Ugh.. The "C" word. (Updated June 15th)

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browntown's picture
Joined: 04/30/11
Posts: 515
Ugh.. The "C" word. (Updated June 15th)

There's a new twist in our story.

For those who read my earlier posts, skip forward a paragraph. For everyone else, here's the Coles Notes version: My husband found out in April 2011 that he had testicular cancer and had the offending testicle removed. We discussed many options back then, and decided to wait it out and see what the treatment plan was. The surgery went very well, and he's been considered in remission since May 2011, no need for chemo or radiation. The doctors planned to monitor him every 3 months for the first year, every 4 for the second, and he only just now graduated to every 6. They kind of flip flop between CT scans and MRIs, and they've been watching a couple of enlarged lymph nodes in various places throughout his torso. Back when we first found out, we discussed our "family plans" with almost every doctor we encountered. They said that losing a testicle (especially in his case) usually makes the other work in over-drive, and since he wouldn't be needing any drastic treatment, his fertility was unlikely to be affected.

Fast forward to yesterday: I was in another province for a vacation, DH had to work and stayed home. He had an MRI the week before I left and his follow up appointment was scheduled for the 27th (aka. has not even occurred yet). Every scan since his surgery in May 2011 has been great. It got to the point where it was kind of useless for me to take time off work to tag along for appointments because we kept getting good news. Yesterday, via FaceTime (not complaining about the delivery of the news), DH let me know that the lymph node that they were watching in one of his kidneys has grown, and that they want to do chemo. *sigh*

I really don't know what to think/say/do. I realize that all I can do is be there for him and make sure he has everything he needs/wants to get through treatment. We still don't even know how aggressive it'll be. With that said, we need to start taking the actions we discussed two years ago. He's already spoken to the fertility clinic, which has been great about it. All he has to do is call the day that he's ready to provide a "deposit" to be frozen and they'll get him that day. I don't know about other clinics in Ontario, but here, the insemination is free when you've frozen sperm. I don't know whether it was the radiologist or whoever he spoke to at the clinic, but apparently we're not even supposed to BD while he's going through chemo. He has a high libido, but something tells me that he probably wouldn't feel up to it anyways.

His appointment to find out when treatment begins is either late this week or early next week, and depending on when he starts, this will likely be our last cycle TTC for a bit if we even get to at all.

The good news in all of this is that treatment at this stage has a 95% success rate, and he has finally gotten a scare big enough that he truly understands the importance of a healthy lifestyle (like cancer isn't a big enough scare already). He has been referred to a Naturopathic Doctor (I already see one), and a nutritionist, and hopefully one of them can show him that living healthy doesn't have to be hard work if you're willing to commit!

Sorry for the short novel, I don't really have an outlet for this major stressor in my life. This is something that we haven't shared with friends and family..

Clarkton's picture
Joined: 01/07/08
Posts: 1972

((hugehugs)) I'm so sorry to hear this update Sad It's definitely great news that with treatment at the stage he is at the results have a high success rate. Many prayers for you both that you are able to grow closer as you go through this together, that DH will deal well with the treatment and be cancer free, and for you to be successful starting your family whenever the timing works out.

MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3229

"Clarkton" wrote:

((hugehugs)) I'm so sorry to hear this update Sad It's definitely great news that with treatment at the stage he is at the results have a high success rate. Many prayers for you both that you are able to grow closer as you go through this together, that DH will deal well with the treatment and be cancer free, and for you to be successful starting your family whenever the timing works out.

I just want to say "ditto". (((((HUGS)))))) I am so sorry that you both are again facing this battle. Please know that you are able to vent here anytime! Please do keep us posted on how he (and YOU) are doing!!

~Missy

Joined: 07/26/04
Posts: 1595

I'm so sorry!! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband. I pray that it all turns out just fine for him, and the treatment is a success!!!! Big, big, big, big hugs!!!!

browntown's picture
Joined: 04/30/11
Posts: 515

Thank you ladies..

Seems as though whenever things are starting to even out and start working in our favor, we get tossed another curve ball. I'm really bummed about this one though. What makes me most nervous through all of this is that we're only 26 and 28.. isn't this supposed to be the portion of our lives where we're in our best health? What are the next 20, 30 and 40+ years going to be like!?

They want to do the chemo as a preventative measure, and I'm grateful for that. Depending on how you look at it, DH is lucky that he'll get at least an annual MRI or CT scan for the rest of his life and they'll likely catch stuff like this before it becomes a serious problem. It's pretty safe to say that there are millions of people who have not been or will not get to be so lucky and have illnesses nipped in the bud like this.

pico83's picture
Joined: 09/06/06
Posts: 3014

:bighug: I'm so sorry you have to face this. I hope the treatment goes well. I'll be thinking of you both.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6568

I am sorry you have all of this to go through. Thinking of you and your DH.

shadow_grey's picture
Joined: 05/03/12
Posts: 581

Oh no. I'm glad the doctors are being proactive. I wish you both didn't have to go through this though.

browntown's picture
Joined: 04/30/11
Posts: 515

So, we had the appointment with the oncologist yesterday afternoon and got the run down on everything and had our chance to ask a bunch of questions. It's funny(sad) that neither of us thought to ask until our appointment was almost over whether "it" was back or not. The doctor kind of blinked at us with a "Really?" expression on her face.. I guess it's a kind of silly question to ask when you're seeing an oncologist. That was when the dead weight hit and sucked every drop of air out of my lungs.. The cancer is back, and from what I understand, it's still testicular cancer, but in or around his kidney. It's a stage 2b seminoma, and is about 3.5cm. The whole cancer thing isn't new to us, but this just sounds so much... scarier.

DH starts chemo on June 3rd (aka. next Monday), so this is going to be a busy week getting him to get to the fertility clinic and provide some semen for banking. He'll bank as much as they'll allow him to (not sure of the required amount of time between visits) before next Monday. There's a 50% chance of him regaining fertility after treatment, but the Doctor advised us to act like this is it. I should ovulate somewhere between Wednesday and Monday (fingers crossed), so this may be our last cycle TTC naturally. Like.. forever. Crazy. Once we see how DH feels during treatment, we'll decide whether we'll start working towards IUI or IVF and when. Can't believe I just put that in writing, but we've been forced to discuss how far each of us are willing to go when it comes to having children. Turns out that we're on the same page when it comes to everything (yay!), which includes everything from IUI to IVF, to adoption. Basically anything except for donor sperm.

His chemo is going to be 3 x 3 week cycles, the first week of each cycle is the intense week and he'll be at the hospital every day. His work is great about it and told him to take all the time he needs, my work as well, I'll be able to go with him on the Mondays when he's spending almost a full day attached to a drip.

I'll try to come back and post some updates, but between this, and all of the crap I have happening for the weddings that we're in, I don't know how much I'll be around pg.org. If any of you are interested in keeping in touch, PM me with your email address and I'll reply with mine. I'm more likely to send updates that way since I can get away with doing that while I'm at work. It's not that I don't want to see how everyone else is doing, but... you know.. this is going to be hard.

Anyways, sorry for such a bummer of an update, but it is what it is, right?

Hope that you're all doing well!

pico83's picture
Joined: 09/06/06
Posts: 3014

:bighug: I'll be thinking of you both. I really hope he responds well to the treatment.

Clarkton's picture
Joined: 01/07/08
Posts: 1972

:bighug: I'll be praying for you and DH

Leah261's picture
Joined: 09/14/11
Posts: 1244

Just want you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you! I can't imagine what you all must be going through right now. Great news about the 95% rate though! Here's to hoping that everything works out as seamlessly as it can and that good health and a sweet baby are in your future!

browntown's picture
Joined: 04/30/11
Posts: 515

Sorry to bombard you guys with my updates, I don't know where else to post them at the moment. I was going to start a blog and then i got hung up on a title. Also, for some reason, I can't log into pg.org on my computer or iPad, and I really hate posting from my phone, but here goes:

I've started to write this update several times, but I start to feel guilty for only adding negativity to this board. In the last week, I've experienced so much emotion, and I'm borderline meltdown mode right now because I keep holding on to the though that I need to stay strong for DH. I don't fall apart easily, and for him to see me lose it, he'd really start to stress about the seriousness of what we're going through. Anyone that I've spoken to about it says, "OMG, I'd be such a mess if I were you!" And sure, I am a bit of a mess, but it's all internal. I don't cry, it doesn't do anything for me, no relief. I feel like the second I shed a year about this, it will be me accepting the gravity of the situation while I've been pretty optimistic so far.

We went to his chemo teaching session on Thursday, and we didn't really learn much. Not to say that it wasn't a good session, but we already knew everything they were talking about. Bottom line is that these next 9 weeks are going to be hard, and I'm probably going to have to face my fear of vomit head-on. Ugh. They've prescribed Zofran, and I vaguely remember telling him that he should "fill the s*** out of that prescription", whether he needs it or not. I've read lots of great things about it from ladies who have experienced morning sickness, but it doesn't seem to be a popular choice amongst doctors around here, they seem to prefer Diclectin.

Anyways. DH was able to make two deposits at the fertility clinic this week. We haven't gotten the results of the second deposit, but the first deposit yielded 10 straws, and his count was 16 million/ml. His count is great all things considered, we were told that 20 is average, but 16 is great for him. He was very.. proud, for lack of a better word, because apparently most men produce enough to bank 4-6 straws, and he was worried that he wouldn't even get that much.

Speaking of the fertility clinic, I just went to my first support group meeting there, which was ok, but I feel like I'd be writing a novel if I shared my true feelings.

I guess that's the news for now. I will start a blog, and when I do, I'll post the link here.

Leah261's picture
Joined: 09/14/11
Posts: 1244

Don't feel bad about posting your feelings here. You are going through a lot and you have to get these thoughts out somewhere and somehow. I'm sure everyone here understands that and doesn't mind a bit. Everyone who comes to these boards is here to get and to offer support. So I think you're just fine posting what you need to here. Smile I'm sending all the hugs I can your way. Sounds like it's going to be a hard next few weeks, but you'll get through it! Just try to take it one day at a time if you can and maybe not think too hard about everything in the future if you can. Just plan what you can then take one day and one obstacle at a time. I say this because it's what helps me in my own life. If I think of everything I feel like I'll explode.

Also about the Zofran. If that doesn't work for him ask about Phenergan. Zofran doesn't work on me but Phenergan does and it comes in a gel form now which helps so much if you're nauseated to the point of being unable to take a pill. You squirt the gel on your wrists and rub it in and it is absorbed through your skin. It also doesn't have the negative effects of taking a pill like making you crazy sleepy and unable to function. I used it a lot with morning sickness and when I've been sick with other things and it makes a huge difference. They don't like to give it in IV much because it can burn your veins if it isn't well diluted but it's worth asking for it if nothing else works.

It sounds like DH's deposit went pretty well. My DH was thrilled the first time he had to do a SA at the clinic and got a rave review from the doc about it. He was proud. Lol.

Just do your best to hold your head high sweetie but don't beat yourself up over the more difficult moments. This is hard on you too and you're only human. We'll be here for you! Sending TONS of hugs and prayers your way!

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

:bigarmhug:

Don't feel bad about posting your feelings here. If it were me I'd have loads of stuff going through my mind and I wouldn't want to share with DH how crazy it is making me because I want to be strong for him and not give him more to worry about.

Maddz's picture
Joined: 08/17/07
Posts: 1759

Oh hon! Don't feel bad at all. I'm sorry to hear all the things you and your husband are going through. It IS a lot to handle. And while I get that you want to stay strong from your husband, you are probably going to need to cry. I really suggest finding someone in your area. A friend or a counselor.

:bigarmhug:

Hang in there darlin'. I'll keep reading your posts. Keep us updated.

browntown's picture
Joined: 04/30/11
Posts: 515

Thanks everyone. I'm going to start a blog for sure, I'll post a link once it's set up. I'm sitting at the hospital right now while DH finishes his final bag of drugs for the day, I'm seriously terrified for the next week. They keep stressing that he NEEDS to make sure to take all if his anti-nausea meds, and that he needs to check his temperature often to keep an eye out for infection. I think I'm going to take the rest of the week off work, there's no way I'll get anything done because I'll be thinking about him constantly.

OT: I've heard of other members getting locked out of their accounts and having to start new ones. Since I haven't logged out on my phone in forever, I'm still able to post, but I can't log in from my computer or iPad. It says something along the lines of my username being associated with an email address and I can't be logged in. I get the same error when I try to reset my password, although I know that is the problem. Is this a sign of impending doom? I hate posting from my phone!

pico83's picture
Joined: 09/06/06
Posts: 3014

:bighug: I hope things are going okay for you today. I've been thinking about your and your DH a lot.
I've had a life-long fear of vomit, so I can sympathize. I have to say, I had to face it head-on by having kids (and hyperemesis 5 times) nad it has gotten a bit easier. I find now that the anticipation is the worst part. And zofran is pretty good stuff. It made a huge difference for me. If he can, I hope he gets the oral dissolving kind. It's way easier when nauseous to let it dissolve on the tongue than it is to swallow a pill. The phenegran gel sounds pretty nice, too.
Yay for great results at the fertility clinic. I hope his second deposit went as well as the first.
Good luck. You can make it through the next 9 weeks.

browntown's picture
Joined: 04/30/11
Posts: 515

Ugh. Just got a call from the fertility clinic with the results of DH's test thaw on the deposits he left for banking last week and it wasn't good Sad

The initial count pre-thaw was good at 16 million/ml, but the dr called back to say that post-thaw, there were only 100,000 in the sample. Basically, our only option is IVF now, because one IUI would use up everything he banked. Can't wait for good news to start rolling in.

Oh, on top of that, BIL and SIL told DH last night that they're pregnant. FANTASTIC.

pico83's picture
Joined: 09/06/06
Posts: 3014

:bighug:

shadow_grey's picture
Joined: 05/03/12
Posts: 581

Jessica, I've been reading your posts but looks like we've been having the same issues logging in (same error message). I've managed to get logged in from my phone and just wanted to say I'm sending you tonnes of positive thoughts. You are amazingly strong and brave. Thinking of you and sending lots of :bigarmhug:

Maddz's picture
Joined: 08/17/07
Posts: 1759

:bigarmhug: crappy news sucks. Are you ladies signed up through a hotmail account??? If so send a message to missy. I got locked out. I guess they had a ton of spam from hotmail accts so they locked them for now. missy can get yours fixed for you. If you need her email let me know

shadow_grey's picture
Joined: 05/03/12
Posts: 581

Jessica, in case you still can't log in I thought I would let you know I got locked out. I sent a PM to the preg.org facebook page (as I couldn't get in here to send a message). Missy replied to say they had been getting spammed and as a result the techs put a (temporary??) lock on hotmail accounts. She can write a rule to get you back in if you contact her.

browntown's picture
Joined: 04/30/11
Posts: 515

Weird.. I don't use a hotmail account! Mine's gmail. I can log in now from my home computer but still not the ipad.

browntown's picture
Joined: 04/30/11
Posts: 515

DH is about to start week 3 of chemo on Monday, but to be honest, things have been going pretty well! Week 1, he was pretty tired, but that seems to be from the one drug that he gets every Monday. The two other drugs that he gets through weeks 1, 4, and 7 are the ones that cause nausea, fatigue and hair loss, but they gave him a bunch of different medications to prevent the nausea and they seem to work well. He takes Zofran 2 x every day during that first week, and he hasn't needed anything else. After week 1, 4 and 7, he gets a special shot to boost his immune system. That shot causes the bone marrow to produce more quickly which in turn produces more white blood cells (to prevent infection). The only negative thing about that shot is that it causes bone pain, like extreme growing pains, and he definitely suffered from that this week.

Basically, week 2 was just him dealing with the bone pain since he only had the one treatment on Monday.

Have I mentioned that he's off work until September? He would probably be fine to work through weeks 3, 6 and 9, but his job isn't the kind of job where you can be popping in and out like that, it'd take a week to get settled back in and then he'd be off again. He's going CRAZY in the house. I've tried to give him one small task each day outside the house, but nothing that would take more than 30-45 minutes. Small stuff like grabbing just a few things at the store, or coming to have lunch with me at work, and that stuff seems to help.

I, on the other hand, have started yoga. I need to get out of the house for non-work related things too. The class I joined is actually yoga for fertility, and I had registered for that before we knew the cancer was back. So all in all, this class isn't going to benefit me the way I had hoped, but it is relaxing. I'm about to register for a 4 week yoga boot camp, and it's super early in the morning. I'm going to have to try to get into that routine before it starts, because the class begins at 5:45 AM and I'm not usually up until 6!

I hope you're all doing well. I've been lurking, but that's mostly because I'm locked out on every device except for my computer now. I emailed Missy to see if she can fix it!

I think I'm going to make my way over to the ivf board soon... I went to a support group at the fertility clinic and I"m not sure it's for me, so I need to find some place else to talk it all out.

pico83's picture
Joined: 09/06/06
Posts: 3014

I'm glad to hear your DH is doing pretty well.
Oh my, a 5:45 class? Wow, that's early. I mean, I'm often up then but I'm usually not dressed until much later.
I'll be thinking of you both!

A_Dawn's picture
Joined: 09/10/13
Posts: 100

In my prayers :bighug:

browntown's picture
Joined: 04/30/11
Posts: 515

"A_Dawn" wrote:

In my prayers :bighug:

Thanks Smile

I haven't logged in for a while now, we've kind of changed our train of thought when it comes to TTC. DH is doing well, chemo is done and he's starting to get his energy back. We've had a lot of time to process that IVF with ICSI will be our only option for the next 2-2.5 years. With that said, we've decided to take that time as a 'break' and do some of the things that would be difficult to do once we do have kids. We've booked a couple of trips, planned to splurge a little on things/events that we normally would pass over to save for treatments etc.. I'm sure that the next couple of years will pass quickly.

DH was in the "whatever you want" camp, and I was so set on starting treatments this fall. Then.. I got to thinking a bit. Since DH and I started dating, we've been through a lot. DH's dad passed away the first year we were dating, and he became a huge source of support for his mom and didn't want to leave her alone too long. DH was a student for 6 of the almost 8 years we've been together (aka. broke), we got in a car accident, bought a house, got married, and experienced our first loss all within 6-7 months. I feel like we kind of need to be a little selfish for a while, and I think that DH reeeeallly needs it.

When I brought up waiting until we're allowed to TTC naturally again, you should have SEEN the look of relief on his face. He said that he never would have brought it up himself, but was so happy that I did.

So, long story short.. we wait.

Joined: 07/26/04
Posts: 1595

I think that is an excellent choice. You guys need time to relax and regroup. I wish you the best and please KUP!