jennymichaels' Journey with Testicular Cancer

Spouse/Partner: Testicular Cancer

Patient Info: Newly diagnosed (has not begun treatment), Diagnosed: over 4 years ago, Male, Age: 31, Stage III

  1. 1
    about 4 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    It started about eight to nine months ago when I was at the end of my pregnancy. My husband took our 85lb German Shepard for a walk and a little dog spooked her and made her jerk my husband to the ground. That is when the swollen testicle appeared and we thought he had a hernia. At the time of the injury he didn't have health insurance so we decided to leave it untreated until he was added to my insurance at the beginning of the year or until it became symptomatic. It finally became symptomatic on February 6th which resulted in a trip to the local ER. There a PA examined him for less than 2 minutes, never ordered a UA or tests, diagnosed him with a hernia, and discharged him with minimal follow up directions. Overnight his pain became worse and we again went to the ER afraid that he had traumatized his hernia. This time a physician came in and examined him and verified the diagnosis of a hernia. He then explained that he only needed to return if he had severe nausea, unbearable pain, or if his swollen testicle was to become necrotic. He then referred him to a general surgeon for follow up. We went and saw the general surgeon on February 12th. He did a thorough exam and informed us that he did not think he had a hernia but wanted us to follow up with him in three weeks to be sure that it wasn't a very small hernia. We did not make it to the follow up appointment but instead back to the ER for a third visit on February 21st due to my husband's severe pain and difficulty breathing. We were finally seen by a physician that ordered an array of tests and did a full exam. On February 22nd in the wee hours of the morning the ER physician came into our room and informed us that my husband had testicular cancer that had spread from his testicle, to his peritoneal lymph node, and to his lungs. We were completely surprised and confused as this whole time we thought it was a simple hernia.

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  2. 2
    about 4 years ago
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    Removal of testicle

    Procedure or Surgery

    He was admitted to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning on February 22nd with a diagnosis of testicular cancer. My 27 year old husband of only two years and father to my seven month old son was diagnosed with cancer. Still in shock over the diagnosis the doctors did not delay in any treatment. They promptly scheduled his surgery to remove his left testicle for 8:00am on February 23rd. The surgery went well and his left testicle was sent out for biopsy.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  3. 3
    about 4 years ago
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    Biopsy 2

    Procedure or Surgery

    After being discharged on February 24th we began the race of appointments and tests. The first of which was a second biopsy. The oncologist called shortly after our initial appointment on February 27th to inform us that there were not any cancer cells found in the testicle that they removed and that a second biopsy would be needed to place a final staging and diagnosis before chemo could begin. They took eight samples from the 6cmx4cmx10cm tumor that was located on his peritoneal lymph node on March 4th. I wish that I could say that this test was the easiest of the ones he was to receive but we soon found out that was not the case in the slightest. He had to remain awake for the biopsy so he could control his breathing while they stuck him with a 10" needle. My husband told me that he would never wish that kind of biopsy on his worst enemy. He said it felt like someone had stabbed him with a long sharp thin sword over and over again. His recovery was not as long as his orchiectomy but just as painful.

    Went as Expected: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  4. 4
    about 4 years ago
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    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    As with most cancer treatments it was decided that he will have to go through chemotherapy. His surgery was scheduled for March 5th and all went extremely well. He had a wonderful general surgeon and a beyond amazing anesthesiologist.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  5. 5
    about 4 years ago
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    PFT (Pulmonary Function Test)

    Procedure or Surgery

    We continued down the road of what seemed like endless tests with a PFT (Pulmonary Function Test) that was to make sure his lungs can handle the type of chemotherapy the oncologist would like to use. This test only left him feeling anxious because of the albuterol that they had given him to fully open his lungs.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  6. 6
    about 4 years ago
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    Brain MRI

    Procedure or Surgery

    Next on the list of tests was a brain MRI to rule out cancerous cells migrating to the brain. All went normal and the results came back as negative.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  7. 7
    about 4 years ago
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    PET scan

    Procedure or Surgery

    I think that today is the first day that it is truly beginning to set in that my husband has cancer. He went for his PET scan today and for some reason that made it click. Maybe it is because right now he is very tired and laying down or maybe it is because I know that it is a test that they only perform on people that have cancer. I know that his moodiness and tiredness is only a taste of what is to come. The PET scan went well. He said it was the easiest test thus far as all he had to do was lay there. I am anxious for his biopsy in the morning and for his appointment on Thursday to have our final diagnosis and staging of his cancer.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  8. 8
    about 4 years ago
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    Diagnosis and Treatment Plan

    Oh No

    We had our appointment with the oncologist yesterday to receive the final test results and treatment plan. I am not sure if I had mentioned before that the local pathologist did not find any cancer cells in the testicle that was removed so they had decided to complete a second biopsy. The second biopsy did not have any conclusive results either as each of the eight samples taken were full of dead cells and blood. We did have a third biopsy scheduled for this past Tuesday but the oncologist called us late Monday night to tell us that he had cancelled it as he had definitive results. The oncologist was not satisfied with the local pathologist's results and had sent my husband's first biopsy to UCLA for a second opinion. We were told that he has mixed germ cell cancer and is 98% teratima and 2% choriorcarcinoma. The original treatment plan was supposed to be BEP chemotherapy due to the tumors in his lungs but has been changed to VIP chemotherapy due to below normal PFT results. This type of chemotherapy will require a hospital stay for five days and he will begin treatment this Tuesday.

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  9. 9
    about 4 years ago
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    Back in the Hospital

    Oh No

    After youth group tonight my husband started to complain about shortness of breath and severe pain when trying to take a full breath. His oncologist called him around 8:00pm out of the blue to see how he was doing and he told him what he was experiencing. The oncologist told him to immediately go to the ER to be admitted for testing and to be sure that his tumor did not burst or that he had a pulmonary embolism. We left the house very quickly and here we sit. He had several tests completed and was finally admitted. They are assuming that the pain is caused by one of the lesions on his lungs and right now are working to make him comfortable.

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  10. 10
    about 4 years ago
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    Hospitalization

    Other Care

    Here we sit in the very sterile hospital again. It seems like it was so long ago since the last time we were here but it was just three ago when they told us that my husband has testicular cancer. So much has happened since then. Numerous doctors' appointments, a couple of surgeries, too many tests, and wonderful joys of life such as our seven and half month old son figuring out how to crawl and pull himself up. The floor doctor made his rounds this morning and informed us that my husband's labs came back a little less on the favorable side. The doctor said that his kidney function is not where they would like it before starting chemotherapy. It seems as though the 4x6x10cm peritoneal cyst is pushing on his kidney more than when his original CT Scan was taken three weeks ago. They are going to be placing a stent in his kidney to help drain the urine that has collected there. Hopefully this will only delay the start of his chemotherapy by two or three days. He is very anxious to begin treatment to have this whole experience behind him.

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  11. 11
    about 4 years ago
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    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    Today my husband had his surgery to improve his kidney function and all went pretty much as planned. He had a stent put in to help fully drain his kidney to his bladder. His tumor was pressing on his kidney and making it difficult to complete that very simple task. The recovery time is only a day and we should see improved kidney function in the morning's labs. If all goes as planned he should be starting chemo on Thursday.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  12. 12
    about 4 years ago
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    Green Light for Chemo

    Milestones

    He finally has the green light to start chemo tomorrow. Only 5 more days in the hospital and then we can go home. It's a bitter sweet moment. We are just ready to have this all behind us.

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  13. 13
    about 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Today is the day that they are starting chemotherapy and I don't know really what to think about it. It seems like so long ago that they told us that my husband has cancer. With all of the complications that he had leading up to this point we didn't know if we would ever see this day. Here's to starting the longest journey of our lives.

    Easy to Do: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  14. 14
    about 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Today is day four of five of the first round of chemotherapy and my husband has started to feel the effects. He has severe nausea that started late last night and was violently vomitting around 5:00am this morning. Today is day five of his treatments and then he will recieve a little rest until the next round. One round down and three more to go.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  15. 15
    about 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    We are finally home after spending nine days in the hospital. So far the only side effects he has had is nausea, a little vomiting, and fatigue. They have him a few different anti-nausea meds but it doesn't seem to be doing the trick. Tomorrow he goes for his Nuelasta shot which is to help increase his white blood cell count to help him fight any infections he may come across in everyday life. They say this shot will make his bones ache. Hopefully it isn't too much.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  16. 16
    about 4 years ago
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    Medicine for low white blood cell count

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    My husband received Nuelasta on Wednesday morning and today is Saturday. So far there haven't been any of the side effects they told us about. They did tell him to take an antihistamine for a few days and I think that has really helped him.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  17. 17
    about 4 years ago
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    The Hosptial.....Again

    Oh No

    My husband woke me up around 4:00am this morning with a fever of 103.6 and we immediately went to the ED at Cape Canaveral Hospital. They did their battery of tests and the results came back that his white blood cell count was almost nonexistent. They have admitted him to the hospital to give him IV antibiotics, IV fluids, monitor his white blood cell count, and figure out the source of a possible infection. I am begining to feel like they should add me to the payroll or give us a VIP parking spot since we are here so much!

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  18. 18
    about 4 years ago
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    Cancer has spread/Metastasized

    Oh No

    We were released from the hospital one week ago after spending six days there this time. He was admitted with a high fever, low white blood cell count, and low red blood cell count. During his stay they ended up doing a one bag blood transfusion to help increase his red blood cell count which had dipped down to 7.1. They also gave him daily shots to help increase his white blood cell count and while they waited for his counts to increase they called in an infectious disease specialist to see if they could find the source of his infection. An MRI of his abdomen was ordered as one of the battery of tests and they found that his cancer has metastasized to his liver and bone. This has now put him to stage 3C Poor. After being released from the hospital last Friday the infectious disease specialist called us on Wednesday to inform us that they results from his MANY blood cultures came back and they discovered that my husband has CMV and that they need to treat it before his round of chemo. We are sad that they are going to be delaying his treatment but am glad that they figured out what the issue is and correct it before it leads to further complications. Hopefully he will start his second round of chemo within the next two weeks.

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  19. 19
    about 4 years ago
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    The Hair Loss Has Begun

    Symptoms

    It seems like it was just yesterday that we were sitting in the doctors office and they were going over all of the complications and side effects that my husband would experience once his chemotherapy had begun. We knew he was going to loose his hair and that it would come out in clumps and unevenly but I must admit I was not expecting it to happen so soon. I thought we wouldn't have to face hair loss until after the second round of chemotherapy. I do have to say that my husband doesn't look half bad bald. We ended up buzzing it to a zero so it wouldn't be as noticeable to him and others that he was patchy.

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  20. 20
    about 4 years ago
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    Referred to the Specialist Specialist

    Other Care

    We had our appointment with our oncologist this Tuesday and he has referred us to a "Specialist Specialist". We have an appointment in May to go to Tampa, FL to see a surgical oncologist at the Moffitt Center for a second opinion and consultation. I must say that our oncologist is amazing because he referred us before we even had an opportunity to ask to see the surgeon that was going to be cutting up my husband in June.

    2 Comments