22, how has this happened?
I was told by the specialist that even though it was cancer it’s the best one to get (if there is such a thing) because it’s very treatable and I caught it pretty early. Not to say it isn’t scary or it couldn’t be serious because it can be if not caught early enough! After the news I went into work the next day to take my mind off it and because we needed the money as it was not long after Christmas! I was a few hours into my shift and a customer came running in shouting that the roof was on fire! Everyone got evacuated, within half an hour the whole roof was on fire! There were 7 fire engines at the scene and by the time the fire was out it was just a shell of a building. This was just a day after my diagnosis.
I got a letter a week later for my surgery, it was in a weeks’ time. I have to say they took no messing around to get me into surgery to remove my testicle and any appointment in between or after has always been really quick.
I found out that I would only get paid for that month at work and that will be all. I wouldn’t be able to get sick pay due to there not being a business there anymore! There was so much worry! I was the main provider of the household; I couldn’t find another job because I was having surgery and had to recover before going back to work. I had a fiancé and two children to provide for. I felt hopeless, lost and guilty because we had no money. My fiancé had to work part time and look after me when I had surgery as well as two children under 3 years of age. It was the lowest point in my life and in mine and my fiancé’s relationship. I had to take out credit cards just to pay the bills, but I had no way of paying them back. It was getting out of control really quickly! It must have been just over a week after my surgery, and I found a job and took it. I wasn’t ready but what could I do? I needed money and fast. Luckily it was weekly pay and with overtime we managed to regain control of our finances.
After a few months me and my fiancé made the decision to get married at the end of the year in December. Life is too short, after all we had been through, we needed something to look forward too and we didn’t know what the future would hold. The place I worked at was the venue. We did all the food to keep costs low. We had a minimal wedding, but it didn’t matter. We loved each other and it was just about us and nothing else.
Fast forward 2 years and I signed up to do white collar boxing for Cancer Research UK so I could get my story out there but also to raise awareness and money for a charity that helped so much during the process of cancer.
I have been cancer free for nearly 6 years now and I have regular checks and life is amazing! I now work for an amazing company; my boys are now 6 and 7 and I am also a football coach for the team the boys play for. My wife and I are as strong as ever and none of it would have been possible without her. She got me through my darkest time and had to raise the kids while I worked 12/14hr shifts just to get by. I can’t thank her enough. I hope everyone has someone that can be there for you if you are going through testicular cancer or any cancer for that matter because your mental and physical health will be tested.
Finally, men of all ages, please check yourself regularly as the earlier it’s caught, the easier it is to treat. Thankyou.