Testicular Cancer Survivor
In December of 1995, I somehow came into possession of an American Cancer Society brochure that described the symptoms of testicular cancer and the importance of self examination. Before that time, I had no personal connection with the Society or with the services that it offered.
In early January of 1996, I was showering and detected a small pea-like nodule on one of my testicles. I recalled the information that was described in the flyer that I had read only a few weeks earlier. Although I felt great and exhibited absolutely no adverse symptoms, I scheduled an appointment with my physician the next day. Thinking that it was nothing, I didn't even tell my wife that I was going for an examination. My doctor immediately referred me to an urologist, and I was scheduled for surgery that was performed less than 48 hours later.
When I was informed that the small mass was cancerous, my life was changed forever! The uncertainty of what was going to happen in the future made the next few months seem like years. After surgery, I went through a regimentation of seemingly endless tests and radiation therapies.
Not only does cancer affect you physically, but it takes an emotional toll as well. During this time, I experiences bouts of depression, anxiety, impatience, and helplessness. In an effort to ward off these negative emotions, I began to volunteer for the Society's Relay For Life. I quickly saw that volunteering provided me with an opportunity to channel my energy in a positive manner.
Over the next few years, I was privileged to expand my commitment by serving in a number of roles at the local, state, and national levels. I learned the importance of advocacy and how vital it is that our legislators at all levels of government hear our voices. If we are to find a cure for this dreadful disease, we must let our legislators know that we expect their support of cancer-related initiatives.
I am thankful for my experience with cancer because it has changed my priorities dramatically. At first, I thought my life was over, but an unknown author expressed it best that the impact of cancer on my life is limited:
It cannot cripple Love
It cannot shatter Hope
It cannot corrode Faith
It cannot destroy Peace
It cannot kill Friendship
It cannot suppress Memories
It cannot silence Courage
It cannot invade the Soul
It cannot steal Eternal Life
It cannot conquer the Spirit
I truly believe that I am one of the luckiest people on earth because I have had the opportunity to benefit from what could have been a devastating set of circumstances and turn it into a mission to help find a cure.