“I was diagnosed with testicular cancer during my second year of college. At the time, I was actively playing rugby and everything seemed to be going my way. I felt invincible as one should at 20. One night, we were in a nightclub in Galway, having a few drinks when a friend jokingly slapped me right there, and I doubled over in pain. Sure, it’s a sensitive area, but it shouldn’t have hurt that much. I had to leave the nightclub early and by the next morning, the swelling was so severe that I had to visit the doctor. After some scans and tests, the doctor told me they’d need to remove one of my testicles. It was shockingly abrupt: they said it was abnormally swollen, and only after removing it could they determine if it was cancerous. In a strange twist, my mate inadvertently ended up doing me a favor… By the time of my diagnosis, I was already preparing for the worst. However, knowing the statistics for testicular cancer and being an avid poker player, the 95% clearance rate was comforting. The day I had to go into surgery, the surgeon said: We got to remove your testicle today and at some point in the future we will put a fake one in for you because the risk of inf…I was like, ‘No-no! We will put one it in today!’ I never lost my character during the whole process, and I think that was the first time I was quite firm in pushing back against any advice. I was 21 and I couldn’t imagine being asymmetric in any way. The doctor then smiled and said, ‘I guess we will put one in today, then.’ I remember being in the recovery room when the doctor said, ‘Erm, well, not good news.’ I said, ‘Go ahead.’ He said, ‘We have to do a few rounds of chemo…’ Luckily, it was at the end of the college year, so we started almost immediately, and did the whole thing throughout the summer and having to miss out on my J1 was probably the worst thing that happened to me. If there’s one takeaway from my story, it’s the number I mentioned: 95%—or higher if discovered early. You shouldn’t wait for a mate to slap you to get checked. You can check on your own every now and then. And even if you discover something, it’s not all doom and gloom. To be honest with you, having one prosthetic testicle isn’t that big of a deal.”
Michael raised over €23K in the past 3 years for @Movember, you can check out his new fundraiser and follow him and his podcast
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