LOREM IPSUM

Accusantium et doloremque veritatis architecto, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis perspiciatis. Sed ut iste natus voluptatem fringilla tempor dignissim at.

LOREM IPSUM

Accusantium et doloremque veritatis architecto, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis perspiciatis. Sed ut iste natus voluptatem fringilla tempor dignissim at.

LOREM IPSUM

Accusantium et doloremque veritatis architecto, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis perspiciatis. Sed ut iste natus voluptatem fringilla tempor dignissim at.

LOREM IPSUM

Accusantium et doloremque veritatis architecto, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis perspiciatis. Sed ut iste natus voluptatem fringilla tempor dignissim at.

Post RPLND Incision

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Only my most intimate friends and family know that I have been battling cancer for the past several months. I haven’t been hiding it, I just haven’t been advertising it. Since I am now feeling much better and well on my way to recovery after surgery, I wanted to reflect and share my journey with Testicular Cancer.

Post RPLND Incision

On October 20th, 2023, I felt fine. On October 21st, I woke up with pain in my groin. I didn’t think anything of it and figured I had tweaked something while working out. So I took it easy that Saturday. On October 22nd, I tried to get out of bed and get dressed for church. My right testicle was about the size of a large lemon, way bigger than it was supposed to be. It was very red, swollen, and painful. My wife, who is a physician, recommended we go to the hospital. After a couple of hours, a very uncomfortable ultrasound, and some snide comments from nurses who thought I had an STD and was a scummy 20-something male who had cheated on his wife, they gave me broad-spectrum antibiotics and a shot in the rear for the STD I didn’t have. They diagnosed me with Epididymitis, likely caused by the STD I didn’t have.

After four days, I showed no signs of improvement, so I gave the consulting urologist a call, and he prescribed me another broad-spectrum antibiotic to treat the Epididymitis. On Friday, October 27th, the pain, swelling, and general discomfort had gotten worse, so I called the urologist again, and he got me in immediately for another ultrasound. I found this weird, but I went in for the first appointment and got another ultrasound. I went home and went about my day. Friday night, I was beginning to coach my high school football team in the playoffs when I got the call. I had cancer.

On Monday, the 30th, I had an appointment where my urologist scheduled me for a right radical orchiectomy. I also got a CT with contrast. The urologist said the CT came back fine. Turns out this was not true. He had missed that one of my lymph nodes was slightly (1-2mm) too big.

On November 11th, the orchiectomy occurred. Two weeks later, on November 25th, we met the urologist again. He told me the pathology was not great. I had a 95% Embryonal Carcinoma and 5% Teratoma. He referred me to Dr. Cary at Indiana University. We reached out to Dr. Cary’s assistant, who is amazing. She walked us through the process and said the longest part is now. Waiting until Dr. Cary can review my file and we can meet with him.

On December 11th, we got a call. Dr. Cary wants to meet us on December 15th. But first, he wanted me to get another CT with contrast. So I got one the next day across the city. Then we drove to Indy, and he recommended the nerve-sparing Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection or RPLND. I wanted to avoid chemo as much as possible, so I opted for the RPLND. We scheduled it for January 11th.

On January 10th, we went to St. Elmo Steakhouse because after surgery, I would be on a low-fat diet for several weeks. That night, I was up throwing up, experiencing diarrhea, sweating, and thinking I was coming down with the flu or something. I woke up early and tried to stomach some juice and oatmeal because the IU rep who called us said I could have a light breakfast. That was wrong I was supposed to not have any food or drink at all that day. Luckily, the day before my surgery, they pushed my surgery time back to mid-afternoon. The delay allowed me to lay in bed all day and settle my stomach. I included that part because it felt like Murphy’s Law was applying. January 11th was an awful day even without needing an RPLND. We left something in our car, and the valet had to bring it back. They brought the wrong car, I left my glasses in my hotel room before surgery, and my parents had to go get them. They took my wife and me to our room and didn’t let my parents see me before surgery. It was chaos also all my fault. I think I was a bit preoccupied with the thought of being filleted.

After I was taken to my pre-surgery prep room, the RPLND got delayed a couple of hours because I had eaten a small breakfast. So Lauren and I just sat around for a couple of hours waiting until I could be cleared. The surgery went well, but it took several hours. Only one nerve could be spared. But the cancer was only in the one lymph node. So, good news. Hoping to be cured, I began recovering as best as I could.

Unfortunately, after the surgery, I encountered my fair share of complications. On February 8th, I developed an infection that required me to take oral antibiotics for a week, which wasn’t too bad. However, two weeks later, on February 22nd, I was hospitalized for another infection and spent four days in the hospital receiving IV antibiotics. During this time, they also discovered a lymphocele in my abdomen that was compressing my inferior vena cava and right kidney. Despite having a drain placed, the lymphocele did not resolve itself, so I had to undergo four rounds of sclerotherapy.

Lymphocele drain bag

Throughout this entire journey, my primary responsibility has been to rest and heal. This raises the question: who took over my usual responsibilities? My parents and in-laws stepped in to help care for our son, and our church generously provided meals for an extended period. However, everything else fell on my wife’s shoulders. She had to manage cooking, cleaning, childcare when no one else was available, attend work, study for her boards, assist me with whatever I needed, and maintain her own well-being. This has undoubtedly been the most challenging trial our marriage has faced, and unfortunately, the immense strain on spouses like her often goes unnoticed and unacknowledged.

Now, as I continue to recover and pray for a cancer-free future, I’m grateful for the unwavering support of my loved ones, the expertise of my medical team, and the resilience of my wife, who has been my rock through it all. Each day is a step forward in this journey towards healing and renewed strength.

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