My back pain began while building a fairly large shop with my dad and brothers. While it seemed to be associated with the construction work we were doing, the pain was soon accompanied by right-side testicular pain and a sharp pain in my right leg. After a week of experiencing these new symptoms, I saw my primary care doctor. I was checked for a hernia and given a round of oral steroids and a steroid shot, which seemed to help.
I managed the continued pain with ibuprofen and heat. Seven months after the onset of my symptoms, while at Summer Fire School in Missouri, I woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating back pain that prevented me from sleeping. I attributed it to sitting all day during class but followed up with my doctor a week after my return.
This time, I had an MRI and CT scan. The tests revealed a mass in my abdomen, particularly on my ureter, and fluid backing up into my right kidney. After seeing a general surgeon, oncologist, and having more tests, I was diagnosed with stage II testicular cancer.
From there, I had my first surgery to remove the diseased testicle, and on my 26th birthday, I started chemotherapy. A second surgery was done to remove the mass from my abdomen.
I am now back at work at the firehouse. Firefighters pride ourselves on being able to help others, but we are not exempt from illness or injury. Our lives matter too, and if something doesn’t feel right, it’s so important to get it checked out before it may be too late.
- Pain in back, testicle, and leg
FREE Online Learning for Firefighters
The platform includes our 3 Steps Detect training along with 10 short lessons covering topics such as compiling your medical history, identifying and tracking symptoms, and how to prepare for doctor appointments. Firefighters can access the platform by clicking the link below.