Jaymee and Dave Franknecht Movember Testicular Cancer
Jaymee and Dave FranknechtImage by: Movember
Jaymee and Dave Franknecht Movember Testicular Cancer
12 April 2021

Dave and Jaymee’s Testicular Cancer Journey

Dave and Jaymee’s testicular cancer journey
Jaymee Franknecht
5 minutes read time

It was a beautiful day in October of 2018. We were in the car driving to see some family and Dave casually mentioned that he felt a hard lump in his testicle. I could tell he was uncomfortable about it, but all I could do was ask him a bunch of questions, when did it start? How does it feel? Does it hurt? Are you bruised? Did you break it? Was that even possible?He couldn’t answer the questions, which made me realize he felt like there was something seriously wrong.

As a doctor in the medical field, I like to take care of things as soon as possible and get answers to problems the most accurate way I know how. I am a fixer, a doer, so the next morning I started making calls to get him an appointment with a urologist. Luckily, we were able to get an appointment rather quickly to see Dr. Berman. I knew I had to go with him for support but had no intention of going into the appointment. They called him back as I sat down in the waiting room amongst a bunch of men, curious about what Dave was going to come out and report. But in a short amount of time, Dave peeked his head around the corner and gestured for me to come with him.

We sat down in the doctor’s office and I couldn’t help myself and grabbed his hand. That’s when we heard it. Dave likely had testicular cancer. I couldn’t imagine how Dave felt or what was going through his head. Since I work in the medical field, I know that after you give a patient a serious diagnosis, most of what you say next falls on deaf ears. There is a processing period that takes place and the ability to absorb information suffers. I knew it was my time to step up and be the support system. I listened intently as the doctor began drawing diagrams, explaining next steps, making a plan. We knew what we had to do.

Shortly after Dave’s appointment with the urologist we had him set up to go for scans, semen analysis, and to meet with an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. We needed to get this taken care of, and we needed to do it fast. Within a few short (but to us felt long) days, he was scheduled for outpatient surgery for tumor removal. After the short surgery, the doctor came out and told me Dave did great and that the tumor was gone. We were ecstatic! We knew Dave wasn’t in the clear yet, but we were happy that the surgery has been a success.

We got the all clear and everything was going great until Dave had a routine blood test follow up in February 2019 with his oncologist at MSK. I was at work and saw Dave’s name pop up. He rarely calls me during the day, so I knew something was up. Dave’s tumor markers were rising and he was going to have to start receiving chemotherapy treatment as soon as possible.

March 11th, 2019 was the first day of chemo. He was there every day for five days, then was given a two-week rest. The cycle was repeated four times. Dave’s nurses were nothing short of phenomenal. They made sure he was comfortable and as relaxed as he could be. They became like family, each day welcoming us with smiling faces. Sometime between the first and second cycle there was one day that will stick in my mind for the rest of my life. The reality officially set in. My husband had testicular cancer. He was losing his hair. He said, “Jaymee look” and ran his hand through his hair and showedme a massive clump in his hand. He laughed. I had to choke back tears.

He asked me to shave his head in the bathroom of our apartment. I sat him down in a chair, put a towel around his neck and told him he was in good hands at “Salon Jaymee.” Shaving my husband’s head nearly caused me to break down, but I took one look at my husband’s face and I knew I could be brave. I needed to be his support, his cheerleader. I held my head up high and remained stoic, choking back tears. Look at what my brave, strong,handsome man was going through. If he can kick cancer’s ass with a smile on his face, I could handle a little haircut.

The next 12 weeks were filled with ups and downs but like the warrior he is Dave took it like a champ. I couldn’t have been prouder to be his wife. As a wife, trying to fully grasp what my husband was going through was physically impossible. This was his manhood we were talking about. At first it was an extremely uncomfortable thing to talk about with family and friends. But now it is a part of regular conversation. To talk about it is to spread awareness. To be open about it is to let other men know that it is not something to be embarrassed about. You need to know what’s normal for you and if something changes, speak up.

One thing that consistently popped into our thoughts while going through this process, and still does today, are issues with fertility. Were we going to be able to have children? Was Dave going to be able to produce viable semen after surgery and chemo? The doctors explained the risks to us and had Dave go to the fertility clinic multiple times so they can monitor his sperm count. At first, Dave said it was a rather odd experience, but now he knows what to expect. Now that he is over a year post treatment, the doctors say that his sperm production is back to normal and no issues with fertility are expected!

Being involved in the Movember community lets women and men alike know they have support and people to talk to. Mo Sisters are just as important as Mo Bros. We have to be there to support our Movember counterparts going through tough times, or even good times, in any way we can. Dave is now cancer free for almost two years and we are proud and honored to share our story to help others know they are not alone.