by Pat Taylor, AYA Advocate, CKN Editor
Connor O’Leary was a nineteen year old professional cyclist competing in Europe when he discovered a lump on his testicle. As an advocate for AYA cancer awareness since my own daughter was diagnosed with cancer in 1997, I was stunned at how little I knew about testicular cancer and the men living with it. I needed to learn more. I needed to go to the source. My editor, Karen Irwin at CKN agreed and the idea for the TC Cancer Series was born.
Connor was one of the men I invited to join me for breakfast in Denver, Colorado while we were attending Stupid Cancer’s CancerCon 2017 Conference, to discuss the short and long term effects of living with a testicular cancer diagnosis. When Connor told me, “Nineteen year olds don’t want to talk about their parts to their mothers,” I knew that Connor would offer an important perspective to the series. What follows is my interview with Connor, testicular cancer survivor and Chief Mission Officer for the Testicular Cancer Foundation.
by Dan Duffy, Survivor, Advocate, Author
“I cheated with my cancer.”
A friend of mine said that to me once, feeling that she somehow didn’t really go through cancer because hers was caught so early, with no chemo or radiation necessary.
“So the double mastectomy doesn’t count?” I asked, needling her. (Cancer patients can do this to each other.)
by Nick O’Hara Smith, Writer, Director, Advocate, Survivor
We men are primed to expect. We expect to be healthy, fertile, strong and pretty much invulnerable. We can do crazy things, dally with danger and head for the extreme with that same expectation that all will be well.
That was me in 1988 when suddenly I found a tiny lump on my right testicle. Four weeks later, I lost both of my precious testicles, (thankfully a very rare occurrence).
by Steve Pake, Advocate, Survivor
Cancer Survivorship – The Fight After the Fight and All of its Firsts
After our fights with cancer are over, we all want so badly to believe that everything is behind us and that life is going to get back to normal. Those first weeks and months after our cancer fights are such a precious time. It’s our first taste of freedom after having been wrongfully held hostage by cancer for so long. I had my life back, but as time and the months went on I realized that it wasn’t my old life that I had back, but rather an entirely new one. Cancer survivorship brings with it an entirely new set of life circumstances and a whole lot of firsts, many of which I was completely unprepared to handle or to deal with at all.
by Mike Craycraft, Advocate, Survivor
When heading to my urologist for my 5-year check-up for testicular cancer I wasn’t concerned at all from a cancer standpoint. Just two weeks earlier, I had returned from a spring break trip with my girlfriend and her daughter so I was completely relaxed. In fact, being a huge self-advocate, I had already requested my medical records from my CT scans, chest X-ray and tumor marker blood tests that I had a few days earlier so I knew all was fine. All that was left was the physical exam. However, in the preceding few months, I was feeling physically worse than any time since my diagnosis. Unbeknownst to me, I was suffering from a perfect storm.
by Pat Taylor, CKN Editor, and Scott Slater, Advocate and Survivor
1. Please give a brief account of how you discovered your cancer. Your age, treatment and follow up care.
When I was 35 I was in the shower in my apartment in Brooklyn when I noticed for the first time that one testicle seems substantially larger than the other. This struck me as strange because I hadn’t noticed anything even remotely out of the ordinary on any other prior day. There was also no discomfort at the time, which certainly didn’t help as far as discovering the issue.