Matthew Thursfield

I had a fairly physical lifestyle both at home and at work as a drama school production manager. You could say I was enjoying my youth well into my thirties.

After the birth of my second child at the age of 35, I had a vasectomy and the consultant noticed an issue with my right testicle while having the procedure. This was just deemed as ‘watch and wait’ and nothing too alarming. Two years later, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Prior to the diagnosis, I did the typical lad thing – I wasn’t in pain (although the testicle was getting quite large) so I just ignored any early signs, not even mentioning it to my wife. However, it came to a point where I couldn’t ignore it any longer and discussed it with her. It didn’t dawn on me that it could be testicular cancer. I always thought it was either a younger or much older man who would be diagnosed with male cancer. 

I rang the GP the following morning and received a phone call back that day. My GP was superb – made an ultrasound appointment for a week later. It was there that the stenographer said there were two visible lumps on the right testicle (I still couldn’t feel anything). By this time, the testicle was larger than a golf ball!

My wife was worried and voiced this to me – my GP referred me to a leading London hospital. My wife was in floods of tears. I was more pragmatic – I just had to deal with it. We went to a few weddings which was a strain as we had to shield her feelings. My wife also made me tell my parents, and my mum was terrified. As there was no history of male cancer in our family, it was new ground for us and something we just didn’t expect.

In between Xmas and New Year – a time when families ordinarily have a joyous time, I saw the consultant and the team and they said they had to operate immediately. This was followed with chemotherapy and further scans. I also had preventative chemotherapy as the scans revealed several little lumps in the lymph nodes, too small to operate on.

I had not come across Orchid during this time and so wished I had – the confidential specialist nurse helpline and their fantastic information materials would have been a lifeline at that time. I came across them as I have modified my lifestyle and run all the time and wanted to run the London Landmarks. The support I received from the fundraising team was nothing short of superb with a real personal touch. I was so impressed that I am now running the London Marathon on their behalf. I want to raise funds – but also awareness – of this truly remarkable charity.

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