For the past four years, a coworker and I took on the responsibility as organizers and ambassadors for the annual Movember “Best Moustache” competition and fundraising event in our office. In November 2016, the cause took on a whole new meaning.
I’ll be honest, the initial reason I was drawn to the Movember Foundation in 2014 was because my pals and I had a reason to walk around for a month with a funny moustache on our faces. But, once I learned about the, “cause behind the Mo,” I was compelled to get more involved for the global men’s health organization that raises funds and awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. For the past four years, a coworker and I took on the responsibility as organizers and ambassadors for the annual Movember “Best Moustache” competition and fundraising event in our office. In November 2016, the cause took on a whole new meaning.
On Sunday Nov. 13, after a fun day jet skiing in Carlsbad, CA, I noticed something was a little different downstairs. Rather than doing nothing, or hoping it was a temporary jet skiing injury, I did the opposite, and took action. I truly believe Movember made its lasting impact on me that day. Because I was involved with the cause, and Movember taught me about the truths of testicular cancer — and my girlfriend at the time studied medicine and was always very adamant about me going to the doctor – I immediately scheduled an appointment the next day. I’m so thankful that I did because within two weeks, I was under the knife and losing an important part of my manhood to testicular cancer. Later, I would undergo two rounds of chemotherapy.
It all happened incredibly fast, and it didn’t make any sense at the time. I take pride in my healthy and active lifestyle. I played minor league professional soccer, competed and finished in a full Ironman triathlon, I eat a healthy and balanced diet (aside from the occasional In & Out Double Double, animal style of course), and I was only 27 at the time. How could I get cancer? I experienced many different emotions and questioned myself throughout the treatment process. Will the cancer spread and force me to undergo more rigorous chemotherapy and radiation therapy? Will I be able to have children? Will I be able to produce the same levels of testosterone? Will I be less of a man? Do I tell people or “be a man” and tough it out?
Fast forward a year and a few months, and it all feels like a distant memory. Fortunately, our bodies were designed to have two of just about everything — a little backup never hurt! I am the same man I was before (a little lopsided, yes) but nonetheless still a man. I ran a half marathon exactly a month after my last round of chemo, I picked up a healthy addiction to CrossFit, and my voice dropped an octave deeper! (no it didn’t haha!) Testicular cancer can be mild compared to other cancers; especially when detected early there is a 95 percent survival rate. But it’s real, and it happened to me.
If there is anything I’ve learned from this experience that can benefit others, it is this: (1) To all men, Know Thy Nuts! The biggest compliment I got from my doctors was how fast I told them. Early detection is KEY. It never hurts to be too cautious in this case. (2) If you get testicular cancer, you are not alone brother. And you are no less of a man now than you were before. Listen to your doctor, go through the proper steps to eliminate the disease, and move on with your life as a stronger individual from having endured and beaten cancer.