I am a Survivor

(This post has nothing to do with sports but deals with men’s health, I feel its an important topic and I wanted to share my story with you)

I woke up this morning feeling reminiscent but couldn’t put a finger on why. As I’m laying there slowly waking up there’s this nagging in the back of my head that I’m forgetting something, something important. Realizing there’s no way I can fall back asleep I jump out of bed to start my day. After getting dressed I grabbed my phone, wake it from its sleeping state and I see it. The date says July 27th, 2013. Like a brick smacking me in the face I have finally figured out what was so important that I have forgotten.

Before I realize what was so important I’m going to take you back in time for a little trip. Follow me won’t you. The year is 2006 and everything was going great in my life. Great job, awesome girlfriend who I would marry and good friends all around me. I’m starting to notice that I’m feeling kind of sick and run down more and more as each day passes. Also feeling pain in my abdominal area that’s not real high on the pain threshold but is nagging and getting more and more noticeable. I go to the doctor get some tests done but can’t figure out what’s exactly wrong. None of this makes any sense I know my body the doctor doesn’t and I’m being told basically its in my head.

Fighting through whatever this phantom thing that is happening to me, it is now the Summer of 2007. I’m at my wits end on why the pain in my abdominal area is getting stronger so much so that its affecting my work. At this time I’m a garbage man and every time I’m lifting I feel this nagging pain get stronger and stronger. Mind you all through this time I have noticed one of my testicles wasn’t feeling right but I was shrugging this off to be part of the phantom pain and tiredness I was feeling, plus it is embarrassing to have another man feel your package so I kept quiet. My girlfriend finally stepped in and said she had had enough of this and if I didn’t go to the doctor and have him check out my testicle she was going to drag me in there and do it. Well what’s more embarrassing now just tell the doctor or having your girlfriend dragging you. I chose to tell him.

During the exam I explain to the doctor I have been feeling discomfort in my left testicle and have noticed it feels like there are now two in there instead of one and starting to feel really hard. I get the old please drop your drawers lets have a look. Oh boy is this the most uncomfortable thing to go through (turns out no, more later). He feels around and and says I’m not liking this at all and he takes that light the use to look in your ears and mouth and shines it underneath. Yup this is what I feared you might have cancer see how the light is not coming through its all dark. I said yes. He then takes the light to under the right one and there’s this pink glow like when you take a flashlight and put it under your hand. This is what it is suppose to look like i’m going to schedule you for ultrasound and we will go from there.

Hmm An ultrasound doesn’t sound that painful, no pain involved since no needles how bad can this be. Well this is where being really really uncomfortable begins. You get dressed up in your little hospital gown, they have you lay on the table. You see the machine and you think to yourself this is going to be easy. Then the nurse walks in and she’s a looker, Houston we may have a problem. I have never prayed so much as to be courteous and professional and keep my manhood at bay. The problem arises if someone is playing with your junk other things happen they just do its uncontrollable. I am sweating feeling so uncomfortable but being on my best and doing a good job. The saving grace I believe is all that gel that dump on you. Finally the exam is over I won the battle, played it cool, no excitement i’m a professional! OK sir go ahead and stand up clean yourself off and get dressed after I leave the room. I’m super happy nothing happened, I get up and it felt like i was wearing a 55 gallon drum of this gel on me seemed to take forever to get it cleaned off and even then didn’t get it all until I showered. Sending me home she tells me they will send to the doctor I should find something out in a week I believe this is a Tuesday.

After work on Friday’s a bunch of friends and myself go up to a local watering hole to celebrate the end of a hard work week. Enjoying the company, debating sports telling stories of what we encountered during the week and just joking around. My phone rings, I look down at it and its my doctor. I excuse myself and answer the call. He tells me the ultrasound tests came back not a hundred percent certain but it does look like cancer and already have an appointment set up with the best urologist for next week. I go back to my friends and they see something is disturbing me so I tell them the news. No way it can be cancer buddy probably just something minor don’t worry about it. You know guys your probably right let me not bring this fun down forget I said anything. Now I know my friends were very concerned for me and trying to take my mind off of the news and I was happy they did.

The next week rolls around and my appointment is on a Wednesday, I rush over there right after work. Feeling a little nervous wondering whats lying ahead of me here and what we are going to do. After filling out all that fun paperwork every doctor has you fill out they put me back in the little room. Sitting in this room I look around and there is all kinds of stuff about getting checked out and early detection is the best cure for cancer. Now I’m getting scared if it is cancer did we catch it early am I to late? Seems like eternity before the door opens and the doctor comes in. He reaches out his hand for the traditional handshake tells me his name and the says “You have cancer”. What are you kidding me you don’t ease into this you just blurt out I have cancer. I’m stunned, knew it was a possibility but until you hear those words you have no idea how to react. All I remember is everything went black after hearing this. I knew he was still talking to me I could see his mouth moving but I couldn’t hear, feel, sense, think of anything. He was asking me a question and realized I wasn’t there. He said my name a few times and snapped me back to reality. He asks if I’m OK told him yes I was just a little stunned felt like I was getting punched in the gut. He says I don’t want to do a biopsy for risking it possibly spreading in the bloodstream just want to go in and remove the testicle itself then we will have that tested and go from there. OK sounds like a plan to me. He wants to do this on July 21st, I ask if this is so serious that it has to be that date or can we postpone it for a few cause that is my birthday. He looks at my chart and says sorry didn’t notice that lets go for the 27th.

On July 27th, 2007 I became cancer free after the removal of my left testicle. I had to have follow up radiation for like two months while I worked and that was no picnic. But in the end I was lucky because I listened to my girlfriend (now life saving wife) and had caught this early. I can tell you that any pain i feel anywhere in my body scares me wondering if it has come back. This is not something that anyone tells you. It is always in the back of your mind. Being a survivor is awesome and I’m lucky it was only Stage I testicular cancer and my body is cancer free now. My mind will always resort to what if its cancer and it sucks, can’t get rid of it but I’ll take it since I get to wake up and enjoy the sun rising and spending time with my family and friends. If I would have just kept ignoring it that blackness I felt after the doctor told me would be eternal not just a few moments like it was. Remember if something doesn’t feel right, look right get it checked out.


  1. Amazing story Shannon and for sure a taboo topic among men thats needs to discussed and not disregarded.

    • Thank you and i agree this is something that is easily curable as long as its caught early. I was very fortunate in having the slow moving kind and caught it early before it spread. If you feel any pain or discomfort you should always get checked out there is no reason to be embarrassed.

  2. I will NOT support testicular cancer. Fuck testicular cancer

  3. Thank you for your story Shannon, and thankfully you were diagnosed and treated in time. Yes, perhaps the three words that someone doesn’t want to hear are “You have cancer.” Like you, I was stunned.

    Great advice to not put off any tests; you never know. I’m glad to hear that things are going well for you.

  4. “Good” story and an awesome message! I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 41 because my over zealous doc ordered a PSA during a routine exam. Found it early, had surgery and I’ve been cancer free for better than 2 years! Don’t ignore routine tests EVER!

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