September 28th, 2014

Mo Bro Andy Thieman shares his cancer story with us and what it means to be growing for Movember.

The Good Fight

Here on Team Wheaties, we are lucky to experience inspirational stories of champion athletes every day.  But when the story of courage and conviction comes from one of our own, we are especially honored to share his story. Wheaties is a proud sponsor of Movember because it helps champions like Andy tell their stories and raise awareness for men’s health across the globe.  

“Exactly four years ago I had cancer, but I didn’t know it yet. It wouldn’t be until a few months later in December that I’d feel the lump. Two weeks after that I was diagnosed with stage 2 testicular cancer. On Christmas Eve, I had the affected testicle removed. Chemo would start just a few short weeks…

The day before chemo began, my nurse called to see how I was feeling. The conversation started with normal holiday niceties, but quickly took a turn. She said she had some bad news. I laughed and said, 'Bad news? How could this get any worse?' She said, 'There’s a nationwide shortage of a very important ingredient of your chemotherapy. We’ll need to go with a different chemo cocktail. It will still kill the cancer, but it’s not as strong. You’ll need to go one more round.'

One more round was five more days of intravenous chemo, with multiple blood tests, more side effects and three more weeks out of work.

I couldn’t believe it. I got angry. I started a blog to document the ordeal. As the blog got some national attention, I used it to raise money for cancer research and demystify the cancer no guy wants. To up the ante, I challenged myself to ride my road bike in my basement, attached to a stationary trainer, every single day through chemo, no matter what. And that’s exactly what I did.

Eventually, my hair fell out, my sweat smelled like chemicals and I was puffy from the steroids. But I rode every single day. And every day, I wrote about the ordeal for the world to see - all in an effort to raise awareness for men’s health issues - and about $34,000 for cancer research.

Fast-forward to the present – over three years later and I’m still cancer free. And I’m now a dad!

My story has a happy ending, and I’m lucky I found the cancer when I did. But the story could have been shorter. Much shorter. My cancer crusade could have come and gone in a matter of weeks, not months.

Had I found the lump even a few days sooner, it could have still been stage 1 (contained within the testicle) and my story would have gone something like this:

Four years ago, I found a lump. It was cancerous, but I found it soon enough so that all I had to do was have the testicle removed. The End.

What could have made that version of events a reality? Awareness. Had I known how important it was to check regularly, I would have caught it sooner. You know what can bring that kind of awareness? A moustache. That’s why Wheaties® team is proud to be involved with Movember and the good it brings to the world. One Mo at a time.”

Andy Thieman is the Creative Lead at General Mills, Inc.

Read more Movember news stories