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Joe found Trekstock after his testicular cancer diagnosis. Then he found community.


I didn’t know I had cancer for a week. I had a testicle that suddenly grew into a mini grapefruit, making it uncomfortable to walk or sit. Nobody knew what it was but it was freakish enough to warrant an ultrasound. An out of hours local GP sent me straight to A&E. First, it was thought to be epididymo-orchitis & I was sent on my way with antibiotics & a request to come back for a rescan the next week. Then my actual GP called me in for a checkup & said it was hydrocele. There wasn’t any inclination that something might be amiss. I had read up on possible causes for the issue & knew cancer was up there but in my own head, it had been ruled out.

A week later I went for the second ultrasound. The sonographers said nothing, but this was much more serious than before. There was a lot more prodding & investigating. Eventually back in A&E the doctor finally confirmed that it was testicular cancer. There was no chat about good or bad. Just the news that the testicle is a tumour & you need to cut it out. It’s harsh. Before you know it you’re being walked through the freezing semen option that comes very strongly recommended.  Dates are being taken all over the place & blood is being requested from nowhere. Your whole mind is numb trying to process every possible outcome because of this & what life will be like as a cancer survivor with one testicle. Have I left things too late in life & so on.

Before you know it’s orchidectomy surgery time & talk of prosthetics comes up. Yet more to ponder that you couldn’t make up! In my case, the wound took a month to heal. You feel so sore & immobile for it. Driving is a painful challenge. It was all a blur after this as you sit wondering what the histology of your removed cancerous ball is going to say. For me, the consultant I saw was straight to the point in confirming it was cancer that spread. He kept calling out codes like PT3 & N1 which I looked up online.

Eventually I started chemo. A new innovative one called carboplatin. It only takes 1.5 hours and hair loss is highly unlikely. I felt lucky to be in the bracket to get this pioneering new treatment option. But because it’s so fast, I ended up sitting in the waiting room for hours and hours – it’s a horrid waiting game. I wish the NHS was more like a restaurant where a buzzer would tell you when your bed is available and you can wait elsewhere in the meantime.  


It was a big relief to have had my CT in Jan and then I was told that all was well the following month. I have wanted to find my new normal ever since. I think I’m getting there but there’s still some thinking back to where I was a year ago. Hopefully the monkey falls off the back soon.

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