After learning in December that I am still cancer-free, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I can continue to create awareness and support surrounding post-cancer symptoms and how to be proactive in treating them. Going through something like testicular cancer does a number on the body and while being in remission is a wonderful feeling, it’s likely some parts of you (both inside and out) may not function the same as before.
Have no fear — there are plenty of ways to help you get back to your “old self,” and regain the confidence you need to live your best life, testicular cancer-free (though I do firmly maintain that the Uniballer life is the best life)!
Take care of your mental health
Battling a disease like cancer can do a number on not only your physical health but your mental health as well. The great news is, there are plenty of cancer support groups designated specifically for survivors to talk out their feelings, both happy and otherwise, to aid in the recovery journey. I specifically recommend the eTC Express program, which you can read about my experiences with here.
It’s completely normal to feel a mixture of emotions even after being told you’re in remission — I’ve certainly run through a gamut of feelings, post-cancer. Whether it’s excitement because you’re free of this disease, fear because you don’t know what may come next, or even anger that the cancer took away a part of your life, discussing these feelings in a support group with others who have gone through the same experiences can help you to be at peace.
Don’t be discouraged in the bedroom
While the diagnosis of testicular cancer does not mean your sex life is over, the methods for treating testicular cancer can cause some side effects that may impact performance. Those who are in remission from testicular cancer have often times undergone a surgery such as an orchiectomy or RPLND (Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection — a surgery to remove affected lymph nodes).
These procedures can leave men suffering from side effects such as low sexual desire or erectile dysfunction. It’s important to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor in order to figure out the best course of action for you.
Continue to be proactive about your testicular health
This one may seem obvious, but remaining proactive even after you’re scans come back clear is the best way to ensure they stay that way! I’ve posted time and time again about testicular self-exams and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of this when it comes to early detection. Perhaps the biggest silver lining in having gone through testicular cancer is that your self-exam will take half as long now!
Making this a part of your monthly routine and choose a place such as the shower to perform it. For those who are forgetful, #Takea2nd4theBoys will add a recurring calendar appointment to your phone, so there’s no excuse. The only thing worse than testicular cancer is not being proactive about the measures taken to help prevent it.
Visiting your doctor for follow up appointments and being vocal about any changes (in your physical or mental health) you’ve noticed is also necessary if you want to stay ahead of the game. You are your own advocate and you know your body best.
If something doesn’t feel right, address it ASAP. You don’t want to drop the ball on your continued health.
This post was written in collaboration with Hims, a company with the mission statement that reads, "We hope to enable a conversation that’s currently closeted. Men aren’t supposed to care for themselves. We call bullshit. The people who depend on you and care about you want you to. To do the most good, you must be well.”
Nothing in this article should be considered as medical advice, as I am not a doctor. Always be sure to discuss any concerns with a medical professional.
This post originally appeared on A Ballsy Sense of Tumor. It is republished with permission.