Survivor Spotlight: Michael
I’m Michael and this is my journey…
My journey felt like it would never have a conclusion.
Playing around with friends on a hike in the woods, I saw a great big tree, so I climbed way up.
I lost my footing and I fell a good 80 feet. I fell, full force, my legs were spread and I slammed extremely hard on my scrotum, testicles, and penis. I blacked out from the fall and the pain was excruciating as if I knocked my left testicle clear up to my throat.
The doctors said I messed myself up pretty bad. They noticed that my spermatic cord appeared semi-twisted. It was swollen and without a doubt, a hydrocele had formed around the left testicle. I needed surgery and it was explained as a very minor surgery with not many side effects at all. They removed the hydrocele and reduced the swelling. That was the first of seven hydroceles, six on the left and one on the right.
Down the timeline something very unexpected occurred when I was with some friends and family, just having fun. I was extremely nauseous, and my friends said I looked pale and sickly. I had this horrible excruciating pain radiating up from under my scrotum around my scrotum, groin, and penis. It felt as if an elephant sat on my scrotum.
I went to MD-Care specialist in Wisconsin they took CT scans, ultrasound, MRIs and said I needed to get to the hospital ASAP but I lived in NJ. I was airlifted out and brought to Sloan Memorial.
The Doctors told me that I severely bruised my scrotum and penis and almost cut the vas deferens. By the time I was airlifted a varicocele had formed as well as a hydrocele around my right testicle and my left testicle. The pain was beyond off the charts.
Once again, the sacks were removed from both testicles. I was starting to feel feverish and chills, couldn’t hold anything down and I was extremely weak and fatigued. I was released, got home, and talked with several friends and family. A good friend said, “Michael you’re not looking very good,” and that I should seek out one of the top urological teams out of NJ and NY.
I checked and followed the instructions on YouTube and my left didn’t feel like it normally did. My buddy kept asking if I made an appointment. After three weeks of him asking me, I went.
The doctors took lots of tests and scans and they emphasized we need to get you in the operating room now, they noticed the quarter-size masses that were oddly red in color.
On the operating table, two of the masses ruptured all three were removed and biopsies were done. But the doctors said the timeline of events and injuries, fevers, etc., that sepsis had occurred, and they contained it immediately. I was diagnosed with stage three cancer and had an orchiectomy that removed the left testicle, ejaculatory tract, and spermatic cord.
The tumors were small in the beginning. Due to the many hydroceles, they acted as a buffer and concealed the tumors.
I began my course of treatments radiation and chemotherapy. I should have listened to my friends.
I was finally done with treatments and was ready for a prosthetic to be put in matching the size of my original testicle. It looked good, I was working my hair grew back, and was ready to enjoy life. A year and a half later cancer hit my right testicle and I was on the O.R table ready for a radical orchiectomy. Traces of cancer touched my colon, abdomen, rectum, right kidney, and scrotum.
I finished the courses of treatment and was able to have a prosthetic implanted where my right testicle was originally and once again true to size.
I’ve been in remission getting my life on course hitting the gym and having to take testosterone shots every week.
I was informed that the cancer and surgeries weakened my scrotum the inguinal right side and left and that my implants needed to be removed immediately. On the table once again both implants were removed the cords and the inside of my scrotum literally had to be removed, layers of tissue and muscle, scar tissue, and spermatic cords.
I was informed that my scrotum and pelvic area could never carry implants again and that my scrotum would start shrinking. As of today, my scrotum is the size of a golf ball and my original nightmares of losing my testicles made me feel so low and empty, emotionally living my diagnosis and anxiety with surgeries all over again, but this time all at the same time, having my implants removed and much more.
I searched and searched for support groups for cancer patients as well as TC and ED. I finally realized Michael you are not alone. A great team and my Advocates talked with me about the journey that they were on. The team of doctors I have really understand my unique situation. They listened and grouped together the doctors and procedures that have put me on the path of seeing quality of life at the end of the tunnel.
My journey is not over and I’ve been told way too many times I’m unique and that I’m an interesting case study.
Things have spread, through my prostate four TURPs then finally having transurethral prostate Aquablation surgery, as well as, my penile Implant both from Boston Scientific and the Tactra Semi Rigid Prosthetic.
An incredible team started my surgeries (New Jersey Urology) my story continues, but I’m not going to let this define who I am, I’m a fighter and a Survivor, I’m Michael
Thank you to NJ Urology, Boston Scientific, ED Cure, Testicular Cancer Society and Cancer Society of America, Manscaped, and many many others.
My journey has continued to the point that testicular cancer spread into lymph nodes in my lower abdomen into my colon sigmoid and rectum. It had extended in the mons pubis throughout my groin and into my scrotum.
I have had approximately 80% of my scrotum removed. It has reached my penis causing me to have my penile prosthetic removed, cleaning out my penis, and have the nodes removed from my penis and affected glands treated.
I will be having the Boston Scientific AS700 3-piece inflatable penile prosthetic implementation. Dr. Lombardo and Dr. Lasser will be implanting the AUS around my urethra and the sphincter as the cancer affected my prostate and urethra causing bladder damage and many upsetting moments. Dr. Abdulahi will be performing extreme plastic surgery reconstruction on my groin and genitalia.
I’m breathing, I’m in therapy, and using my experience in helping guys that are dealing with similar issues and anxiety. Leaving my original testicular problem two months before I got checked out caused me to have my genitalia and surrounding areas to be ravaged. I’m being treated and receiving lots of love from my family and friends as well as my Instagram family on @cancer_journeywitmikeyv
Please guys learn from my mistakes and check your package out monthly and if you feel anything unusual get to the doctor ASAP.