Tag Archives | TC Treatment

Cancer treatment stories and thoughts


This post is a capstone. I’ve blogged a bit over the last 8 years on my treatment for Testicular Cancer. I was discharged last week after my annual checkup. So assuming nothing else happens this will be my last post on the subject 🙂

Those flanneled fools…

I’ve decided to start playing cricket again this summer. I stopped in 2003 when I had surgery for TC. I did play one game towards the end of 2004 but got side tracked after that. Time to go back. Hoping to get fit enough to work up a reasonable head of steam when bowling from the city end at Stormont

Looking forward to it 🙂

6 years after…

It was 6 years ago today that I had an appointment with a Urologist in the Ulster Hospital to get a check-up for what looked like testicular cancer. It was. Now 6 years later I’m 50% deficient in the bollock department [the other one still works 😉 ] but still here to annoy people. Which is good.

My Leslie Nielsen moment…

I’ve documented my experience with testicular cancer on this site quite extensively over the last 6 years. Best to read this post first. You’ll need to read the posts from the bottom of the page up to get the right order. I consider myself completely cured of the cancer now. 6 years out 🙂

One aspect of the treatment that I alluded to but never wrote about were the visits to the Fertility clinic to bank sperm before radiotherapy, and the visits to the Ultrasound Department to get the testicles (or testicle after the surgery!) scanned.

The fertility clinic visit was funny. In a Leslie Nielsen in “Naked Gun 33⅓” way. I went to the clinic in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. The first shocker during the initial visit was how crowded it was in the waiting room. Literally standing room only for a while. As far as I could see it was all couples undergoing fertility treatment. I’d turned up on my own 😮 It wasn’t even as simple as the changing room being full of couples. The way the reception and waiting room were arranged you couldn’t see the waiting room from the reception window. So I check in. Get told to take a seat in the (very quiet) waiting room. I walk round the curved wall that separated it from the reception, to find the room packed with people. All of them looking at me. I’m sure my face must have looked a picture!

Over time, as I waited couples were called for appointments. At least I got a seat after a while. During the time when the room was emptying I could almost hear the thoughts of the people in the room wondering what a single bloke was doing in the fertility clinic on their own 🙂

When I was called for my appointment I think there was just 5 people left in the room. It started out with about 25 or so. I had my consultation with a female doctor and she outlined how long the sperm would be retained for, how they were stored, what power backup systems they had and stuff. All very interesting. She then passed me over to a male technician. We had a chat and then he gave me a small plastic bottle and directions to The room. I must say that the small circumference of the opening of the bottle wasn’t very helpful for boosting my confidence 😉 The technician told me that there were magazines and videos in the room if I need some inspiration. Giggle.

Of course The Room was up at the end of the corridor. So I had to walk up the corridor carrying the sample bottle. The further up the corridor I got, which was quite busy with people it has to be said, the more obvious it was where I was heading. So I knew and all the others passing and those in side rooms with open doors knew, that I was going into The Room to, not to put to fine a point on it, have a wank into a small bottle!

So I got to The Room. I went in and locked the door behind me. It was a typical sized hospital consulting room with a sink, a hospital trolley bed, a cheap chair and a table with a TV and video player on it. Under the table on a shelf was a couple of storage files with videos and magazines in them. I had a quick look at them. Just to see what they had provided for inspiration 🙂 They were as tacky, both metaphorically and physically as you’d think. I decided I wouldn’t need them.

I won’t go into details (I’ll spare you gentle readers). Suffice it to say I deposited a sample in the bottle. Quite a good sample I thought, that thought would be dashed later, and returned, slightly flushed, to see the technician and give him the bottle. The walk from The Room was the opposite of getting there. This time everyone knew what I had just done! I handed the sample bottle over and after some more admin paperwork was told I was done. I got out of there as fast as possible.

I thought I was done. I was wrong. A few days late the Technician called me on my mobile and told me that the chaps in the sample were healthy and good quality (picture my chest swelling with pride) but (but? there’s a but?), but he was concerned that there wasn’t enough quantity for successful freezing and storage (picture my chest deflating). So he told me I have to come back and provide another sample to top up the previous one. The next day I did. And did the walk to The Room again. At least this time the waiting room was almost empty.

So there it is. My Leslie Nielsen moment. I still have the chaps on ice. Not sure if I’ll ever use them. I’ll write about the Ultrasound Clinic visits later.

An enzyme behind cancer spread found

This is interesting. If blocking this single enzyme does stop cancer metastasis then it’ll be a real breakthrough. AS long as the cancer is found early before it can spread of course. Which is why you need to get anything suspicious checked out as early as possible. False alarms and wasted trips to the doctor are better than the alternative.

Institute of Cancer Research scientists have found that an enzyme called LOX is crucial in promoting metastasis, Cancer Cell journal reports.
Drugs to block this enzyme’s action could keep cancer at bay, they hope.

More info at: BBC NEWS | Health | Enzyme behind cancer spread found

Back on the bike

I’ve started using my exercise bike again. I don’t think I’ve used it for about 10 months. Recently I’ve been feeling overweight and just generally not as fit as I usually do. I’ve also had a more or less continuous pain in my side (near the incision scar from my TC operation) since last January. I think I did a mischief to myself last year between Christmas and New Year when I went to Ikea Belfast to get some new drawer units. The ones I bought had warnings all over the flat packaging that they should be handled by 2 people. I picked them from the warehouse on my own and also loaded them into my car and house by myself. I was in a hurry. It may have been a mistake. In the 2nd week on January I was at the BETT show helping set-up and staff the stand for the company I work for. I had to take it very easy when helping move stuff onto the stand. The next week 3 of us flew to Macworld in San Francisco. I had to get a colleague to lift my case from the carousel for me in SFO. I thought it was just a pulled muscle and it would heal up after a few weeks. But it didn’t. I started thinking it was a mild hernia of some description. I went to see my GP in June and he gave me ibuprofen gel to use on the area. I did this for a month but it didn’t make any difference. If anything it’s been worse recently as I’ve been lugging servers about in work as part of a new VMware based system I’m deploying. I went back to my GP but the upshot of that was to continue with the gel and either get my yearly TC check-up brought forward or wait until November and get them to do a scan. I decided to wait. I also decided to do some exercise and eat more healthy food to boost my general fitness. So I bought a pair of scales to see how much I weigh. I know from when I played cricket that 80kg (12.5 stone) is the weight that I feel healthiest at (I’m 6’2′ ish in height). Rather worryingly the new scales give a different reading depending on where they are. In the place where I will always use them they are reporting that I’m currently about 86.6kg (13.6 stone). So about about 6.6kg (1 stone) above my optimal weight.

I’ve been exercising on the bike for a hour a day for the last 3 days. Unsurprisingly it does give you a lift. I think I’m inherently fit. I always have been generally fit so I get an instant payoff from exercise. In the 24 hours after the 1st day using the bike I noticed that the pain in my side was a lot less than it had been. In the 3 days since it has remained a lot less painful. It’s still tight and tender to the touch but it’s not the constant pain that it was before. Could it have been an internal hernia of some description that popped back to where it should be during the 1st hour on the bike? Here’s hoping, but time will tell. I’m putting a pile of Dell, HP and Apple servers into a rack tomorrow in work. Lots up lifting (carefully!) and crouching, bending during that. Be interesting to see how it reacts.

UPDATE on 30th August: The pain in my side is definitely better. It’s still tight and tender to a vigourous poke, but it’s not the pain I’ve had for the last 8 months. I’m so happy. That was starting to worry me a bit.