1. Tell us a brief overview of your background?
I’m 26 years of age, I’ve spent the last few years working as a web developer. Late 2014 my left testicle suddenly became very swollen and painful. After a few clinic visits I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, something I found very hard to process at the time.
Telling my mother I had cancer was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I was admitted to emergency surgery at Groote Schuur hospital, I was there just for a second opinion.
The tumor was removed early the following morning, but the cancer was aggressive and there was some spread throughout my body.
I spent the first few months of 2015 in and out of hospital receiving treatment, during this time I lost my new job, moved house and gained and lost a girlfriend.
2. What were some concerns you, as a testicular cancer survivor had?
Some of the concerns I’ve had as a testicular cancer survivor would be losing my other testicle; the possible recurrence of my cancer had kept me up at night on numerous occasions.
Contacting a secondary cancer or developing some later life health problems due to my treatment has also troubled me and there have been times where this has affected me and those close to me.
There are concerns that might always be sitting in the back of my mind, but I know the risk of any of that happening is very low. If my fears are ever realized, I know I’ll have the support of my family and friends once again.
3. Did you find that a permanent physical change, is a constant reminder that at times your life is different? How did you address this?
I, surprisingly, became use to the physical change quickly once the bandages had been removed. My life has, for the most part, returned to normal but when I notice the scar or feel the occasional light pain it reminds me of what I went through a year ago.
It’s not a painful reminder, and it serves to boost me in my low moments. I made it through cancer and chemo, I can probably survive pretty much anything else now.
4. For many men, testicles are symbolic of manhood and the removal of one can lead to embarrassment or fear about a partner’s reaction. Do you find that men are open to asking for help after treatment to address this?
At first I did find it embarrassing; and I was worried about how my partner at the time (or any future partners) might react to it, but it didn’t take me long to get over my missing testicle.
I now make jokes about my lack of a left-one; it makes a great ice breaker. I can’t say if other men are more open to address this after treatment, I found that I was and it was something I had never considered before.
While testicles are defiantly a male trait; I don’t believe they symbolism manhood, one’s actions and maturity do but I still have a lot to learn before I really understand manhood.
5. Tell our readers something interesting about yourself?
It’s possible that I own one of the largest collection of Transformer figures in the Western Cape (Don’t hold me to this though) and a friend and I once did a nine hour trek on a 125cc scooter.
I would just like to thank, again, everyone who supported me during this time and the staff at Groote Schuur hospital who attended to me.
To those who came through to visit me on my loneliest days to everyone else that checked up on me now and then and to my partner at the time, I will always be grateful for your amazing support.