Neight’s Cancer Journey: Chapter 2 – The Diagnosis

I met with my new oncologists, Dr. Basset and Dr. Lao for the first time and they confirmed that the tumor was in fact cancer. They’re calling it a mixed germ cell tumor that consists of three different types of cancer cells; 5% classic seminoma, 20% embryonal carcinoma and 75% yolk sac tumor. In addition, they found trace amounts of the cancer cells in the base of the spermatic tube which is basically the highway for it to spread outside of the infected testicle. At diagnosis, they labeled my cancer stage 1-b, meaning that there is no evidence that it had spread outside of the testis proper, but they wanted me to take additional imaging tests and recommended that I do at least 2 cycles of chemotherapy as a safety precaution. They said that there’s a 40% chance that I’d beaten the cancer just with the surgery alone, but there’s also still that 60% chance that I haven’t. So now it’s time for me to make some decisions.

I knew chemo was something that I wanted to avoid if possible because of the long term side-effects that they warned me about; possible lung and kidney malfunction, loss of feeling in my fingertips and toes, ringing in the ears, etc… In my heart, chemo isn’t what I want to do if I can avoid it, I’d rather build my immune system up, not destroy it. But of course I have to do what’s best for my family and me staying alive is what’s best for my family. In the meantime of making any final chemo decisions, I decided to at least move forward and monitor my status to see if anything changes and/or develops. My doctor put in orders for me to get my blood tumor markers tested and to get imaging through a CT scan.

I went on got all my tests done and it appears that my tumor markers in my blood are going down closer to normal range, but the CT scan is showing new nodules in my lungs that are 2.3cm in size. The nodules are of some serious concern as the doctor is now saying that the cancer has metastasized and will now need to undergo 4 cycles of BEP chemotherapy. They are making if feel urgent like I’m going to die if I don’t do this ASAP and I don’t have any other chance of beating this without chemotherapy. They are putting me in the stage 3 conversation now, but they couldn’t confirm that the nodules in my lungs were in fact cancerous, so I resisted and remained hesitant, because I wanted to do more research and better understand my options. There is never only one solution to a problem, why is it that there’s only one solution here? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

Getting this cancer diagnosis, I found myself in a feeling of inescapable shock. My life is flashing before my eyes and suddenly I’m full of questions that I can’t seem to get answered. I don’t know who to trust in the medical field because I know cancer is big business for the pharmaceutical companies and those are the same companies that are giving my doctors all of their research and case studies, not to mention bonuses for selling chemo drugs.

My next step will be to do more research on this and to make a decision quickly for the direction that I’m going to go with my treatments. I’ll be back next Thursday to report to you where I’m at and to fill you in as my cancer journey continues to unfold.

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