Monday, July 8, 2013

Day 250 - A Trip to the Urologist

"You have cancer" were words we never thought we'd hear from a urologist today.  The "c-word" we never wanted to hear again.  A mass we never wanted to find and a specialist we never wanted to see.  Dan has cancer.  Again.

It started last week when Dan found a "lump" that prompted us to interrupt our doctor's California vacation with a frantic text.  She advised us to head to the ER so off we went.  Now, last weekend was not just any weekend for us.  We happened to be in northwestern PA at my storied family reunion so we made our way from the family campsite to the local hospital for an exam.  The doctor there referred us to a urologist to take a further look at the "mass" after he ruled out some simpler causes.  He dropped the "c-word" and discharged us back to camp.  Needless to say, our spirits were shot, but we did our best to muster up some strength to put this news aside and enjoy our weekend with beloved family and friends.  We interrupted our doctor in California one more time and she set us up with a urologist appointment this afternoon.    It was a great distraction up in PA, but we were ready to get home and get some answers.

Here's what we know:  Dan has a small to medium mass in his left testicle.  It is most likely cancer.  The way to deal with masses there is to surgically remove the testicle and then biopsy the mass to plan subsequent treatments and/or observations.  Testicular cancer has at least a 90% cure rate with minimal changes to life after surgery; however, there is a "wrinkle" (doctor's word) given Dan's "history".  Sometimes a mass in the testicles turns out to be lymphoma (a similar type of blood cancer to leukemia that presents as a tumor/mass).  This is unusual in most people, but given Dan's "history", the risk of lymphoma hiding there is slightly elevated.  The doctor today was confident that the tumor looks consistent with testicular cancer.  We don't want Dan to have testicular cancer, but we really don't want him to have lymphoma - and we won't know for sure until after the surgery and the biopsy results come back.

We got home a few hours ago and are still processing the fact that Dan has cancer again.  We are happy that it doesn't appear to be related to his previous cancer, but are devastated at another set-back from normalcy.  We are anxious about the surgery, the biopsy results and any possible radiation/treatment Dan might need to kick this thing for good.  We will likely "have a urologist" now and can add that to another team of specialists who already look after our dear Dan.  We can expect CT scans in our future and close observation of another part of Dan we didn't know we needed to observe.  We spent the afternoon in a new ER on Friday and a new building at Georgetown today.  Dan is having his first surgery.  We are tired.  We are exhausted from worrying and from speculating.  We are still looking forward to the two-week stretch without seeing a doctor.  We are hopeful that this will be in the past next week at this time and Dan can get back to recovering from the bone marrow transplant he had just 8 months ago.  We are optimistic that ALL will be well, just a little later than sooner.

Dan is doing great.  He's feeling better than ever.  Thankfully he found the mass and fortunately this cancer is curable.  The surgery is not scheduled yet but will be sometime later this week.  It will be outpatient and hopefully our summer plans aren't interrupted.  We can't wait to see our niece baptized this weekend, to gather with friends for a long weekend in a lake house later this month, to spend quality time with family at the beach, and witness some great friends get married in August.  We know we are loved and have so many people carrying us on this journey.  Thanks for your continued prayers and extra muscle strength as we climb up another hill on our way to the top.       


  1. I really pray for you that this ordeal will conclude with a happy ending.

    all the best,

    Tim C.

  2. Thoughts and prayers are with you both. You are a fighter Dan and you have awesome wife to turn too.

  3. So sorry to hear the c-word again being put before you, Dan, and Hanna. I will be praying Jesus' heart give you strength and healing.

  4. From one Daniel Patrick to another... if I had a sliver of the faith that you and Hanna are blessed with, my faith would be huge!! You have all the F words you need... "faith", "family", "friends"... and I don't think anyone of us would hold it against you if you uttered others ones that I won't put on this blog :)

    Thank you both for sharing your story... it provides more strength than you will ever know...

    Lots of prayers to you...

  5. I always find the proper words difficult especially during posts such as this....but I do want to say that it was really great to see you both and enjoy all those wonderful F words your friend (brodough) mentioned "faith, family and friends" and like Wanda said..."Just another bump in the road"....our continued PRAYERS as you approach this hurdle

  6. Dan and Hanna:

    We are so sorry that there is another wrinkle in your recovery. Your strength is amazing and we pray that this is just another bump in the road. We pray for you every day. There has to be a clean bill of health soon. St. Peregrine has to be sick of me by now.

    Love you, Helen and Bob

  7. Thoughts and prayers are with you both. As difficult as I am sure it is for you to share this, know that every word strengthens you and all of us, and puts hope and faith back into this world.

  8. Praying for a quick recovery for Dan! And a quick return to your fun summer plans to keep those spirits high! Love, John & Ann Fischer