Survivor Spotlight: Keenan Roth
It all started when I was sitting on my couch watching tv and noticed that my testicle felt as hard as a rock. Ideas of what could possibly be the reason why it felt like that swirled in my head and made me restless. I always have been that person to think of the worst possible outcomes in every situation, so my mind immediately went to cancer. In this case, it was a good thing my mind immediately drifted to that, because I set up an appointment with my primary physician a week later.
It’s always a little weird when a doctor has to feel the testicle to see if there could be something potentially malignant, but that was nothing compared to the ultrasound my physician had set up for me after their appointment. With all the treatments and surgeries I have had over the past year, that was easily the most uncomfortable I ever felt through my cancer journey.
After that ultrasound and hearing the news of it most likely being cancer, millions of thoughts ran through my mind, and all were very dark. Being 22 years old, thinking about dying was not a thought I would normally have. I thought about my fiancé a lot during that time. We always talked about how we have our full lives ahead of us and couldn’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together. The thought leaving her hit me the hardest.
During this time, I was towards the end of my senior year in college, so I had already had a lot on my plate. After the ultrasound results, I was recommended to a urologist, and everything took off from there. Right after the appointment, I was scheduled for an orchiectomy 3 days later. That made me slightly panic even though I didn’t show it. I looked up how the surgery would be done and lingering effects. Surprisingly the surgery wasn’t that bad, I was just sore at the waist area for about a week. My doctor said my HCG wasn’t that high to immediately go into chemotherapy, so they would monitor it on a weekly basis to see if it will increase. During that time of recovering from surgery and monitoring, I graduated from school.
Unfortunately, I did not have much time to celebrate, because a few days later I received a call from my urologist that the HCG rose quite a bit and I would have to start chemotherapy the Monday after Christmas, which was roughly a week to two weeks.
Surprisingly, I was mentally prepared. I knew for about a month at that point that chemotherapy was a likely possibly. Being mentally prepared wasn’t enough though. The first week was fairly easy for me, I was just mostly fatigued during the treatments and a couple days following.
First Day of Chemotherapy
I felt good enough after that first round to go on vacation and ended up going to Disney World. Once I got back though, I immediately had to start the second round the next day. Each round progressively gotten much worse, and by the end of the third and the rest of the fourth, I felt like I was dying. I had muscle pain through my whole body, and there were multiple days where I wouldn’t leave my bed for anything. The worst part of it though was the nausea and vomiting. I couldn’t keep anything down, and it got the point that my diaphragm was in constant pain from vomiting so much.
It was all worth it though. Having the support of my friends and family helped me get through the hardest parts of this journey. My fiancé was there for me at every hour and minute as I was going through this process. She did more than I could ever have asked for when I was going through this extreme low point in my life.
Looking at back it, this process was kind of a blessing in disguise, in a sense. I appreciate the little things in my life a lot more and I tend to not take as many things for granted. This experience has led me to look at life from the perspective of the glass being half full.
I just wanted to share this story to let the people going through testicular cancer know that there is hope, and don’t give up. You got this!