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The Movemberist

Ryan shares a story of discovery and recovery...

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<p>One morning, I decided “why are you hesitating, look at what the risk is, if you’re reading about cancer and it could be spreading in your body, why are you being shy about going in and having a test done. Do it today.”</p> <p>It was 2009 about Thanksgiving time when I first talked to my mom in the kitchen about not feeling right, not feeling well. My symptoms were that I wasn’t feeling, the same, I was feeling really tired. Sometimes at work I would put my head down and just fall asleep. And we had a six month old boy, our third child had been born six months prior and I was up a lot at night and I had reason to feel tired, and I just put it off to the side as being that.</p> <p>My mom knows me to be a bit of a hypochondriac and she kind of said you should go and get yourself looked at. And so I did, in December. And the doctor evaluated, took some blood tests, and suggested some things, and really he said “why don’t you come back in three months”.</p> <p>I left that doctor’s visit in December of 09. And life took over, it was the holidays again for Xmas, got busy. Happened to be the year the Minnesota Vikings were in the playoffs. As happens in all of our lives you just get caught up in meaningless games and activities and whatever else in addition to your families and life in general. And that did happen to me, but there was this constant nag to go back and figure out what that doctor’s visit was about and what these feelings were. So I started to Google, here and there, in the evenings. I wonder what… Google in being tired a lot, Google in tenderness in your chest. After a while, I’m talking 3-4 weeks, of drawing just some similarities of some things you turn up in your searches, started to hone in on cancer as being a potential issue, and one of the more specific types was testicular.</p> <p>In the morning I called directly to a urologist, I didn’t get referred, I called straight in and said “I think I might have testicular cancer” and they got me in that same day. The doctor did an exam, he said “you know, very unlikely that this is cancer.” It was a Friday, he said “but you came in for a reason, so why don’t you go down and have an ultrasound done and we’ll just find out.”</p> <p>Sunday the Vikings played and lost to the New Orleans saints in a heartbreaking football game which thankfully took my mind off of what was really on my mind. But Monday morning I had the first appointment of the day and I went in to the doctor’s office and it was just a somber feeling, and I just “is this going to happen to me? Is this the day I find out I have cancer? No. This is the day I’m going to drive out of here so thankful that I’m fine and just not care about all this nonsense that’s going on, this football game we lost, whatever else in life, all that will mean… it’ll be just a relief to know that I’m healthy.</p> <p>There was a little bit of time it took for the doctor to come in. He got right to it he says “Ryan, this isn’t the news we wanted to share with you today, that you wanted to find out today, but you have testicular cancer and so we need to take steps to find out how far the cancer may be in your body.”</p> <p>The evening of the 26<sup>th</sup> of January was the longest most awful night of my life. Just not knowing what that scan showed. Was it everywhere? Because I knew I had had symptoms for months. I had symptoms for at least probably since August and I’m thinking “that’s five months of time that this could be spread around. It might be in my liver, my brain, and this might be the end.” But it was one night of that torture because the doctor thankfully scheduled me in before he went for vacation.</p> <p>The doc came in and said “We have the results of the CT scan, it’s good news and bad news… the good news is it has not spread far, but it has unfortunately spread to your lymph nodes, so you will have treatment after this surgery that you’ll have to undergo but at least it hasn’t been to some of your other organs.”</p> <p>I was elated at that news. All night I had wondered, could it be worse. It turned out to be a good thing. My dad and my wife were crying immediately, but for me it was good news.</p> <p>While I was just getting out of my chemotherapy and back to work, visiting a client actually, we wrapped up a wastewater treatment project and we were kinda having lunch to celebrate that. And I shared with him what I’d been through, and he shared with me that he’d lost a daughter to cancer the year prior. Awful. He said “we made some t-shirts and did some fundraising, did some things.” He’s very upbeat, unbelievable person, he and his wife. But the t-shirts that he had made, he gave me one, and this is what it is. And that pretty much says it. And a couple of the people that donated to the Movember site, when I wrote back to say thanks, I said “cancer sucks, and that’s why we’re doing this”.</p> <p>I consider myself to be a testicular cancer survivor. I’ve had surveillance, CT scans since then. And I’m almost a normal person again. I guess at 5 years they consider you to be normal, where they don’t feel they need to scan. Now none of us… part of being “normal” is we all… none of us know when we might get that news, or when you might have something happening.</p> <p>So this is for anyone out there who’s wondering how, who’s maybe taking life for granted, who’s not feeling right but putting it in the back burner, putting it in the back of your mind. Don’t hesitate, don’t take that risk, slow down, realize what’s important in life. Go in and get that screening done, ask for a blood test, join Movember, try to help other people become aware of this, aware of cancer.</p> <p>It’s very rewarding to come to that realization that … just to finally be bold enough, be brave enough to talk about it, to help people and not hold it inside anymore. It feels good to let it out, it feels good to help.</p>

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