Trust your instincts

Posted in Check Your Balls.

I participated in the Testicle Tour of London (UK) in 2009, and a few of us stopped at the Balls Brothers for a photo.

First off, I’m no Jive Turkey. I check my balls, or rather ball.

……..While we may use a bit of humor to grab your attention the facts are that testicular cancer is real and it can kill. Fortunately, testicular cancer is also one of the most treatable forms of cancer. However, successful outcomes rely on men knowing about testicular cancer, knowing how to check their balls and also getting to their doctor quickly if they notice something wrong. This seems simple but unfortunately too many men are still dying from this cancer because they are too afraid or too scared to seek treatment or they just don’t even know the symptoms. It isn’t the lack of available or effective treatments that kills but rather a lack of awareness and education.

 

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My story:

……..Now, while I am a testicular cancer survivor, I can’t point fingers at others. Unlike many other guys I was actually instructed by my doctor when I was 16 that I needed to start checking my balls. But I didn’t listen, as a matter of fact, I laughed it off as I walked out of the office. It seems the joke was on me. Some years later while adjusting myself I brushed against a lump on my left nut. As a pharmacist, I immediately “knew” that it was cancer but I wasn’t smart enough to call the doctor. Instead I waited 7 agonizing months. During that time I convinced myself that the cancer had spread and that I was going to die. I even threw a “going-away” party for all of my friends as a way to see them one last time before I died. It was a crazy world of living like I was dying and to make it worse I didn’t share my “problem” with anyone.

……..When I finally got myself to the doctor I became one of the luckiest guys in the world. I had a very slow growing type of testicular cancer and was assured that I was going to be able to beat it. Had the cancer been more aggressive then I may not be here today telling you about it. Wow, I might not have been here today is hard to grasp for me. Why didn’t I just regularly check my balls like I was taught? How lucky was I to just brush against the lump? Why did I delay going to the doctor? Was not doing the right things really worth it? No.

……..I can’t tell you for sure why I waited. Denial, fear, stupidity or maybe a combination of all three. What I can tell you is that it is essential to “Check Your Balls.” You need to know what they feel like and be able to notice any changes. You are down there all the time anyway so once a month you need to do more than just scratch ‘em. Conduct a self-testicular exam and help protect your future health. If you notice something, go to the doctor. I have met too many mothers that have lost their sons to testicular cancer because their son waited too long to mention something wrong.

 

This picture is from the time of my diagnosis. My favorite beach bar had reopened after burning down a year before. I showed up at 30 minutes before the opening so that I could be the first customer. On the way in, I received the voicemail that I could come into the urologists “anytime I wanted to” the next day. I knew right then that it had to be cancer.

……..Being a part of the Check Your Balls campaign is a true honor and not just because I am a testicular cancer survivor. When I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2006 I was one of the many individuals that found and was help by the Skate4Cancer voice. I would spend my time online and in social media outlets looking for others guys like me that were going through testicular cancer. I remember clicking on the page for Skate4Cancer and the words of encouragement and the together we can fight cancer attitude help me tremendously through my battle and ultimately was one of the forces that led to me founding the Testicular Cancer Society.

……..I am excited to be a part of the Skate4Cancer Check Your Balls Campaign and I know it will help raise awareness and save young men’s lives.

……..If you need more information on testicular cancer be sure to check out the Testicular Cancer Society and if you need help or have any questions please feel free to contact us as we are here to help.

 

Mike Craycraft
Survivor/Founder
Testicular Cancer Society

 

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