I have met many insprational people over the years since I was diagnosed with Cancer. The Doctors and nurses that helped me, the fellow sufferers, people raising money and doing danagerous things for charity as well as the charities themselves as well as the support groups both for the sufferer and the families. It is always important to realise that the families go through a much differnt experience but still need help and support. I often tell people that my cancer fight was the the best and worst experience of my life so far as I truly believe this. The person I have become, the people I have met, the things I have done, the charities I have worked with, the volunteer and charity work I do and want to do, my giving back by talking to people and sharing my journey - all of this because of my experience of fighting cancer.
I was 26 and a few weeks before my 27th Birthday when I felt a lump in my Testicle. I had a fight with my own head for days until about a week later I told my wife and I was was at my doctor's. It was November 15, 2000 and I was asked to go for an ultra sound at the hospital - a scary thought as men don't have ultra sounds and if I wasn't already falling apart inside, this was the last straw. Then that word CANCER was said - and your whole worlds crashes, you have a moment when everything and everybody has gone, you can't hear anything, the world has stopped for a minute. This feeling was one of the worst moments of my life until everything was explained and the fight was back in me.
An operation booked and the whole feeling of did I want a fake testicle to replace the one they were cutting out, the thought of horror of what I would look like but on the flip side not wanting a fake one. No wonder people talk of depression within Cancer patients. My operation was successful and I had my monthly check ups with Doctor Mead, my oncologist, who is world reknowned in this kind of Cancer until three months after my operation, my world collapsed again. My blood tests were abnormal and I was booked into hospital for Chemotheraphy the very next day as the Cancer had spread to my abdomen.
The Chemotheraphy was the worst part of my Cancer journey as I had no pain from the tumour in my abdomen but it destroyed me both physically and mentally. Although I knew it was compulsory and my only way to fight Cancer, I hated it with every fibre of my being. I had 4 cycles which consisted of three weeks of one day appointments in a Cancer centre attached to a drip followed by a four day stay in hospital in the fourth week. By the second cycle, I was sick reguarly and as I approached the final two cycles, I hated seeing anyone including my wife and one year old son - I was a shadow of myself constantly living in a toilet or atatched to a drip and not wanting to talk to anyone or do anything.
Upon the last cycle, I was cured and then over the next few years had regular monthly, then six monthly and finally annual check ups which I enjoyed catching up with people I had met and made friendships with over the years. My life went on as if I had never had Cancer until the legendary day in August 2008 when I was finally fully discharged- a scary day as well. Legendary because I was being discharged and my fight with Cancer over. Scary because for eight years I had the safety net of regular blood test, scans, X-rays etc that checked every part of my body and would pick anything up.
My life after Cancer has been a positive one with me reguarly talking about my experiences with Cancer, being a point of contact for several male friends and colleagues when they found lumps or were unsure of going to the doctors. Currently I raise money and raise awareness for Men's Cancer with a very positive charity, Balls to Cancer, and continue to share my story, raise awareness and to support anyone who needs it.
Life is short so live life to the full and when you get a second chance - take it and use your learnings to help others.