E-mail Scott
Scott's Links
About the Author
Opinion Archives
Social Media:
Google Plus
Monthly Archives:

January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017

Powered by Blogger
Subscribe via RSS

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Testicular cancer: Twenty years later

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 10:00 AM (#)

It was twenty years ago today that I walked into Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne to have an inguinal orchiectomy to remove my left testicle. It was a scary time, even though I knew that I probably would not die from the cancer: It was caught in Stage 1 and had not spread, so the surgery got it all. I was not even in much pain after the surgery. I only took a few of the prescription painkillers I was given.

The key here is I am not a tough guy by any means. I have quite possibly the world's lowest pain tolerance, so when I say something does not hurt, it really does not hurt.

Even though I had a fairly easy time, surviving cancer will always be a major part of my life. At twenty three years old, I looked directly at death. A cousin I adored had died just a year and a half earlier from cancer, so I understood my mortality and how quickly things could go badly. Most importantly, it reminded me that the Bible is right in James 4:13-15. Life really is a vapor. You are here a little while and then you are gone. Furthermore, God tells us in Proverbs that those who spare the rod hate their children. This is because as our loving Father, God brings suffering into our lives to discipline us. (See Hebrews 12:5-8.)

I remember sitting in class the Friday before Spring Break, knowing that I likely had testicular cancer and worrying about the next week. I don't remember anything that was said, though I do remember feeling isolated as I looked around the room. I went to the doctor on Monday and a specialist on Wednesday. The specialist suggested surgery the next day or on Friday, and I chose Friday. I needed an extra day to process and mentally prepare myself for the surgery - which as I stated above was not all that bad.

The next few weeks were a blur. I had to drop out of college, though I knew I would be back in August. I spoke with my friends in the College Republicans and let them know I would not be back until August, and lost the spring semester and the work I had done up to that point. I completely forgot to tell my dormitory, so my resident assistant was shocked when I told him why I was moving out. That was definitely a bone-headed move on my part. I normally work during the summer, but not in 1997. I went on to gain thirty pounds that summer as I sat around the house in between doctor appointments.

There was a bit of a blip in the weeks following the surgery. The biopsy of the tumor found only seminoma cancer cells, but the alpha-fetoprotein levels in my blood were elevated. By the time this was discovered, too much time had passed for a second blood test (which found no elevated AFP levels) to be useful. Therefore, the elevated levels presented three possibilities: Either it was a false positive, or there were non-seminoma cells in the tumor, or I was pregnant.

We ruled out the third option pretty quickly, so my treatment plan needed to change. Instead of radiation treatments, I would be in surveillance for five years. I was pronounced cancer-free in 2002.

Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in men between fifteen and thirty-five years old, but survival rates are very high when caught early. Men should be doing a monthly testicular self-examination to check for irregularities. If you find a lump or if you notice a size difference, go to the doctor. Procrastination is like playing Russian roulette when dealing with cancer.

Below are the rules for commenting on ConservaTibbs.com.

  1. A reasonable level of civility is expected. While it is expected that controversial political and social issues may generate heated debate, there are common-sense limits of civility that will be enforced.

  2. This blog is a family-friendly site. Therefore no cursing, profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, etc. will be allowed. This is a zero-tolerance rule and will result in automatic deletion of the offending post.

  3. Anonymity has greatly coarsened discourse on the Internet, so pseudonyms are discouraged but not forbidden. That said, any direct criticism of a person by name may not be done anonymously. If you criticize someone, you must subject yourself to the same level of scrutiny or the comment will be deleted.

  4. You must put a name or pseudonym on your comments. All comments by "Anonymous" will be deleted.

  5. Please keep your comments relevant to the topic of the post.

Thank you for your cooperation.