Testicular Cancer (First Primary Cancer in 2019)In April 2019, everything got started. I was experiencing pain, so I decided to go to my doctor for a check-up. He sent me to get an ultrasound and then later that day he told me I had testicular cancer. It was a little over three centimenter mass. It was a stage 1 seminoma. By the following Thursday, I was having surgery to have the tumor removed. That was quick!
Fun Fact: If I did my math right (it's always highly suspect), the odds of a man getting testicular cancer in a given year in the United States is somewhere around 1 in 16,000 (I'm not gonna cite my source, just know it's very scholarly... Google.com)
Thyroid Cancer (Second Primary Cancer in 2019)
During the whole lead up to surgery for the testicular cancer I had to have a CAT scan of my torso. Praise God, it just got my thyroid at the top of the scan. They could see "nodules" on my thyroid (I put that in scare quotes because apparently, doctors use that word when what they actually mean is, "There is a mass there that we are ignorant about what it actually is and we don't want to scare you." You have been warned.). After the first surgery, and after seeing my oncologist for the first cancer, my doctor suggested I have the nodules looked at.
I had to go through a procedure called a Fine Needle Biopsy. That's where they anesthetize the area locally. Then they take a needle and get all stabby-stabby on the nodule (It's all guided by ultrasound, so it's not quite as crazy as I made it sound). Because they figured the results would be inconclusive, they took extra samples. It came back with a result of a 50% likelihood of cancer. So, they ordered surgery and removed the left lobe of my thyroid.
I was fairly certain that it was just a nodule. After all, how could I have two primary cancers? I was wrong. Pathology came back with the result that the nodule was a little over 2 centimeters and a form of cancer.
So now I will be going back for a third surgery this year, toward the end of September, to have the other half of my thyroid removed. It turns out, it has several millimeter-sized nodules too. It all has to go to treat thyroid cancer. Sometime after the surgery, I'm told I will have to undergo a radioactive iodine treatment (you swallow a radioactive pill, hope for superpowers, and don't hug anyone for a couple of days because you're radioactive). Then, the course of treatment is simply watching and waiting.
Fun Fact: Thyroid cancer in men in the United States in a given year has the odds of around 1 in 10,000. Put these two odds together and there should be, according to my math, one other guy in the US in 2019 dealing with the same situation I am. We should start a club. It will be pretty exclusive. We can limp to meetings together and then talk to each other in a hoarse voice.
The good news in all of this is that these are two of the most treatable cancers in the known universe. They both have very high five-year survival rates; approaching 100%. This all just makes for a stinky year.