Thursday, October 22, 2009

Here we are...

My intention in creating this blog is not to embarrass my brother or to publish personal and private details of his ride on the roller coaster they call testicular cancer, but instead I want to create a step by step account of what this has been like and will continue to be like all the way to the end of chemotherapy. Obviously, nothing written is meant to replace the diagnosis/opinion of a medical doctor. I am just a sister with brother who has TC.

When we first received the cancer diagnosis I made a 'b' line across the room for my trusted friend, Google. I snapped open my laptop and started googling like a maniac. Any term or search word I could think of. See, when I am faced with adversity or I find myself in uncharted territories (whether it be cancer or how to fix a broken shower head) I arm myself with knowledge and facts and for some reason that makes me feel better. Like understanding what may or may not happen in the coming months, and how it may or may not directly or indirectly effect me... Yeah... But, whatever works- right?

I started googling "testicular cancer" and got page after page of random articles and studies written by Oncologists and Urologists alike. Most of them in a big fancy language my musical theatre degree could not begin to translate! Eventually I found the Testicular Cancer Research Center's website (  and was completely blown away at how amazingly helpful all of the information was. A close second favorite was the Live Strong website( Lots of treatment articles, patient stories and helpful tips regarding diet, expectations, etc.

All of this was great but as the days drug on (which I will come back to!) I yearned for a website that walked me through the process- step by step. I needed to know what was next. What had others been though at this stage in their diagnosis? What was the hardest part? What could I do to help? Since I wasn't the one receiving the diagnosis I had no idea how to be a helper without getting in the way. How to be supportive without being annoying. I found very little in the way of what to expect as a family member of someone just diagnosed with testicular cancer so I decided that as I go through this process I will blog for anyone who may stumble upon it someday, in the hopes that even for just a moment I will be able to provide some comfort, some calm, some direction for what is about to happen.

I will start by saying that my brother is a very healthy, very smart, hilariously funny and quite charming 24 year old man. He just started his 2nd year of law school and I am fortunate enough to have him living very close to me now because of that! We are very close and always have been so hearing the diagnosis was especially difficult. He first noticed a small lump in his testicle mid July, 2009. Being a young man he figured it was nothing and left it alone...until it started to grow. It continued to get larger and he didn't tell any of us ( his family)- but he did mention it to his very sweet close friend, Amy, who insisted he get to the doctor. Finally, he made an appointment with a general practitioner the beginning of September. This doctor saw Casey and sent him to get an ultrasound. Now, at this point Casey still had not told any of us about all of this- so when the doctor told him that the soonest he could get in to get an ultrasound was 2 weeks, Casey just accepted it. Let me pause here and say THIS IS RIDICULOUS! Under no circumstances should you have to wait 2 weeks for an ultrasound! But, because I didn't even know this was happening, I wasn't there to raise hell and say "absolutely unacceptable, try again and this time it better be a lot sooner!" So....2 weeks go by and finally Casey gets in for the ultrasound. The doc confirms that it is a "testicular mass" (benign or malignant was unknown at this point) and tells Casey to make an appointment with a Urologist. Before taking the next step, Casey called us and filled us in on what was going on. We were completely frightened, surprised, confused (this kind of thing doesn't happen to young men!! Wrong. Testicular Cancer is the most common cancer in men between ages 15 and 35!) and of course, concerned. The next step was finding a Urologist, and that deserves a post of it's own!

No comments:

Post a Comment