Aussie Couple’s Pregnancy Joy Following Testicular Cancer Surgery and Chemo
Anna and her husband Ben* had only been trying to fall pregnant for 3 months, when a niggling doubt caused Ben to perform a self-check on his testicles.
“I know that 3 months is not long at all but I guess it was enough to worry him,” explains Anna. “He did a self check one night in the shower and noticed that one testicle was larger than the other and also harder. In hindsight he also remembers 6 months before, he had occasionally felt a low-grade, dull ache.
He actually went to the doctor and was diagnosed [with testicular cancer]without me knowing. I think he didn’t want to worry me before he knew for sure. One day when I returned home from work, he sat me down and broke the news to me. I was devastated and was also in shock. I had all these questions that I wanted to ask but couldn’t because I didn’t know where to start. It was supposed to be such an exciting time for us, trying for our first baby but this news was the last thing I was expecting.”
“I was concerned about his fertility. Selfishly, it was one of the biggest things I was worried about. He, however was not as concerned as I was. I guess he had bigger things to worry and focus on. We were advised to bank some sperm if we had time, which we did. We did it the very next day.”
“His oncologist had told us not to try for a baby at least 6 months after chemo. He also said that fertility shouldn’t be an issue as he was to receive a once off high dose of Carboplatin and this chemo shouldn’t cause infertility. However, I tried to look up as much information as possible and the information and studies I read had varying information. A lot of studies I read had indicated that Carboplatin could cause infertility, other resources said not to try for a baby for 2 years! Others said it would be fine… it was so overwhelming. “
Ben underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the chemotherapy was scheduled for a month later. During the month before Ben’s chemo, much to the couple’s surprise Anna fell pregnant. Unfortunately, at 8 weeks gestation the couple lost the baby.
“It was such a rollercoaster of emotions. However, 5 months later we are pregnant again,” Anna reveals.
“I am so lucky that I haven’t had much morning sickness. I have occasional nausea but that’s about it! I wish I had more symptoms just to reassure myself that everything is ok. We are so excited about this baby. I feel like nothing else in this world matters now. We are however, cautious of getting to excited because we know that bad things can happen.”
Anna and Ben hope that the benefit of sharing their story will be twofold: to encourage men to self-check their testicles, and also give hope to couples in a similar circumstance.
“I think men my husband’s age (mid 20s to 30) don’t ever think something like this can happen to them. They almost feel so healthy they think they are invincible. In fact, this type of cancer is most common in men who are at the age where they want to start a family. I would encourage men to self check routinely and always see a doctor if something doesn’t feel right. My husband was lucky that he found it early and acted quick.
I also just wanted women to hear my story because I was desperately trying to find any cases similar to mine which had a happy ending. I hope if someone in my situation searches the internet will come across my story and have some hope.”
*The couple’s first names only have been used by request, to protect their privacy.