As we continue to support Movember, our colleague Sam tells us his very personal reasons for supporting the charity and why it is important to check your health regularly.
Towards the end of May 2019, I noticed a bit of discomfort in my groin.
Usually, I’m pretty good at checking myself regularly, but it had been a busy few months and it had slipped my mind. I discovered a lump on my testicle so I booked an appointment with my GP the next day. After several tests and what felt like a never ending wait, I was diagnosed with early stage testicular cancer. Not ideal, but the prognosis was good and I’d have one dose of ‘adjuvant’ chemotherapy to stop it coming back.
I had my first operation to remove the tumour and my testicle.
A few weeks later, I got a call to say my last round of blood tests had shown a spike in markers and that I needed more scans. The cancer had spread to my lungs and lymph nodes, and a different approach was needed - three cycles of chemotherapy. After several really challenging months of chemo, my blood markers were down and I began planning a return to normal life in the run-up to Christmas.
At my final treatment consultation, I received one final blow.
In January 2020 I was admitted to hospital for my final operation after being told some residual masses hadn’t shrunk enough and would require further treatment. After a six hour operation to remove the lymph nodes that sit behind my stomach, a short stay in ICU and a few days on a urology ward, I was able to go home and recover. This was the most difficult time throughout all of my treatment and has left me with a gnarly scar up the length of my abdomen! But in March 2020, I received the news I had been waiting for... I was cancer free! My recovery took some months beyond this, but at the start of June I was able to return to work full time – albeit from home.
I feel great now!
It took a lot of physical and mental preparation to come back to work, but I have an incredibly supportive and understanding team around me. I can’t tell you how much I missed the interaction with people, even if it’s via a fuzzy image on MS Teams!
It takes nothing to check your testicles, but everything can be taken from you if you don’t.
Inform yourself about your health, get to know your body, both physically and mentally – it’s impossible to recognise when something changes if you couldn’t describe it before, and that could potentially save your life.
The Movember website has information about Men’s Health, click here: https://uk.movember.com/