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?
Whilst in the shower – lucky really. I had always checked myself on an irregular basis. I got out, checked again, asked my wife to check and immediately called the doctor for an appointment
Did you check yourself regularly or were you aware of the signs and symptoms of male cancer before you were diagnosed?
I was aware of some of the symptoms and immediately thought something was possibly wrong.
How did you feel when you were first diagnosed? Did your feelings change during your treatment?
Initially – worried, sad, nervous. Things moved quickly which was good (I have to say that having private healthcare helped me here) and as the prognosis became clear I was always very optimistic and upbeat. I read quite a lot about testicular cancer and had some knowledge of it through news on Lance Armstrong etc. Whilst I had low points during treatment I remained positive throughout.
Please give us a brief explanation of your treatment
I had 3 cycles of chemo – 1 week in hospital, 1 day as an outpatient in week 2, 1 day as an outpatient in week 3, rest for a few weeks and then repeat. I dealt with the chemotherapy pretty well so I was blasted with the 3rd cycle as a ‘precaution’ / ‘insurance’.
Was there a particularly difficult or distressing part of your treatment or your cancer journey?
I only had one bad moment with the chemotherapy. I got a bit depressed and bored. My wife and I chose to do it very much ‘on our won’ which was right for me and for us. It was all pretty grim but it was fine.
What is the most important thing your family and friends did to support you?
My wife was amazing. We did it together. The rest of my family were very much kept at arms length and I probably hid from them the darkest moments. I didn’t want my mum or sister to visit me as they would have found it hard and my dad only came on my final day!
Do you believe the experience has changed you as a person? If so, in what way?
My wonderful oncologist (Dr Peter Harper) believes that folk who go through this become better people. I am not sure I have. I think I am little more cynical about things but I am more aware of the work charities do and am more sympathetic to people I hope.
What medical or emotional support would you like to be offered in the future to support you after your treatment ends?
I was offered support from Macmillan, Cancerbacup etc but chose not to receive it. That was good for me. My oncologist, the nursing staff at the London clinic and my wife were all I needed. Ultimately it is about doing it the way that works for you.
What would be your message to other men affected by male cancer? What would be your message to their partners?
Do it together – or, at least, do it the way that will work for you. Every cancer is different so don’t go looking on the internet too much and only speak with fellow sufferers if you think it will be a good thing for you. Stay strong, be positive and be true to yourself. Don’t worry about the days when you are low and be honest about how you feel.