When and where did you first notice signs of your cancer? Was there something out of the ordinary that prompted you to check yourself/ see your GP?
I noticed a small lump on my left testicle after a routine check on myself which I regularly did every month. I monitored it for a few weeks & then made an appointment with my GP. The rest, as they say, is history!
Did you check yourself regularly or were you aware of the signs and symptoms of male cancer before you were diagnosed?
Yes, I used to check myself at least once a month. I knew about Male Cancer & the Testicular symptoms beforehand so that was why I was concerned to head to my Local GP soon after.
How did you feel when you were first diagnosed? Did your feelings change during your treatment?
Not really, to be honest I saw adverts about people with Cancer & how they were affected & I felt quite guilty as I just felt as if I had a cold or something & all I had to do was pop a few pills & it was gone. I tried to be more serious about it, but instead of been very depressed, people commented how well I actually was taking it.
Please give us a brief explanation of your treatment
For some reason, I just KNEW something was wrong with me. I could just “sense” it. So beforehand I had my blood tested, my cholesterol levels & blood pressure tested. All came back fine. When I found the lump, I went to the GP, she booked me for a consultant to see me, he then booked an Ultrasound test. Then eventually it led to an operation to remove the infested Testicle.
Was there a particularly difficult or distressing part of your treatment or your cancer journey?
Yes, my consultant was not gentle when he examined me (LoL) but in all seriousness, I felt his treatment of me & my by local hospital was pretty disgusting. From going to see my GP (who was actually very good & professional!) to the actual operation, I was told nothing until an HOUR before surgery that I probably had Cancer & a Testicle was to be removed. My consultant never followed up any of my appointments with me pre-operation, usually making excuses via the hospital why he was unavailable, & so I was pretty much left on my own until I left the hospital to recover. NO after care or advice was offered to me via him nor the hospital, it was pretty much one of those “NHS horror stories” you hear about. The hospital nurses were great & my GP was very good to me I must admit, but when I got home me & my Fiancé had to find out what needed to be done to help me (whilst I was bed ridden & in pain). Eventually I was sent a letter by a Specialist Cancer Hospital to go in & see them as they had heard I was diagnosed with Cancer & then I saw just how professional & hard working some NHS people can be. Without the staff there, my GP, Orchid & the Livestrong Charity in the USA (who passed me on to Orchid), it would have been a very very lonely experience for me.
What is the most important thing your family and friends did to support you?
Just generally asking how I was & making sure that they were there to talk to me whenever I needed it. One close friend in particular, Jay, when I asked him why he was making an extra effort to help by talking to me said “because I care & worry about you”, which actually made me become quite emotional afterwards knowing that not everyone in the world is out for themselves. You definitely discover who are, & who your friends aren’t after something like Cancer.
Do you believe the experience has changed you as a person? If so, in what way?
I’d like to say that I’m now travelling the world in sandals preaching to everyone how my life has changed after Cancer, but in reality, it only changed it for a couple of months & then you always seem to get back in the same routine you had previously. Now over 7 months later, it’s beginning to take a more prominent role in my life as I am now realizing how lucky I am to be a survivor when so many don’t manage that. I only wish that I was a radically different person now, to who I was before my diagnosis, & I do feel guilty that I don’t feel that it happened that way for me like it does for so many others affected. Maybe I just haven’t really come to terms with it yet & just need to talk to someone professional about why I feel like that, because I’ve never really had the opportunity to delve into it with someone that way. Or maybe it’s just my way of coping with it.
What medical or emotional support would you like to be offered in the future to support you after your treatment ends?
That’s a tough one as until I saw my Cancer specialist (who I have to see for the next five years), discovered Orchid, & with the support from the Cancer community chat room via Macmillan, & my GP, I was very angry & bitter by the way my local NHS hospital behaved towards me & my diagnosis, like it was just an annoying distraction (as I said, the Nurses were great though!), so I had quite a lonely experience, but I would like to see more support for Male Cancer from the TV networks as it is still very much predominantly Female Cancer that gets the bulk of the attention, I would also like to see more support groups for men with Male specific Cancer such as chat rooms etc as it can feel you’re the only one out there with this!
What would be your message to other men affected by male cancer? What would be your message to their partners?
Check yourself at LEAST once a month & if you find ANYTHING unusual, please go straight to your GP. DON’T LEAVE IT!! Your not immortal!
Also make sure that if you are unhappy with the way you are treated during your diagnosis or post op, make it known as if you don’t complain, nothing will get done.
Also, get in touch with Orchid!!!!!