In the early 1970's life was good, my wife Rose and I had a
great group of friends, a lively social life and in 1976 we got
married. A few years later we were elated to discover we would be
parents for the first time, but within weeks our dreams of
parenthood were swept aside when I realised that my left testicle
was abnormally swollen and hard. I was 27 years old.
Rose was adamant that I see a doctor straight away and thankfully I listened. The very next day I was examined by my GP - Dr John Bolt - he was reassuring and thought the swelling was a Hydrocele, which is a build-up of fluid that causes the testicle to swell. Unfortunately further tests revealed it was a tumour and I found myself listening to the types of cancer it might be. It turned out to be malignant and our world was turned upside down.
From there onwards it was a medical whirl. I was given the choice of having the whole testicle removed, or just part. It seemed to me that to have part of my testicle sliced off would be more painful to have the whole thing removed - so that's what I chose! It proved to be less traumatic than I had envisaged and a week after the stitches were removed I was on my way to Southampton to attend the Royal South Hants Hospital for further tests and ultimately more treatment.
Rose came with me and the first few days were spent running dye through my blood stream to see if there were any cancer cells within my system. The results showed that I would need radiotherapy treatment and Rose and I were faced with our next challenge. Radiotherapy can cause a man to become sterile so we needed to decide about storing sperm. In the end we didn't and thankfully our decision was the right one.
I was transferred to Nestley Castle, which was to be my home for the next six weeks. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday were to be radiotherapy days for me and each Wednesday I was to be monitored by the doctor. I felt fine immediately after my first treatment and Rose and I went out with the intention of shopping for baby clothes. Within hours I felt exhausted and nauseous and we quickly returned to Netley Castle. I was given tablets to help me sleep through it and that became the pattern of the next few weeks.
At times it was tough, all I wanted was to be at home by Rose's side as our baby grew inside her. But the staff and the care at Nestley Castle were incredible and I had a lot of support from my friends at home.
Six weeks later I returned to Guernsey and I was carefully monitored each month for the first six months and then every three months for the first year. The second year it was six monthly checks and after five years I was given the all clear.
Our baby was born that year, healthy and safe and I remember the joy of seeing her was tempered with the thought she might have been growing up without her father. In 1983 we became parents for a second time and now we're grandparents too. I have been free of cancer for 33 years but will never forget the support of our friends and the professionalism and kindness of the doctors and nurses. The message in my story is regularly check your body and if you discover anything unusual get yourself to the doctors. Do not make the mistake of being too embarrassed to get it checked out. It could save your life.