From Discovery to Diagnosis

This journey has been a bit of a whirlwind. From the discovering something odd to having a diagnosis and treatment plan, it was less than three weeks. Here is how things transpired.

Mid-to-late August

I noticed something odd. It was a little lump that was new. I wasn’t concerned because I figured it would just go away. After a couple weeks, I seemed to be noticing it more frequently. Again, it seemed odd to me. I decided to make a physical appointment that ended up being a week and a half out. That was Monday, August 29th.

Tuesday, August 30

I couldn’t shake the feeling that this might be something more than just a lump. About lunch time, I decided to call the doctor’s office and see if they thought I needed to be seen sooner. After briefly describing my situation and the nurse checking with the doctor, I was told they wanted to see me the next day.

A side note: For whatever reason, at this point I felt like I needed to start recording videos before and/or after appointments. I felt like this was going to be a process and something that I might want to share.

Wednesday, August 31

My doctor was out of the office, so they scheduled me with one of the other doctors in the office. After a brief exam, he ordered an ultrasound the following day. He said there were a couple possibilities of what it could be aside from testicular cancer. From his demeanor and how he talked about it, I thought he seemed concerned that it was cancer.

Thursday, September 1

I had the ultrasound. I think the hardest part was working the rest of the day waiting for the doctor to call with the results. About 4 PM, I got a call. The doctor told me that it wasn’t a cyst and that it was likely cancer. They setup an appointment with a urologist who would help determine the next steps.

Friday, September 2

We met with the urologist. He told us that at this point, they were treating the lump as if it were testicular cancer. Testicular cancer can be pretty aggressive and spread quickly, so he had set aside time the next Thursday for a surgery to remove the mass. Best case scenario would be that it was a benign growth that needed to be removed. If was cancer, it would need the biopsy and pathology to know how to best treat it. Before leaving, I had some blood work done and got an EKG to prepare for surgery.

This whole thing was such a whirlwind. It was all happening so fast and I hadn’t really processed what this might mean. I probably have cancer.

That next week was really hard. All we could do was wait. Trying to not go to worst case scenarios was consuming.

Thursday, September 8

It was surgery day. As I was in the room getting ready for surgery, the doctor came back and talked to us. He also told us that two tumor markers came back elevated. That meant they could confirm it was cancer. It was a bit of a shock to learn that right before surgery. We had assumed we wouldn’t really know until the pathology came back on the mass.

The surgery to remove the mass went well and we went home that evening. The recovery was fairly easy. I was able to go back to work on Tuesday and work a half day. However, we had another long wait. We had to wait until the following Friday to go over the pathology with the urologist.

At this point, we knew it was cancer, but we had no idea what that meant. It could be as simple as further monitoring or it could mean more surgeries and chemotherapy.

Friday, September 16

We meet with the urologist. He went over the pathology of the tumor. It was a non-seminomas tumor, which is the more aggressive of the two primary testicular cancer types. He told us that my specific diagnosis would almost certainly require chemotherapy. The doctor ordered a chest x-ray and CT scan to check and see if the cancer had spread. Also, we were referred to an oncologist who would help us with the next steps.

I was incredibly lucky because I was able to get in and have CT scan and chest x-ray that same day.

Monday, September 19

The oncologist was able to see us Monday morning. He talked through my diagnosis and scans and helped walk through our possible options for treatment. His recommended treatment for me was chemotherapy. After discussing our odds and options, we decided to move forward with chemotherapy.