I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 33 and thought my life was over, but today I’m an 8 year survivor of the disease, and at the age of 41 I’m not even a young adult anymore. Times change, perspectives change, we all grow and evolve not just as cancer survivors but in life itself. At this point I just don’t give a (bleep) about cancer anymore. Here’s why.
My youngest turning 10 has been an unexpectedly big deal for me in my cancer survivor life, and it’s as though some massive box that I never knew about has suddenly been checked. My biggest fears about cancer were never dying or a life not lived, but rather not being around for my family and my children. They still have a lot of growing up to do, but with both now 10 or over, they’ll never be able to say that they never knew their father, and that’s a great moment for me.
At 7 years out, I'm very lucky and blessed that I don't really have to think about cancer too much anymore. There's no reason that I have to, and I don't. Testicular Cancer is a cancer that you fight like hell and either beat completely within a few months or a year, or it very quickly takes you with it, and I’m still here. My cancer fight seems like ancient history at this point - a tiny spec in the rear view mirror, and life has moved on.
As a newly minted 40 year old young adult cancer survivor, I've spent much of my 30's heavily engaged with testicular cancer advocacy, but there's other things I've aspired to do in my arc through life. If my life before cancer was my first act, and my life after cancer from the ages of 33 to 39 has been a second, then let this new decade of my 40's become my third. A new era in my life begins today.
I have 4 draft Facebook page posts, and a half dozen draft blogs on my website just trying to capture all of the thoughts running through my head, and I've finally gotten a handle on what's been going on with this crazy Scorpio mind of mine, as I approach 40 as a young adult cancer survivor. As I approach this huge milestone, I'm remembering all of those times that I was so spooked and convinced that this day would never come and missing out on so many life experiences, but at the same time I'm also remembering how I made it through those times, how I overcame it all, and all of the amazing people that I found or who found me along the way that were able to help me in this journey, and such deep love and gratitude that I feel for so many.
Dr. Einhorn, or "Dr E" as he's affectionately referred to within the TC community, is a man who needs no introduction. Many of us would not even be here were it not for Dr. Einhorn's pioneering work in the 1970's that led to a once in a generation leap in the oncology field, and the cures for many cancers including Testicular Cancer.
At the Testicular Cancer Summit, we will have not one but two amazing testicular cancer doctors on hand to answer your questions in two hour-long "Ask the Oncologists Anything Q&A" breakout sessions, Dr Phil Pierorazio of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Dr Clint Cary of Indiana University! You've already been introduced to Dr Pierorazio, but here's a bit about Dr Clint Cary!
I am an urologist at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland and a passionate advocate for our testicular cancer patients. I am a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guidelines Committee for Testicular Cancer and considered among the experts in robotic and open retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. There is no cancer like testicular cancer, it affects young men and because of the high cure rate, can have lasting effects for decades after successful treatment. For those reasons and more, there is no patient population like testicular cancer survivors – and there is no more rewarding group for whom to care.
The Testicular Cancer Summit is pleased to have Emily Cox-Martin, PhD as a panelist! "I am a Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Working in the field of Psycho-Oncology, I help patients improve coping and adjustment around their diagnosis. I focus on the difficulties that emerge at the intersection of cancer and mental health across the cancer continuum, from diagnosis into survivorship.
I am excited to have the opportunity to be a guest speaker at the Testicular Cancer Summit but more importantly, for the opportunity to meet so many other survivors and caregivers face to face and learn of your experiences. Whether we are a survivor, caregiver or healthcare professional we have each traveled a unique path to where we are today. I look forward to being able to share ways that we can continue to move forward and get back to living life. After our experiences, life may never be the same as it was before we were affected, but I hope that we can all find ways to embrace the “new normal.” I look forward to seeing you all in Denver.
Fantesticle news - Guest speaker at the Testicular Cancer Summit! Being a cancer survivor we all of have story to tell. I like to focus on something “different”. I’m looking forward to share the challenges of a testicular cancer mission in South Africa where besides cancer and its horrible side-effects people have to deal with: no or limited access to clinics and doctors, language barriers, witchcraft, cultural taboos, stigma, rejection, lack of funds, lack of medication and lack of knowledge to name but a few.
The Jaimeson Jones Memorial Scholarship has two missions: Providing scholarships to families who have experienced childhood cancer, and preaching early detection of TC by teaching its signs and symptoms. JJMS is dedicated to changing the culture of silence about men’s health and heightening people’s awareness about testicular cancer, and to do that, we get them where they live: with humor. We are beyond honored and thrilled to be attending the first-ever Testicular Cancer Summit.
Jason is looking forward to the Testicular Cancer Summit because it is a great way for all members of the Testicular Cancer community to come together and interact. He will be able to share his story with others, but also learn from other Testicular Cancer survivors as well! There will be survivors from all over the world and many Testicular Cancer foundations, as well as world renowned doctors who specialize in the treatment of Testicular Cancer. With all these elements and this being the first event of its kind anywhere in the world, the event is sure to be a major success! Jason will be speaking about his cancer journey as a student in high school and the impact it had on his life. He will also be discussing what young men can do to be more active about Testicular Cancer awareness in their own communities.
After being diagnosed with stage 3 Testicular Cancer that spread to my lymph nodes (because I put off going to the doctor), I got inspired. Two years ago, I created a campaign that received worldwide attention - I pushed a giant inflatable testicle across 2 countries and over 8,000 miles to raise awareness for this cancer. Yes, you heard that right, a giant NUT!
It’s coming this Fall 2017! Mark your calendars for October 13-15th in Denver, Colorado for a first of its kind Testicular Cancer Summit, featuring Dr. Lawrence Einhorn as an honorary guest speaker!If you’ve been wondering what’s going on and what this is all about, here are the Top 5 things you need to know about the Testicular Cancer Summit.
Six years after my cancer fight, I still GRIEVE the loss of my life as I once knew it sometimes, thinking that everything would always be okay, that my family would always be healthy, and friends that I truly love and care about will always be around. I want to believe that, but know it's just now how things work. Why do I get so sappy and emotional? Because I love you, and I want you to know that now, today, because I know that you might not be around tomorrow, or maybe I'm the one that might not be around.