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.
by Jenna Jackson, Caregiver
Sadly, there is no manual or guidebook for when your husband receives a testicular cancer diagnosis. Did you even know what testicular cancer was? Did you know that it preys on men ages 15-34 years old? Your world is suddenly flipped upside down and there is not a darn thing you can do about it. You feel completely and utterly helpless. Maybe you cry yourself to sleep, maybe you are in shock, or maybe you keep everything to yourself. You never imagined yourself in this role – you were just married and enjoying life as a newlywed, but now he has cancer and everything is different. The days to come are filled with uncertainties. But, you are absolutely certain of one thing: you will do everything in your power to provide unrelenting love, support, and grace to ensure that your partner, a newly deemed cancer patient, is comfortable and taken care of.
Cancer Is Not Just Rogue Cells – And Not Just Inside the Patient
by Steve Pake, Cancer Survivor
As I approach six years of cancer survivorship, never has it been more clear to me that cancer is not just a disease of our physical bodies, but a disease of our minds and souls as well. Thus, the argument that many make, is that cancer is not just a matter of eradicating the rogue cells from one’s body, but of curing the entire patient. To rid a patient of the physical disease, but to ignore the residual emotional and spiritual disease, does not a cure make.
by Steve Pake, Living with Cancer
Before I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 33, I had always been a very regular person. I had regular amounts of energy and enthusiasm for life, regular amounts of optimism about most everything, and there had never been a single depressive “bone” in my body. I felt confident and secure, had very regular moods which were all good, and very regular amounts of libido, too! My cancer diagnosis blindsided me, and shook my foundations to their core. How could you not feel depressed and anxious while you’re afraid for your life, and fighting like hell just to live at all?