On October 26, 2007 I heard the words “Your son has stage 4 testicular cancer that has spread throughout his body.”
My son, Jordan Jones, was diagnosed at the young age of 13, just 2 weeks before his 14th birthday. It was a complete shock to everyone, especially me! Not my son, he’s too healthy. He had just played his end of season football game 36 hours prior to receiving his diagnosis. They won 48 to 0 that night and Jordan played his heart out! It was soon after that we would find out that his biggest opponent would no longer be on the football field – it would be cancer.
Never Take No for an Answer
No one will ever know the pain felt by a mother whose child is fighting for their life or worse yet, the pain of losing their child. Being a mother and caregiver to my son was one of the toughest jobs I have ever had to face. From the first day of Jordan’s diagnosis, I felt I had to disengage my feelings and put on a suit of armor. I had to shield him from seeing my tears and fears. I didn’t want him to see how frightened I really was. Behind closed doors I would break down, but whenever I was in his presence I had to be strong so I could be by his side for every doctor visit and every hospital stay. I had to be strong when hearing that his cancer had taken a turn for the worse and that it was inoperable. I had to stay strong when the doctors said that if they were to chance surgery, he’d have a very poor quality of life. I had to stay strong when we never took no for an answer and sought other opinions. Eventually we found a doctor who would treat Jordan’s late-stage diagnosis. He underwent several surgeries to remove pounds of tumors without any complications followed by several cycles of high-dose chemotherapy. This treatment ultimately saved his life.
During the early days of Jordan’s treatment, I heard about another 14 year old who was admitted to the same hospital diagnosed with late-stage testicular cancer and did not survive. Like Jordan he had been too embarrassed to tell his mother about the lump on his testicle. That was devastating news. I did not want another mom to suffer the loss of a child to this disease knowing that it could easily be detected and treated when caught early. I did not want these young men to be embarrassed to talk about their bodies and to know the importance of testicular monthly exams.
I knew I could make a difference in the lives of others. So two years after my son’s initial diagnosis I started the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation. Since we began, we have saved many lives by providing guidance to seek the best medical protocols available and to never take no for an answer. We educate the public about this disease as well as the importance of monthly exams. We encourage young men to openly talk about their experience and let them know they are not alone. Through the use of our social network, we support caregivers, family members, and friends. Our program offers financial assistance to those in immediate need because we’re aware of the financial burden that accompanies a cancer diagnosis within a family.
Jordan continued to play football throughout his high school years. Today he is a healthy 19 year old attending his first year of college pursuing an engineering degree. Today he is a survivor!
My transition from full-time caregiver to full-time advocate has greatly helped me – knowing that I am truly making a positive difference to those affected by this disease.
Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation