It is coming up to the anniversary of when I was first diagnosed with Testicular Cancer. Life has certainly moved forward since then. I got through the operation, testing and scanning and subsequent three cycles of chemotherapy.
The continual testing and scanning and trips to the specialists – the wait (and hope) for the results, and the relief that all was still well. I was, and am, cancer free.
In a recent visit I was tested for hormone levels, obviously affected by both the cancer, operation and chemotherapy. The oncologist was concerned that my testosterone levels were low. So off I went to the endocrinologist.
I was giving a range of blood test prior to my visit so the team had my latest figures and results. I was seen by a student doctor who went through the initial consult, ensuring all my particulars and getting the details right. She then checked the results and explained them to me.
I am sure Dr Google will give you the facts and figures, but for the simple version as I understand it – there are certain hormones (LH and FSH) that it produces that trigger the testicles to produce testosterone. Now having low testosterone might be a result of those hormones also being low. They weren’t.
Ok no big deal maybe it’s just the affect of the cancer mixing everything else up. However, that would mean that to over compensate LH and FSH levels should in fact be high – trying to make the testicle(s) produce more. They weren’t.
So after explaining this the trainee doctor went and got the head specialist. He came in and looked at the results, and was also a little puzzled. He then did a full examination – asking me a range of questions about eye sight, head aches, weight gain… and more.
He then ordered a range of tests including, after some um’ing and ah’ing, an MRI.
After he left, and to the trainee’s skill in bedside manner, I had all that explained to me. She did comments that the MRI was just to rule out anything else as the results were not typical so the Dr wanted to make sure he had ticked all the boxes.
Roll forward a few weeks and after the MRI I was back in to see the endocrinologist team. My hormone levels were still ‘wrong’ with low testosterone and normal levels of LH and FSH. I was also told the great news that I have a small tumour (non cancerous) on my pituitary gland. Which currently wasn’t doing anything abnormal, aside from causing the gland’s stalk to be pushed a little to one side. The hormones all seemed to be at normal levels.
Recommendation was to get me on Testosterone supplements and monitor the tumour – it could be nothing more than a slight aberration in my body – i.e. I always had it and it doesn’t really do anything too bad. Of course it also might grow and therefore lead to other problems down the track! Oh boy ain’t that grand.
Scroll forward again and after my first (rather uncomfortable) injection of hormone replacement I was back to see how the levels had reacted to the change.
Good news testosterone is now at normal levels! Yippee! Bad news the injection didn’t turn me into some kind of Adonis – I feel ripped off… I mean look at those curls!!!! (ignore the peen it must have been cold when the model posed for that one!)
Bad news other hormones are looking a little low. Cortisol levels were low and that was of concern to the Dr. So I am now booked into more tests to see if the result was an aberration or something to do with the tumour.
So now I am well on the way to staying the right side of the cancer – maintaining a negative in the tests and getting further along the journey to getting back to a ‘normal’ chance of any further cancer.
However, now it seems I officially have pituitary disease. Two steps forward, one step back… but we are moving forward.
Aside from a 3 month (painful) jab in the butt I am feeling OK, but still worried about what the future might be.
However, we are off camping for the first time as a family and many more excitements to come – including PAX later this year!
I for one am not giving up yet!