Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Problem Shared is a Problem Halved

Every now and again, through out our lives, people cross our paths and for whatever the reason it just feels good. This happened to me out of the blue last week when a fellow blogger by the name of David Haas wrote me asking if he could guest post on my blog. At first I was midly suspicious. I mean I've never heard of such a request before. However after I checked out his blog I realised he was someone like minded who has the best of intentions.

Here is his post.

Support is Power

Cancer can be one of the most frightening and life-altering things that a person can experience. If they feel as though they are going through everything alone, the patient can feel even more miserable. Whether they are suffering from a common cancer like breast cancer, testicular cancer or even a rare type of cancer like mesothelioma, it is important for them to reach out for support.

1. They Can Vent Their Feelings

When a person is suffering from a hardship, whether said hardship is an illness or something else, they need a chance to vent their feelings. Letting out their sadness and aggression can provide help in their need to cope. The patient can write everything out on a blog or on a forum, and readers can provide feedback or simply add their own advice to handle a situation. The patient can also talk to another person offline, allowing for more personal conversations. Whatever outlet they choose to use, the benefits cannot be dismissed or ignored.

2. They Can Gain Knowledge

While visiting the
American Cancer Society website can be helpful, this does not provide the whole picture when it comes to experiencing cancer. A person needs to talk to others that have actually gone through the sickness, and they can get the kind of help that only kindred humans can provide. If they are curious about various treatment options, they can ask and get answers. If they want to know how they should handle certain side problems and how to cope with changes to their body, they can also seek others for information. Friends and family members are valuable, but so are fellow patients.

3. They Will Not Feel Alone

The feeling of loneliness is one of the worst feelings that a person can come across. An already scary and stressful situation can be made worse if the patient feels that they are going through everything without support. Finding some kind of support system can make them feel stronger, even if their body does not get any better. They will know that they are not the first and will not be the last person to experience cancer or have to see an
oncologist. As the title suggests, support is power.

By: David Haas

Everyone has there own way of dealing with difficult situations. I am a firm believer that a problem shared is a problem halved. You don't have to go it alone. No one has to, whatever the reason.

David's blog can be found at

Thanks David.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another Finish Line

Just thought I would post this for all of you to see.

I will be running 5K in the upcomming Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16th and collecting monies for The Princess Margaret Hospital.

The Princess Margaret is one of the top 5 comprehensive cancer research hospitals in the world. New discoveries and innovative cancer therapies that are changing cancer care for patients globally are happening right here in Canada, at The Princess Margaret.

Be a part of the journey - by giving, participating with me, or simply by sharing my story.

Thank you so much for your support and with your help, we will CONQUER CANCER IN OUR LIFETIME!


Friday, June 3, 2011

The Finish Line - Dare I say it??

Had my appointment with my doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital this morning and they gave me the all clear. Blood work is good and the lymph nodes they removed in May were not cancerous but dead tissue.
To say I am relieved is an understatement. These last 6 months have certainly tested my mettle but I am still glad for the experience. For much of my life I have been unable to see the forest for the trees and now the orchard is in full bloom and much clearer.

I am recovering very well from my surgery. The first three weeks or so were difficult, however once I managed to drop the pain killers it became a lot easier. The scar is healing and looking not too bad. They sewed me up with dissolving stitches instead of staples so it is as ecstatically pleasing as it could ever be.

So this will be it for now. I will have follow up appointments every three months for the next little while and if there is no news there will be no blog. It has been a wonderful positive experience that I will not soon forget.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family and all my friends for their ongoing and continued support. Your Facebook messages and emails were a constant source of inspiration during those dark days when putting on a brave face was not quite possible. Its hard to be positive all the time and there were a few periods when it was just what I needed to motivate me to get out of bed and start again.

Take care and get tested.


Tom x!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kicking Cancer in the Butt!

Kicking Cancer - My last post: Cancer kicked (& stomped on too) -

I saw this last night and I had to share it with you. Cynthia Mulligan is a City News reporter who has, for this past year, been fighting breast cancer. Thankfully she has won her battle.
The above link is an incredible and moving story. One that explains the roller coaster of emotions that you endure as someone who is fighting cancer. Please watch and share with others as early detection of any variant of this disease is key.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

So I had my Pre Surgery appointment on Wednesday. Phew!! What a day!! Between 6 and 7 hours at the hospital I spent answering a plethora of questions and undergoing a barrage of tests including blood work, bacterial swabs and a Pulmonary Fitness Test.

While it was all pretty much straight forward, it was a long day that gave me far too much time alone with my thoughts. Too much time to consider the severity of the operation and possible complications either during or after surgery. I have managed to be stalwart throughout this journey so far as it hasn't really been all that difficult. The next step is and I don't think I have been so scared in my life to be honest with you. But I don a brave face and shrug off concerns so as to be strong for others who are anxious about my situation.

As I sat in the waiting room for the Pulmonary Fitness Test I saw a few others who had obvious breathing difficulties. That's when I realized my mortality. We are here for a good time not a long time and as I mentioned previously, we need to take the time to stop and smell the roses.

This next week will be a difficult one for me but one that will be made easier knowing that my parents arrive on Thursday to help with my recovery after surgery. I will be sure to let them know how much they are appreciated.

Have a Happy Easter everybody.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Life's a Journey Not a Destination

So I've had a week to digest the fact that I have to go undergo invasive lymph node surgery. I am obviously concerned, who wouldn't be? But I refuse to allow this setback to weaken my resolve.

I plan to volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society when all this is behind me and this will only serve to help me assist others going through a similar situation. Whats the saying, "...don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes."

The continued support from my family and friends has been absolutely outstanding. It may be difficult news for others, especially those far away, to deal with but I am living it. Its nothing to be scared of and if I can maintain a positive attitude then so can you!

Its not going to be easy. Its going to take a lot of hard work and determination to get back to some semblance of normalcy. But I will not give up. The learning of my cancer, the orchiectomy, the 21 chemo treatments over 9 weeks, the 8 weeks of recovery from chemo treatment and now the subsequent upcoming surgery have pushed me further than I ever though possible, mentally and physically.

I hope this experience does change me. I want it to determine who I am and reshape who I will become. It may sound like a cliché but you don't realise what you have until you lose it, or at least the possibility of losing it. Family and friends is where its at. We tend to go through life a lot of the time with blinkers on and don't stop often enough along to way to smell the roses.
I not only want to smell them now but perhaps plant some.


Sunday, April 10, 2011


So I got the results of my CT Scan on Friday and I have to undergo the Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection. Not the result I was hoping for but one that is necessary.

By all accounts I am in extremely good hands with the operation being performed on May 2 2011 at Toronto General Hospital. The procedure, which is approximately 4 hours in length, was pioneered in Toronto 30 or 40 or so years ago and is now the world standard. My surgeon is apparently among the finest in the world, which takes some of the sting away from such an invasive operation.

There are a plethora of side effects all of which should be manageable. My hospital stay should be between 5 and 7 days with a further six weeks of recuperation.

I am obviously not entirely please with outcome but this will finally put an end to my journey with testicular cancer and I look forward to living the rest of my life to the fullest. A positive attitude has been key in my fight and I will continue to harness that as much as I can.