May 1st, 2017

No one expects to be diagnosed with cancer, especially when you eat right, exercise regularly and are only 31 years old.

Movember SpokesMo Tarek El Moussa
Real Stories
No one expects to be diagnosed with cancer, especially when you eat right, exercise regularly and are only 31 years old. I have a family and two young kids to provide for; I’m running a business and hosting a TV show. I have a lot of responsibilities in my life, leaving no time for a cancer diagnosis. For years I suffered from minor symptoms that went relatively unnoticed such as, constantly clearing my throat and experiencing swollen lymph nodes. While my doctor reassured me nothing was out of the ordinary, I still had a feeling something wasn’t right, but I never thought it would be cancer. I never performed self-examinations before my diagnosis—and truthfully even if I had, I wouldn’t have known what I was looking for. Everyone thinks their chances are one in a million, just like I did. The unfortunate truth is, there are many cancers that begin affecting people at a young age, and men especially don’t think it’s going to happen to them.
One morning the ‘Flip or Flop’ production team was reading through fan emails and they came across one from a registered nurse in Texas. She noticed a bump on my neck and suspected it was an enlarged thyroid and advised me to get it checked out. I sought out a second opinion and went in for an ultrasound and a biopsy. The results came back a-typical. Luckily, I was a candidate for surgery and scheduled a 90-minute procedure to remove a portion of the mass. Four hours later, I woke up to the news they had removed a malignant tumor. From the moment I woke up from that surgery, my world changed.
I began combing through old medical records to make sure nothing else was overlooked. I came across a physical that listed an “irregular testicular exam.” Worried and unsure what it meant, I called a meeting with my thyroid doctor to discuss my findings. Immediately following the meeting, I went across the street for a testicular ultrasound. A short 30 minutes later, the irregular exam was officially diagnosed as testicular cancer and I scheduled another surgery.
After my surgeries, I utilized medications and hormones to continue my fight and get my body back on track. For much of this time I dealt with fatigue, emotional swings and extreme physical side effects. I couldn’t control my weight; it would fluctuate so much that I didn’t recognize myself in some pictures. The doctors talked me through the procedures and were able to educate me on the science, but no one talked me through the emotional turmoil, the loss of motivation, or the paranoia that comes with every unknown throughout the process. Most importantly, no one told me how to prepare my family for what was to come.
I am happy to report I am now cancer free and in remission. The past few years I’ve been open about discussing my thyroid cancer and how it was discovered. It wasn’t until recently though when my step father was also diagnosed with testicular cancer that I began opening up about my testicular cancer struggle. My advice: Having learned from experience, trust your body and if something doesn’t feel right, get it checked and checked again, until you are sure that all questions have been answered. Educate yourself and examine yourself, it’s that simple. Know Thy Nuts!!
Cancer really made me appreciate the little things in life like sitting on the couch watching TV with my kids or taking them to Disneyland and seeing the happiness on their faces. Now, I hug my kids a little tighter. I call my family more often and I look for the silver lining in any bad situation.