Mental health and testicular cancer
I talk to Ryan Farrington from Warrington about how he got through post testicular cancer problems, physically and mentally
Being told you have cancer can stop life in its tracks and most men when they are told they have testicular cancer will agree that for a good while after they feel numb and all of a sudden mortal. Cancer happens to other people and surely I am too young to have cancer? ( testicular cancer average age is 35).
Thinking “I’m going to die” is a normal reaction
Men also feel that life has stopped and felt that the normal daily routine just flies past because you are thinking “cancer” from the minute you wake until the minute you get back to sleep at night.
You can feel that because you have cancer you will get many calls and be rushed into a cancer hospital within days for treatments and to get rid of cancer. Having been told you have cancer or may have it and actually starting treatment can be weeks of waiting for appointments, blood test results with little or no support. All men in our support group admit that waiting for results and a plan of action is by far some of the most difficult times.
Some men feel that they are losing part of their manhood. They can also feel that the testicle is part of them, it has been there since birth, it all of a sudden become important and we’ve ignored it for most of our lives, all normal feelings and by no means stupid.
It's almost guaranteed that every TV advert is about cancer, someone will say “oh my mate had cancer, he died”.
In truth, it is a very confusing and difficult time.
This is why we have a support group and we encourage men to join it, talk about it and not feel alone. There are no stupid questions in our forum as we all know that your head can be a whirlwind of thoughts and worry.
Some men think it’s “unmanly” to ask for a chat or join a group, they also feel that they may see horror stories and don’t want to know what they may have to go through until it happens, all normal feelings.
The group is there if you need it. Yes, you may see someone having a bad time on chemo or talking about a subject that might frighten you BUT you may find that it will help to ask a searching question about treatment or a phrase you don’t understand.
Men who have had testicular cancer admit that waiting for results when first diagnosed is one of the hardest times, when will the letters come? when will they phone me?. It can take up to 6 weeks from having the first ultrasound scan on the testicle until you see an oncologist. They feel numb and can’t focus on anything else which is of course understandable. They read the internet a lot searching the internet for any sign that the cancer they have is curable and what is the survival rate. They can also become a bit snappy and find themselves sleeping less. Our advice is to try and carry on as normal, keep busy, do all the normal things you normally do as the results and tests and appointments WILL come. Research cancer when you know which type and what your treatment is. It can get very confusing. Please don’t think you are going mad or weak if you feel these emotions, you would have to be inhuman to not feel like this once you’ve been diagnosed with cancer