Help Bryan kick cancer in the @$$
My brother Bryan.....a man so many of us love because of his kindness that has no end. His drop everything to help anyone in need philosophy has touched so many lives. As many of you know, Bryan has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Here is his story...
Many of you have been curious as to what has been going on with me and me having surgery. Now that the surgery is over with and the results came in, I feel it’s time to come out and let everyone know. I am sharing my story with everyone in hopes others make themselves aware and go in for testing if something doesn’t seem right with their body. As for me, if it wasn’t for me being in pain, I would have never gone into the doctor and found out I had cancer.
Thursday, December 29th, I woke up with pain in my lower left abdomen and the pain spread around my back. Thinking I either messed up my back while sleeping (as I’ve been seeing a chiropractor since 15 years old) or pulled/strained a muscle, I started by going to see a massage therapist. Being as I received a full body massage, I felt much more relaxed that evening when going to bed.
Friday, December 30th, I woke up in the same amount of pain I was in the previous morning. Due to this, I basically laid in bed all day other than quickly running down the street to drop something off to my roommate at where she works.
Saturday, December 31st, I was in the same amount of pain as the last 2 days. Checking my Amazon account, I noticed something was delivered to my full time employer after the business shut down on Friday at noon (they delivered at 3pm) and the business wasn’t open again until Tuesday, January 3rd, so I left the house to go pick that package up to prevent it from being stolen (I could see it on the security cameras from work).
Sunday January 1st, the pain was still there. I left my bed and the house only to work the Packer game (DJing) where I was on my feet the entire game, which I actually felt fine until I packed up and got into my car, which at that point in time the pain returned. I went home to go to sleep.
Monday, January 2nd, I couldn’t stand being in pain any more and called and made a doctors appointment. At that point in time, they had no available appointments that day but I described my symptoms to the person on the phone and they said they would have my doctors’ nurse call back. They called back and I reviewed what was going on with them for the pain. They had just received a cancellation for that afternoon so I was able to get in for an appointment. During this visit, I had a urine test, blood test, and CT scan as well, all while thinking it could be something to do with my kidney. After three hours of being there, I was told I would have to come back the next day for an ultrasound, as that department was closed for the day by the time results came back.
Tuesday, January 3rd, I went in for the ultrasound and was told the results would take about half hour, but the doctor wanted to review the results with me. When the doctor came in, he told me to make an appointment to see an urologist, as it appears I have testicular cancer on the left side. The doctor told me repeatedly that “if you get cancer, this is the type of cancer you’d want to get because it’s a 98% survival rate.” Hearing this, did NOT comfort me any, because let’s face it, who really wants to be diagnosed with cancer?
Wednesday, January 4th, I went and saw the urologist who informed me the same thing of it being the type you want to get if you get it. They told me they could get me in for surgery the next day. I asked if that it was that critical to be done the next day, as I had things I wanted to accomplish prior to going in for surgery. They had told me no, but I wouldn’t wait a month for the surgery either. I asked if they could at least wait until January 16th so I could get some things taken care of. They said that I could get in on the 16th for surgery. I was told recovery time would be 2-3 weeks, but could be longer or shorter; it always depends on how the person is doing after the surgery and what type of work they do.
Fast forward to Monday, January 16th, surgery happens and I come through fine. Since then there has been pain (which I was given some crappy viccodin for which doesn’t help much) and a lot of lying around with a follow up appointment on Monday the 23rd. I came back home to my place on Friday the 20th.
My results came back on Friday, January 20th. It was stage 1 testicular cancer, but due to the lymph nodes that they removed and tested as well, it was classified as 2a, which is still a very early stage. Treatment for this is being debated between a round of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. I will find out either Tuesday January 24th or Wednesday January 25th.
Letting family, close friends, and employers know was difficult for me. As many of you aren’t 100% aware of what I’ve been going through until reading this now. Those that I have told prior to the surgery have stated to let them know if there’s anything they can do for me which has been greatly appreciated, but being as I’m supposed to rest, not much can be done.
Now, to get to the full point of me sharing my story with everyone, as I’ve been told testicular cancer is as common as breast cancer. I have NEVER heard of anyone with testicular cancer previously to me mentioning it to anyone (with the exception of Lance Armstrong). That testicle that was removed has been not like the other one for as long as I can remember. Not a single doctor appointment that I had I suggest they take a look at it. Could this have been caught sooner? Possibly. Is it something that is I have all the answers on? No. Am I afraid of what is going on? Yes. Do I feel alone? No.
There is a 2cm lymph node and two 11mm lymph nodes that are cancerous, which is the reason for me needing treatment.
Bryan will be starting a three vicious rounds of chemo to help kill the lymph nodes. Because of this, he will need to take time off of work, which does not help with the amount of medical bills that are already piling up and causing more anxiety.
I have created this site for 4 reasons:
1- If you or anyone else has any signs that Bryan has talked about above, please get tested. Bryan is hoping that his story helps others catch cancer before it spreads and to help raise awareness.
2- To have one central place to continue to update everyone following Bryan's story.
3- To ask you all to keep Bryan in your prayers-that God gives him the strength and courage he needs on his most dfficult days. All prayers and words of encoruagement are greatly appreciated to help keep Bryan's spirits up.
4- If you are able to donate to help Bryan with his medical bills, it would be much appreciated. The cost of all of these appointments and treatments are adding to his stress.
From my Facebook post a few weeks ago, I figured I'd post an update here as well. Being as things are kind of on the upwards and looking better for me, only thing I have to worry about is the tax man, as short term disability didn't do the taxes so I owe a chunk of cash from what I'm currently calculating (only current bad news for sure). Well, Monday I had an appointment with my cardiologist (diagnosed with AFib prior to cancer by about 2 years). Things on that front were fine. They did yell at me to make sure I'm taking my meds twice a day though. Thursday, I went to the Nephrologist (kidney doctor). End result... My kidneys are at 80% functionality and I no longer have to see that doctor and take one less pill a day!
For those of you following this only, I was told the cancer is in remission on July 20th. Today, Friday, November 24th, my mediport came out. I still have to go for follow-ups with blood work and kidney checks to ensure I'm doing good or getting better. Right now the only thing that's a pain in the but is the neuropathy in my hands and feet. Thank you to everyone for all of the love and support that I've received this year.
Here's the latest and greatest: On Thursday June 15th, I had a follow-up with my Oncologist. Blood work levels showed a decent recovery (some levels were slightly low, while a few others were slightly high). They said unless I feel the need to come in for fluids, I don't have to come in anymore. However, I do have an appointment for a pet scan on July 19th along with blood work. On July 20th, I'll find out if I'm cancer free. I want to thank everyone for all of their love and support through all of this. It means so much to me. Side note that for those of you that aren't friends with me on Facebook, I was hospitalized a 2nd time over Memorial Day weekend. It ended up being I was there from Sunday night and came home that Tuesday evening. Low white blood cell count was the culprit again. However, since then I've obviously bounced back.
As treatment continues a week from tomorrow for my final round, I do want to say thank you to everyone who has donated, and is following my story. There is a fundraiser for me this upcoming Friday at AJ's Bar & Grill in Muskego, WI from 7-10pm. There will be guest bartenders and a surprise radio personality in attendance, as well as 50/50 raffles. I am trying my best to be in attendance for this. This past week of non-treatment was probably the worst one I've had thus far for side effects. Add in the car accident I was in last month with no medication seeming to work very well for me. I am keeping a positive attitude and working on getting through everything. The support and love I'm getting from everyone on the regular is beyond heartwarming that it does bring me to tears. For those of you that have questions or want updates, please feel free to ask (no need to go through other sources to see how I'm doing).
Here's the latest on my situation: Round 3 of chemo was to start on Monday, April 24th. Blood tests came back and some stuff with my kidneys were still too high to start chemo. Because of this, they gave me a bag and a half of fluids (they gave me a bag and a half on Sunday as well since they were high then from testing). On Monday, they decided to schedule me with a kidney specialist at another location in the afternoon. Well, as you can see if you've been following my whole story, that got me worried a bit. As I knew going into chemo treatment that it would have an impact on my kidneys. To help make things better, I need to drink 64 oz of fluid (water or something carbonated) a day. I've tried water and just can't drink plain old water. I checked with the doctor and they said Powerade was fine (as I have no problem knocking back 2 Powerade's a day). Today, Tuesday, April 25th, I went in for more blood work to see if they could start chemo today. The levels were much better but .08 over what they normally do. The nurses checked with the doctor and he said it should be fine to proceed. In the afternoon, I went to the kidney specialist (very unprepared). When I got there, I parked basically on the opposite end of the building, thus when they checked my pulse, it was a little high, but at least still not in AFib, I told them it was because of the distance I had to walk to find their office :P They also needed a urine sample for testing. Luckily the blood tests were done with the chemo testing earlier in the day. First the aide comes in and gets my vitals and general info into the computer (the many meds I'm on and what not, basically questions I answer about 3 times anytime I go in now). Then the nurse walks in and starts going over some things with me. A few minutes later, the doctor himself comes in and joins the conversation reading everything I've been through medically on the computer. While I was giving some of the "Cliff's Notes" version of everything, the doctor goes "Wait, you have AFib? You're too young to have AFib!" I was like "tell that to my body..." but actually responded with "I was diagnosed in 2015 and showed no symptoms since until the day I was to start chemo." The other thing he asked is why I am taking one of the chemicals I am taking. I had to explain to him it's part of my chemo treatment for cancer I have. Then he proceeds to tell me he sees that in his notes now and that at least one lymph node was stage 2b. I am/was a little concerned being half way through treatments and the most I was told was 2a. However, I'm not really upset over it. I am NOT having pain from the lymph nodes currently, so I view it as the chemo is working. The doctor gets through going through everything and then comes the blow to me... He tells me my kidneys are actually in excellent condition going into this, He feels my kidneys will bounce back fine after I'm through with everything from treatment. He put me on some meds (because I'm not taking enough right now as it is) and asked to see me again before my final round of treatment. So despite getting put on additional meds, there was good news twice today! Chemo was a go and my kidneys are okay/will bounce back! Now as I was saying that I'm NOT having pain from the cancerous lymph nodes, I am having body pain from other things. For those of you unaware, on Monday, April 17th, I was in a car accident. From this I got whiplash. I have neck pain, lower back pain, and left shoulder pain. Out of all of them, the shoulder pain is the least of the pain. I was hospitalized that evening and after testing, was told it's only whiplash and was given nothing for it. When I went on on Sunday for my blood work for chemo, I had brought that up. I had additional X-Ray's done and was prescribed some pain pills. I don't believe my car is totaled, but it does need a new drivers door and additional work. The person who hit me admitted they were completely at fault and that their insurance would cover it. In the end, I'm still above ground and still fighting like all heck to get through everything. On one last note, I have become more emotional than ever with everything going on. It's not even so much an emotional roller coaster, it's just something mental that I honestly cry multiple times a day over things. Something on TV can come on and I start crying for basically no reason (unless it's a St Jude Commercial). I see the anti-cancer posts to my page, donations coming to this page or in the mail, or anything else that people do in support for my fight and I end up starting to cry, as I'm honestly touched by all of the love and support from everyone I am getting.
Round 2 of chemo has been completed, so I'm now at the half way point. I went for 2 additional days of fluids and got a shot that should boost my white blood cell count for 2 weeks. I've got a follow up appointment on Wednesday to check the count this week and next week Monday (they have weekly checks). Thank you to everyone that's donated here or otherwise as well as the time spent with me, as it honestly means a lot. I keep posting updates on my Facebook page for those that wish to follow for public information. As to this is only what I'm going through. There are many others that have gone or are going through what I have happening with different results, and my thoughts and prayers go out to them. This is a battle. April is Testicular Cancer Awareness month. So guys, if you haven't had yours checked, it doesn't hurt. If you do have cancer, it can hopefully just be the testicle and not anywhere else (having a nut removed isn't the end of the world).
Here's the latest from after my last post. Last week Tuesday, March 28th, I was hospitalized for a very low blood cell count. I was in the hospital until Sunday, April 2nd. I went in for a white blood cell count booster and it was discovered that I had a fever of 101, by the time I was leaving to go to the hospital, I had a 102 fever. They did blood work, urine testing, as well as x-rays. The good news is the only thing that came back was my white blood cell count was half of what it was the day before. The bad news is other than the fact that white blood cell booster makes it so that my body focuses on that and not producing other things. From that, it includes bone marrow. This made my hips hurt so bad that I could barely walk. While I was at the treatment center, I had to be wheeled to my car so I could drive to the hospital (I didn't want to go via ambulance). While I was in the hospital, I was pumped through antibiotics as well as other things. They continued to give me the shots for the white blood cell count booster on Wednesday-Friday. Each night they gave me something for the pain that I had as well. On Saturday, they said my white blood cell count was good that I could go home. However, back tracking a day, since I was hospitalized, and on Monday I saw the cardiologist, they wanted an EKG done while I was in the hospital to see if they could come up with something to regulate my Afib. So Friday morning they did the EKG. From that, they added some medication for me to take starting on Saturday. So they kept me over on Saturday night for observation to ensure nothing happened from the new medication, in which, I felt was a smart move. Sunday morning, they had me do a stress test to ensure that everything was good for my heart and that it didn't go crazy when I was active. I passed fine, so they sent me home. The entire time I was in the hospital, the majority of the staff there was great (with the exception of one aide). I did snap on one RN, but apologized to her later, as my reaction was due to how the aide worded things (and the fact that the aide really shouldn't have been dealing with me that day). As of Tuesday, my heart has been out of Afib for when I've been going in for treatments (which is more great news). So now here I am with one and a half rounds of chemo complete. There has been a 6th day added to me going in. This is so I can get a white blood cell count booster that lasts for the full 2 weeks between treatments as well as additional fluids to help flush my system. In other news, I started losing hair while in the hospital. It was noticed on my gown while I was there. When I left the hospital, I noticed it in my rear view mirror on the left hand side.When I got home and showered, more fell out. Every day since when I shower, I'm having to clean the drain due to the amount of hair falling out. I do plan on shaving my hair within the next few days.
I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone that has donated, whether or not you know me, it does mean a lot. The latest on my situation: Today, Monday March 27th, I had my first follow-up appointment with the Oncologist. Everything looked good except for my white blood cell count. They seemed kind of surprised I hadn't gotten sick due to how low the count was. I got a shot today and have to go back the next 2 days for the same shot. They've added a 6th day to my 3 weeks remaining of treatment. That 6th day I will be getting a bag of fluids to help flush my system as well as a shot that should last the 2 weeks to help make sure my white blood cell count doesn't drop low again. In the mean time, I also have some giant pills to take for antibiotics as a preventative. As mentioned in my last post as well, I do have AFIB. I saw the cardiologist today as well. That appointment lead to upping one of the pills I had prescribed last appointment. I also have to have an appointment scheduled for a cat scan of my heart as well. In the end, so far, things aren't the great, but still I view them as still good, as it could be a LOT worse than what I'm going through at the moment. With the support I've got from family, friends, employers, and even people that I don't know, I appreciate everything.
Few more updates. March 6th I went in for my start of chemo, but my AFIB kicked in. Because of that, I had to see a cardiologist and got more meds to take. Right now, chemo is set to start on March 13th, pending the results of testing on March 12th. In the mean time, I did an audio file you can check out at http://www.meechdawg.com/Meech.mp3
Tomorrow, March 3rd, I get my mediport installed in the morning. It's official that March 6th is the 1st day of chemo. I'll be receiving chemo the weeks of March 6th, March 27th, April 17th, and May 8th. With all the bills I've received have been overwhelming and donations have or will be helpful (once I receive the money) to pay the out of pocket expenses as well as loss of income from me not working those weeks. As of today, my anxiety is at an all time high. As I'm more concerned about the mediport install than the actual chemo treatments. Either way, with the love and support from everyone in my life (whether or not I actually do know you), I know I will overcome this and beat cancer.
Thank you all for the love and support. I am constantly sharing my updates on my Facebook page as public so those of you that aren't friends with me on Facebook can still see my story and be up to date on everything. All of the prayers, hugs, and donations are helping me get through this tough time I'm going through. The latest is I have a lung test on February 20th, the mediport is installed on March 3rd, and chemo is to start on March 6th (to my knowledge).