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Interview 23

Age at interview: 21
Age at diagnosis: 21
Brief Outline: Testicular cancer (teratoma) diagnosed in 2001; orchidectomy. No evidence of secondary tumours; no more treatment but regular monitoring (surveillance).
Background: IT engineer; single, no children.

More about me...

 

Recalls that he found the Cancerbackup's website very helpful.

Recalls that he found the Cancerbackup's website very helpful.

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Didn't know much about it [CT scans], so myself and my girlfriend went on the internet. Cancerbackup website which was very helpful. It explained diagrams, pictures, what CT scans were, what would take place, so that was very helpful, printed all that off. Printed a lot of things off just to give to my Mum more than anything. She was very, very worried, she didn't know anything. I didn't know anything, no one knew anything and we needed something to look at and say right, that's going to happen, that could happen, and just a structure of what was going to happen really.

So they hadn't given you any information leaflets at the hospital?

No absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing. All that came through was just letters and appointments, no leaflets.

Did you find any other websites that were useful?

No we just stuck to one, the Cancerbackup, which you know for what I needed to know it was ideal.
 

Describes his reaction when he was told he would have to wait over two weeks for CT scan results.

Describes his reaction when he was told he would have to wait over two weeks for CT scan results.

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So I had the CT scan on 21st August, I was having to wait until 10th September to find out my results. And that was it; I'd completely had enough by then. 

They had left me, they were going to leave me until September 10th mulling over in my mind, what happens if I have to have chemotherapy, oh God that means that, that means, again they hadn't told me. So obviously got the letter at half past 8 in the morning, sat there and sat there and I thought no this has got to end. Rang work, as I've got BUPA cover, they told me that that I'd have to pay '100 excess for my treatment. My Dad straight away said "Don't worry about that, that's not a problem I'll pay that." So that was a relief. So I rang up BUPA and said, "Is this doctor registered?" they said "Yes," they said "here's a reference number, ring back the secretary. Tell her that you want an appointment, a private appointment." 

So I sat in there [at the hospital], waited and waited, the nurse came through. This is one thing that upset me the most, not, I didn't burst into tears, but the way the nurse just said "Oh the doctor has just nipped over the other side to get the results of your CT scan." And I'm thinking what's the September 10th, why were they going to wait, let me you know wait that long. If it's taken him 5 minutes to walk and get the results of a CT scan. And he's come in, sat down "Please to meet you." Just sat there "You'll be pleased to know that the cancer hasn't spread." So I'm like nothing else mattered then, he could've told me that my house was on fire and I wouldn't have cared (laughs). I was sat there stunned, I was just relieved and it was just all rolled into one.
 

Recalls that he expected only to have the lump removed and was shocked to discover he was having...

Recalls that he expected only to have the lump removed and was shocked to discover he was having...

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The doctor came round, marked on my left thigh what testicle it was you know that they were going to be operating on. Then a consultant came in, he said that did I know what the operation entailed? I said, "Yes removing the lump." He said, "A radical orchidectomy," I said "No removing the lump," he said "Yeah." 

My girlfriend commented on the look on my face, when he used radical I knew that it wasn't probably just going to be removing the lump. So then my doctor came round with a consent form and said, 'Did I have any questions before I signed it?' I said "Yeah one big question that's burning inside me what are you actually going to do?" He said, "We're removing the testicle." And I just looked at him in amazement. 

And I remembered back to the Monday that I was told that I was going to have the operation and I remember his exact words "We are going to remove the lump." At no point did he say that we are going to remove the testicle. So I sat there in amazement. I signed the form. I wasn't going to go back. I knew that it was the best thing for me. He said that operating on a testicle with a lump on it, if it was cancerous that would encourage the cancer to spread. So I then went on to ask him if it was cancer what would then be the procedure. He said that I'd be asked back in for a CT scan and then obviously further treatment if required. So again I just, it all came to me, it was three hours till the operation and they tell me this. It was not good timing.
 
 

Explains that he developed a stitch abscess after his operation.

Explains that he developed a stitch abscess after his operation.

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My first check up was 2nd November. The doctor came in, said, how am I feeling, yeah fine, had I been playing any sport? I said I'd been doing a little bit, I'd been playing football, I'd played cricket, but I had been to the nurse. The scar had become a little bit uncomfortable. I had large spots, very pussy, full of blood, I was quite worried about them. I just put my hand there one day and I thought, 'Oh'. Because as soon as the pubic hair grows back you can't really investigate thoroughly what is there. And I popped it, and 'Oh', blood all up my arm, it was not very nice. So rang the nurse at the local surgery, said, could she come and have a look, would she have a look. She said, "Oh I can see a little bit of a stitch," you know there was a little bit of the stitch. And they say that the thick white ones are the deep down stitches that they put in that should just dissolve but sometimes they work their way up to the top and they call it a stitch abscess which was causing me a little bit of discomfort. 
 

Says that he was not offered a false testicle when he had the orchidectomy and that men should be...

Says that he was not offered a false testicle when he had the orchidectomy and that men should be...

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Perhaps one thing I should mention I was never offered an artificial testicle.

I was going to ask you about that.

Never, no mention, absolutely nothing. I've been asked so many times by people "Oh I guess you had an artificial one put in." No mention, no, never got asked. Which people were so stunned about. They're like, "You are joking?" and I'm like "No."

Would you consider having that done now if you were offered one?

No. Again as I said I'm not ashamed of it, it doesn't bother me one little bit, you can't hardly tell to look at it. It doesn't, you know obviously if people want to stare at my, you know, my private parts, then obviously that's their problem, in the showers and things, but you know (laughs) if someone said to me "Oh you've only got one," I'd say, "Well what you looking for?" you know that would my obvious reply to them. But it doesn't bother me. But again would people, should people be asked? I guess so, they should be asked if they want to have an artificial one put in. 
 

Recalls that the doctor explained about the regular check-ups that would be necessary.

Recalls that the doctor explained about the regular check-ups that would be necessary.

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He explained that I would be sent in for regular check-ups, blood tests every 2 months and then there'd be CT scans every 6 months for 3 years, which pleased me. I thought finally I'm getting, you know, treated with a little bit, a little bit more concern rather than just not telling me what's going on. I decided to stay private which obviously if I hadn't had the cover then probably not, through work, but if it's there I may as well use it. So that was 24th August I found out that I had the all clear, rang as many people as I could find in my phone book, just rang everyone, everyone was so pleased.
 

Recalls that his boss was very supportive even though he had only just started a new job.

Recalls that his boss was very supportive even though he had only just started a new job.

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Work were fantastic about it, I'd only been made permanent a month before and I had to go off, which they're only supposed to pay, they're not even supposed to pay sick pay when you're doing your probation period anyway, which is 3 months, but they did give it me anyway. I think it would've been a little bit harsh to be fair if they hadn't paid me for what you know I was off for.

Were you worried about work?

Yeah I was worried that I was going to lose my job. I know it's silly. I look back now and the people I work with, my boss was superb; my boss above him was superb. They were fantastic; I'd keep in touch just to let them know what was happening. Each step you know I've been through with you today I would let them know what was happening so they were up to date. 
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