Archive for the ‘testicular cancer’ Category

Twins

Hi Folks. It has been a long time since I’ve updated you here. Big positive news on my end. My wife and I went through fertility treatment i.e., in vitro fertilization (IVF) over the last few months, and now have twins on the way! If you’re interested in learning more about the IVF process, take a look at Jess’ blog at: http://jessicastetson.blogspot.com

UltrasoundJack and Bruno

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CT or not to CT, ask your oncologist the question

Researchers at UC Davis published findings last week that linked CT scans with an increased risk of secondary cancers in men with stage one testicular cancer. While this may sound alarming, we need to pause for a moment and realize that CT scans play an important role in diagnosis and surveillance. That being said, this should be a topic of conversation with your oncologist, and it will be with mine in June.

Severe Oligospermia

I received news from my primary care physician regarding my fertility lab results. Not good, but somewhat expected. I’ve got severe oligospermia, which means having kids the good old-fashioned way isn’t going to happen. The normal counts are 20 million per milliliter. I’m at 700,000 per milliliter. Prior to chemo, the sperm bank stated that my counts were low, but I can’t recall what the numbers were. The good news is that there still is an option available, it is called Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). That means a test-tube baby (e.g., one sperm, one egg, fertilized outside the womb). Jess and I are going to find out more information about this. I imagine our insurance company will have an elaborate vetting process for such an expensive procedure.

Another three months in the clear

I went in to Dana-Farber for a 3-month checkup today. First, the new Yawkey Center is amazing. The interior of the building resembles more of a modern hotel than a hospital. The waiting areas are extremely open yet still quiet and comfortable. The only slight I have about the new building is the difficulty of finding appointment locations. I’ll admit, I’m somewhat directionally challenged, however it would have been helpful to know that my appointment locations had changed prior to arrival. I was already running late because of weather related traffic and I probably burned near 30-minutes on foot trying to find my first stop of the day. Thankfully, if you appear lost at Dana-Farber, any staff member within eyesight will ask if you need help finding your destination. Also, the receptionists have never given me any grief for showing up late, but I don’t enjoy being disrespectful of their time.

Regarding my tests, I had a chest x-ray and blood work drawn. The blood work shows that I’m clear. The x-ray results didn’t arrive in time for my oncologist to discuss the results. No worries there. We had a quick chat about how my next visit to Dana-Farber will be with my mom, for her own appointment. I mentioned that her oncologist in NH stated that my cancer can be cured, while hers cannot. I pointed out that the folks at Dana-Farber have never said “cured” to me before. I asked if they ever would. It is likely, but too soon for their standards. I’ll be over 2-years from original diagnosis in June. Something like 90% of testicular cancer recurrence will happen by year 2. This means I’m in pretty good shape.

Per the appropriate nudging, I’ve made an appointment to check my fertility. I’m not looking forward to this, but I need to know for certain. My next appointment at Dana-Farber will be in early June. That visit will include a CT Scan.

Checkup

I had my 6-month checkup at Dana-Farber last Friday. The good news is that my CT Scan and blood work came back cancer-free. Unfortunately, my appointment schedule was switched back to every 3 months. The original switch to 6 months was a miscommunication between the staff- I need to come in every 3 for the next couple of years.

Part of my visit included a discussion about side effects. In the last few months, I have perceived pain similar to what it was like prior to my orchiectomy. This is “phantom” pain and quite common according to my nurse practitioner. I also brought up fertility. There is a high likelihood that I’m now infertile. My insurance company will need it documented before they’ll cover any expenses related to treatment.

Thank You!

Thank you to all of my sponsors for donating to the 2010 Jimmy Fund walk. Our team raised over $1,000 and my feet, knees and thighs are thoroughly exhausted. We’re definitely going to do it again next year. If you would like to join our team in 2011, just let me know.

Eating healthy, not a cure-all for cancer

I came across an article today regarding healthy lifestyle choices that cure and/or prevent cancer. The implied notion that cancer is primarily caused by environmental factors really irks me the wrong way. There are too many folks out there who toss around claims as if they’re selling a product to consumers. Obviously some lifestyle choices can really cause cancer, e.g. using tobacco products. However, in my case, my oncologist stated that origin remains unproven, but my cancer was likely tied to genetics. Eating twigs and berries would not have prevented it, nor would it have served as a suitable treatment in lieu of surgery and chemotherapy.