Adam McCarthy explains about his Testicular Cancer
Adam McCarthy completed Ironman Melbourne 2013 as his 1st Ironman. During his lead in he was having discomfort around the groin region. Post Ironman Melbourne, Adam’s discomfort did not subside. Read Adam’s account of what followed.
Putting things into perspective
To say the last 2 weeks have been nothing short of a whirl wind would be an understatement.
For those that don’t know me, my name is Adam, I am a 39 years of age and have just had surgery to remove testicular cancer. I want to tell my story not for sympathy, but for awareness and I thank in advance for your time.
It all started just on 2 weeks ago when I made an appointment with the local GP to see about the occasional tenderness (that had been going on for a few weeks) now being constant ache. After the examination the GP found nothing abnormal (as did I), he just put it down to regular bike riding or even irritation from the seam on my jeans was a possibility. But as a precautionary and to put me at ease he suggested and I insisted an ultra sound get done, he then stated “I will be surprised if anything shows up”.
Ultra sound completed and back with the GP results showing 3 lesions and the expressions on his face quickly moved from blasé to concern. Although the shape of the lesions and the fact I had felt pain all of which are non-consistent with symptoms of testicular cancer, he could not explain what they were and the fact there were 3 of them there was a concern. With a sense of urgency booked me in for the earliest appointment available with the Urologist. (Dr who treats disorders of the urinary tract in women and the urogenital system in men).
2 days later sitting in with the Urologist I was given the news that the lesions were in fact consistent with testicular cancer and confirmation that there were 3 (two more than the typical presentation) the concern was high. Unfortunately with testicular cancer they do not use biopsy’s to test to see what kind of cancer it is, the testicle needs to be removed (known as an orchiectomy) ASAP and then tests are completed. Before that can be done CT scans and blood tests need to be done to see if there were any other signs of cancer throughout the body and to see if it has started to spread.
That afternoon I was in getting all the tests done (no messing around now). It was going to be 5 days till all results were back and be able to rebook for the specialist. Let me tell you these 5 days were tough and long, the whole not knowing, who do you tell not knowing all the details yet, at what stage and how do you tell your kids, it was tough but I knew with the amazing amount of love, support and strength I had from my wife we would get through this, we decided to tell a select few before the full results came through and wait till we knew more until we made it known.
But they did enable us to do heaps of research, on the operation procedures and we learnt when this type of cancer is caught early enough (stage 1) it has a 97 % survival rate and will only require chemo if the cancer found is aggressive. So although it was a long 5 days it did help to put my mind at ease a little. The results from the test came back with good news there was no sign of cancer in the body and no markers in the blood (a tumor marker is a protein that can be found in the blood in higher than normal amounts when a certain type of cancer is present). So with this good news it was just a matter of waiting for the hospital to call saying that I’m up for surgery, and within a week it was done.
I’m now in recovery mode the surgery itself is quite brutal so I won’t go in to much detail and awaiting the results on the nodules to see where this journey goes next. Although I’m not totally out of the woods yet, I’m pretty confident that even if there is some follow up treatment to be done it will be minor and best case scenario it will all be done and dusted, all because it was caught early. So if any of you out there feel that something is not quite right pop your pride in your back pocket and get it checked out, a 10 min awkward conversation is a pretty small price to pay.
Cancer doesn’t just attack the weak and unfit, it’s just a cell that grows abnormally at a quicker rate and can attack anyone at any time and caught early enough most of the time be treated and cured.
You don’t realize just how many good friends you have out there until something like this happens and I can’t thank you all enough for your love and support.
All of a sudden the little things just don’t matter anymore.
If you are in the age range 25 -40, as Adam said, place your pride in your back pocket and have a word to your GP about a quick checkup. We are so lucky Adam got onto this earlier so that he has a story to tell.