Mo Bro Alex Soo
Mo Bro Alex SooImage by: Alex Soo
Mo Bro Alex Soo
Mo Bro Alex Soo
5 April 2022

I Woke Up on the Ground - a Testicular Cancer Story

3 minutes read time

I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer at the age of 33 on October 2nd, 2019.

It all started with a backache in my lower left rear flank for about a month, which I assumed was a kidney stone. After an ultrasound and biopsy, I received a confirmed diagnosis of embryonal carcinoma. In November 2019, I underwent a very long and painful chemotherapy process that lasted through January 2020. Blood tests and scans confirmed that the chemotherapy killed and significantly shrunk the cancer tumors.

Due to the COVID pandemic, my RPLND and orchiectomy surgeries were delayed from April to June. After completing the surgeries on June 23, 2020, I was left to recover alone in the hospital with a new 30-inch incision, but light 80 lymph nodes and a right testicle. I had to learn how to walk again.

After a day of being discharged, I celebrated my son Theo’s birthday on July 1st, but just three short days later, I blacked out on the top floor of my home, near Theo's bedroom. I woke up on the ground staring at the toys underneath his bed. I thought that it was the end. My wife called my neighbor, a doctor, and 911. As I laid on the ground, the paramedics pumped me full of fluid but couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Every time they would try to lift me, I blacked out. My blood pressure was too low to read. Eventually, I was brought to the ambulance and taken to the ER where they found internal bleeding. I spent the next few days in the hospital getting blood transfusions and monitoring to see if emergency surgery was needed. I was physically broken and terrified. One of the things that got me through this experience was the realization that I needed to live for my son. I needed to be his daddy. So I kept on breathing and existing.

I recovered and was discharged on July 7th, 2020. After a few other bumps in the road, I was declared officially in remission in September of 2020.

Physically, the treatment was brutal. As someone who considered themselves physically fit, it deteriorated me rapidly. I experienced some mild neuropathy in both my feet up to my ankles, in my hands up to my palms, and some tinnitus in both ears. Although I still have some numbness, I consider myself relatively lucky in how much I have recovered. I am dedicated to achieving a level of physical fitness beyond where I was when I was diagnosed. This goal has helped me identify other hobbies like cycling and rowing.

The mental journey was and continues to be hard. The key tool I learned was how to consider the difference between an event, and our emotional reaction to an event. It's okay to feel every stab of every feeling, but what we are judged on is how we ultimately act upon our emotions. There are those who either choose to be victims, or survivors. I like to style myself as the latter.

Testicular Cancer is unique. It's not just about a disease, it's about the very core of our rewarding. Each year there are more of us. Each year there are survivors. And each year some will embark on their next journey too, like my friend Andres Sharnoff, a Mo Bro who passed away last year from TC. If we all band together as a brotherhood, an alumni of sorts, then we will all be able to support each other during whatever phase of the journey we are on.

A huge part of my recovery has been due to the support of Movember and the Testicular Cancer Foundation (TCF).


Awareness: Testicular Cancer is the #1 cancer in males aged 15 - 34. Roughly 10,000 men are diagnosed in the US every year. 99% survive if caught early.

Education: Self-Exams. Talking to Your Family and Doctor. Online Resources. What Happens if I'm Diagnosed?

Support: Movember’s Nuts & Bolts online tool can help with navigating your TC journey. Additionally, TCF has a support network group that is open to those who need it and are united by a common desire to help each other.