this original blog post was on my old website, posted just two days after I was diagnosed. I felt it was appropriate to keep it as a reminder of how grateful I am to be 100% healthy now in 2014.
This is a strange way to communicate something of such magnitude. Social media truly is engrained in our lives today and I think that the impersonal nature takes away from many relationships. In this case though as odd as it feels to publicy announce something so personal; there is much about this blog post that feels… normal.
First the details of what I recently found out. Please be aware of the fact that this post will include details that may be considered to be graphic, but there is a reason for it and I will explain further down in this post. Roughly 6 weeks ago I noticed that one of my testicles was enlarged. Now as many of you know I spend a lot of time on my bicycle. In the past there have been many days where I have finished a ride and been sore in this area. At first I rationalized that maybe this was just that, a rough day riding my bike. Then I began to think that it was possible that it was always this way. After a few weeks of not seeing improvement and if anything it was worsening, I realized there was a serious issue. The trouble with this is that there was relatively no pain. Not too mention the “hassle” of getting checked out. So here in lies reason #1 of this post. As an athlete I have become very aware of how my body feels and functions and yet it took me 6 weeks to go to the doctor. I urge you whether male or female, to make sure to keep tabs on the very suceptible and sensitive parts of your body that may be affected by this disease. It is never a bad idea to get reassurance from a doctor and find out that you are indeed healthy. The alternative is just not worth the risk. So after going to the doctor I indeed found out that this abnormality is cancer. May 6th 2012, the same day that my wife graduated from college, I found this out.
Here is what I know so far.
1. The Negatives
-I will have surgery this coming Thursday.
-I will then have to take some tests, xrays, etc to find out if the cancer has spread.
-Then the decision will be made on what sort of treatment will start.
-The likelihood of removal and then no treatment has all but been ruled out.
-The stress and burden of what the word “cancer” represents in our society is a pretty rough on family and friends
2. The Positives
–Testicular cancer has one of the highest rates of curability of all types of cancers
–I believe wholeheartedly that God has a purpose for my family and I through all of this and He is sovereign and still completely worthy of my praise, worship, and acknowledgement of how great HE is despite my circumstances.
-I already have been extremely supported, blessed, uplifted, and flooded with messages of those who are already actively involved in being there for my family and I in this time.
-I have already seen how ridiculously strong my relationship with my wife Shannon is in the midst of this news.
-I have been given another reason to cherish every moment that I get to share with those I care about
The list of positives go on. I already know that they tilt in my favor. I am confident and optimistic that this challenge will be overcome and I will be better for it. I know that there will be times that things will be difficult and it could be a long road ahead, but many have overcome this and I will try my best to follow in the footsteps of those who have beat this disease. At this point it is just a dirty word in my opinion. It will never define who I am or what I will do in this life. My plan is to take things day by day and apply what my good friend Dee told me, “work as hard as possible on the uphills, and rejoice on the ride down.”
Here is where I am now. I am thankful and encouraged by those who have already stepped up to support my family. I have an overwhelming urge to talk to each person that I know and give them the details of what I am going through. Not because I crave the attention, but because I cannot conduct my life without being completely transparent almost to a fault. This being true and from the advice of our good friend Erin Buckle, we have set up a way in which I can answer questions, update what is going on with treatment, as well as provide a place for people to coordinate things like meals and babysitting that so many have already offered. The most current information will at this journal http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/derekgarcia. There is no password required, however they do require you to register your email address. The link to the calendar is posted in the story section of the caring bridge site. It can also be found by going to www.carecalendar.org. The calendar ID is 112115 and the security code is 1405.
There is a place on there to send comments. That will be the easiest way for us to communicate rather than text, email, etc. My hope is that this journal will not have to be used for very long and as soon as I have surgery I will be rid of this for good. Please do not be burdened or saddened by this news. Because I know that cancer chose the wrong group of people to mess with. I already have been shown I am not alone in this fight.