Don’t Give up the Fight

I was 17 and a junior in high school when I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, it hit me hard. I was in a pep rally for student appreciation week when my name was called. I thought I won a cool raffle prize, but instead I won early dismissal and a trip to the doctor’s office. When the doctor uttered those three words, “You have cancer.” I thought my life was over because when I think of cancer, I think of death.

There were many times that I wanted to give up because I didn’t feel like I was getting better. A conversation with my mom completely turned my life around and inspired me to pursue the fight. It was about a week after my surgery and I was in the most pain I had ever experienced. I was getting ready to go back to school when I told her that I was done. I didn’t care anymore. The pain was too much to handle, and I would just live out my final moments. She sat me down and told me, “God has a plan for you, this is just a temporary setback. You were meant for so much more.” Between that and all the words of encouragement from my friends, I got my mind straight and rejoined the fight.

I had three rounds of chemo and was declared cancer free on August 17, 2010. I’ve been big on spreading awareness. I have served on numerous patient councils at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth and also served as a mentor. The biggest issue facing me is dating and fertility. I feel like when I tell girls that I meet about everything that I went through it changes the way they look at me. Especially when I tell them that I can’t have kids. I can give a woman anything except kids, and I think that I’m having the hardest time coming to terms with that.

For someone facing a cancer diagnosis, I would encourage them to take advantage of everything that is offered to them. You may not realize it now, but they are there to help. Don’t give up the fight. Cancer may temporarily knock you down, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. You’re going to come out a stronger individual and have an entirely new outlook on life.

Michael, Testicular Cancer Survivor

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Don’t Give up the Fight was originally published in Livestrong Voices on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.