Tuesday, January 22, 2019

PCL45: Getting Back into the Swing of Things Post-Testicular Cancer

Begin 2019 By Taking Resolving to Continue to Take Care of Your Health, Post-Testicular Cancer


After learning in December that I am still cancer-free, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I can continue to create awareness and support surrounding post-cancer symptoms and how to be proactive in treating them. Going through something like testicular cancer does a number on the body and while being in remission is a wonderful feeling, it’s likely some parts of you (both inside and out) may not function the same as before.

Have no fear - there are plenty of ways to help you get back to your “old self,” and regain the confidence you need to live your best life, testicular cancer-free (though I do firmly maintain that the Uniballer life is the best life)!

Take care of your mental health


My #10YearChallenge
Despite the smiles, both of these Justins were facing
depression around when these pictures were taken
Battling a disease like cancer can do a number on not only your physical health but your mental health as well. The great news is, there are plenty of cancer support groups designated specifically for survivors to talk out their feelings, both happy and otherwise, to aid in the recovery journey. I specifically recommend the eTC Express program, which you can read about my experiences with here.

It’s completely normal to feel a mixture of emotions even after being told you’re in remission - I’ve certainly run through a gamut of feelings, post-cancer. Whether it’s excitement because you’re free of this disease, fear because you don’t know what may come next, or even anger that the cancer took away a part of your life, discussing these feelings in a support group with others who have gone through the same experiences can help you to be at peace.

Don’t be discouraged in the bedroom


While the diagnosis of testicular cancer does not mean your sex life is over, the methods for treating testicular cancer can cause some side effects that may impact performance. Those who are in remission from testicular cancer have often times undergone a surgery such as an orchiectomy or RPLND (Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection - a surgery to remove affected lymph nodes).

These procedures can leave men suffering from side effects such as low sexual desire or erectile dysfunction. It’s important to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor in order to figure out the best course of action for you.

Continue to be proactive about your testicular health


If you want to take it a step further,
make a super inspirational meme
This one may seem obvious, but remaining proactive even after you’re scans come back clear is the best way to ensure they stay that way! I’ve posted time and time again about testicular self-exams and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of this when it comes to early detection. Perhaps the biggest silver lining in having gone through testicular cancer is that your self-exam will take half as long now!

Making this a part of your monthly routine and choose a place such as the shower to perform it. For those who are forgetful, #Takea2nd4theBoys will add a recurring calendar appointment to your phone, so there’s no excuse. The only thing worse than testicular cancer is not being proactive about the measures taken to help prevent it. 

Visiting your doctor for follow up appointments and being vocal about any changes (in your physical or mental health) you’ve noticed is also necessary if you want to stay ahead of the game. You are your own advocate and you know your body best. 

If something doesn’t feel right, address it ASAP. You don't want to drop the ball on your continued health.


This post was written in collaboration with Hims, a company with the mission statement that reads, "We hope to enable a conversation that’s currently closeted. Men aren’t supposed to care for themselves. We call bullshit. The people who depend on you and care about you want you to. To do the most good, you must be well.”



Nothing in this article should be considered as medical advice, as I am not a doctor. Always be sure to discuss any concerns with a medical professional. 



A self exam is how most cases of testicular cancer are detected early. Click the image for video directions or click here for a larger version


Click the ABSOT logo below to subscribe to the mailing list for the new blog posts, latest testicular cancer information, and self exam reminders!


https://aballsysenseoftumor.us18.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=b4883398e11f09a7628a9ac58&id=b967eb48f2

Don't forget to follow and share ABSOT on social media by clicking the icons below!



ABSOT is endorsed by the Laughter Arts and Sciences Foundation, a registered 501.c.3 charity. To make a tax-deductible contribution to help help continue ABSOT's work with testicular cancer awareness and men's health, click the image below.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

BOB11: Jon Barr - Here Be Barr on YouTube

Jon Barr Shared His Experience with Testicular Cancer on YouTube - It's Been Viewed Over 36k Times!


Welcome to the Band of Ballers! In this series on ABSOT, I’m turning over control to some other ballsy testicular cancer survivors and patients who have inspired me with their work in advocacy and awareness during and after their diagnosis. This month’s feature is all about Jon Barr, a travel vlogger, who shared his testicular cancer journey on YouTube. Enjoy!

I was on top of the world and living in Mexico. It was mid-April of 2017 and I had spent over a month in the largest city in the Western Hemisphere, living with my girlfriend and making travel vlogs for my growing YouTube audience.

It’s amazing how one day can completely change your life


I had just finished filming a vlog about my experience volunteering at a school for the blind in the Condesa neighborhood of the city. I was voicing my outro clip on camera, and right as I completed what I wanted to say, I felt a sharp pain shoot up from the right side of my groin to my lower abdomen.

I even captured that moment on camera, which you can watch on the video below that I made about my testicular cancer ordeal, around the 1:04 mark.




It hurt so much, I had to sit down on a nearby chair. My first instinct was, this was from squatting to much at the gym that afternoon. I told my girlfriend and I noticed how concerned she was from the get-go - maybe it was the female instinct. I convinced her that I was fine, and that I would get home, lay down and it would go away.

We returned to our apartment about 15 minutes later, and I went to lie down. I had planned a video shoot the next day at some Mexican pyramids. I didn’t want anything to stop me from joining this shoot. I got back up one hour later and the pain was still there. My girlfriend insisted that I go to the hospital to see a doctor. I later learned that she had an ex-boyfriend who died of testicular cancer 10 years earlier, and any symptom of this nature was an automatic alarm for her.

Even though I didn’t know about her past with testicular cancer, I still agreed to go to see a doctor


Hat skills on fleek
We walked to a private hospital a few blocks from our Airbnb. First, a general doctor came to see me and asked about my symptoms. He felt around and concluded that I potentially had a hernia from lifting to heavy at the gym. While I wasn’t thrilled with his prediction (I had a hernia years earlier as a child), I was willing to accept it. To prove his hypothesis, I had to go upstairs for an ultrasound. I later learned that this scan was critical. While his initial diagnosis was wrong, it did lead to them finding what came next.

I laid on a cold metal table on the second floor of a Mexico City hospital and met with a technician, who luckily spoke fluent English. He applied the ultrasound wand to my groin, which was not exactly a pleasant experience. As I waited for him to find the “hernia,” I saw his eyes widen. He said, “This isn’t normal... I found something else.” I replied, “What is it?” He exclaimed, “You see this, right there? That’s a tumor.”

The words stung, I was in complete shock. I felt like I just got blindsided by a truck. I was speechless. He explained he would have to call in a urologist. The rest of the night at the hospital was a bit of a blur. The urologist explained what would likely come next: I would need blood work, a CT scan to see if the likely cancer spread and I had to make a decision if I wanted treatment in Mexico or the United States. The decision was easy, and I flew home to NYC the next afternoon.

Back in New York City, my testicular cancer journey moved along swifty


The doctors at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, got me in the day after my flight arrived. A second ultrasound was done, confirming the tumor, and I did blood work, chest x-rays and a CT scan that afternoon.

The hardest part of any medical situation is not knowing. The days I waited for the results of my blood work and CT scan to see if cancer spread to other parts of my body was the most agonizing of my life. By the end of that weekend, I decided I was ready for whatever came my way, good or bad and that I would take it one step at a time.

My doctor called on Monday and asked me to get out a pen and paper. I was locked in for the news. The bloodwork was okay, and the CT scan showed no spread. It was the best news someone in my situation could receive.

I still had one final hurdle - surgery to remove the tumor, along with my right testicle

That Friday, I went to NYU for the first surgery of my adult life and it went smoothly. There was one last bit of information I needed, the results of the biopsy to find out what kind of tumor it was, and if I would need radiation or chemotherapy.

I was walking on a Monday afternoon around the West Village of Manhattan. My phone rang, I recognized the area code, and it was my Doctor. He said, “I have your results. Good news. It’s a seminoma, the slowest moving of the cancers. We see no reason to treat you any further. We’ll put you on active surveillance for the next few years, but the odds are you’ll never need anything else done to you.”

Again, it was one of the best case scenarios, outside of the small percentage of men who have a benign tumor. While I wasn’t thrilled because I was still at a small risk of a recurrence, this good news was cause for celebration. I kissed my girlfriend, and went home to drink a Brooklyn Lager beer. I still remember the brand for some reason… Beer never tasted so refreshing.

Fast forward a year and a half, and I’m still cancer free


So much travel envy
With my role as a YouTube Creator, I have made a few videos about my experience, including the one above that has over 36,000 views. My videos encourage men to take care of themselves and listen to their bodies. (Editor's Note: He should connect with fellow Band of Baller alumni, Kyle Smith of Check15. These two Uniballers could grab the attention of YouTube by storm!)

If my girlfriend didn’t push me to go to the hospital, the cancer could have spread by the time I caught it. Before, I didn’t check myself in the shower monthly, but now I am a keen advocate for early detection. I was a 31-year old healthy young man who went to the gym. Cancer can affect anyone, and testicular cancer is the most common one for young men. It’s very treatable, but you need to be vigilant to catch it early before complications can you cost you time, money, and even your life.

Be sure to connect with Jon by visiting him at www.twitter.com/herebebarr, www.instagram.com/here.be.barr/, and www.youtube.com/herebebarr/. Until next time, Carpe Scrotiem!

Know someone (or even yourself!) who is supporting TC awareness and would be willing to share their story? Drop their name, contact, and why they should be featured into this Google Form and I’ll reach out to them and/or you!



A self exam is how most cases of testicular cancer are detected early. Click the image for video directions or click here for a larger version


Click the ABSOT logo below to subscribe to the mailing list for the new blog posts, latest testicular cancer information, and self exam reminders!


https://aballsysenseoftumor.us18.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=b4883398e11f09a7628a9ac58&id=b967eb48f2

Don't forget to follow and share ABSOT on social media by clicking the icons below!



ABSOT is endorsed by the Laughter Arts and Sciences Foundation, a registered 501.c.3 charity. To make a tax-deductible contribution to help help continue ABSOT's work with testicular cancer awareness and men's health, click the image below.

Monday, January 7, 2019

PCL44: A Look Back on 2018

New Year, Same Me: Reflecting on the Past Year of Testicular Cancer Awareness Work and Setting Goals for 2019



Generally speaking, I try to avoid writing reflective posts that have no actionable takeaways. However, I feel like after being in 2019 for a week, it’s a good time to reflect back on 2018, while also looking forward to the upcoming year.

"Four score and seven years ago... Brothers talked about
regular self exams"
Those 365 days made up quite a momentous year, both in my awareness/advocacy work and in my own continued personal healing. Since this is a recap of a bunch of articles I’ve already written, I’ll be presenting this post in a ‘Listicle’ format, so feel free to click to the links to read the whole post.

Although, a more appropriate term might be a… Test-icle.

2018 was my busiest year yet on the testicular cancer awareness and advocacy front


  • In late March, I launched the Band of Ballers series, highlighting other advocates for their efforts in raising awareness in testicular cancer. In the months since then, I’ve had the privilege of sharing eleven different stories of some incredible people, with more to come. 
  • Throughout April (testicular cancer awareness month) and June (men’s health awareness month), I surveyed over 500 men to discover what really happens with testicular exams and discussions about self-exam at the doctor’s office. I’ve left the survey open since then and accumulated nearly 700 responses. Now, the statistics stand at saying on that only 46% of the men had their testicles examined at their last physical (down from 51% originally), and 80% were not told how to do a self-exam (as opposed to 78% previously). 
  • In April, I was able to attend the HealtheVoices conference through Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The connections I made there have continued to flourish to this day and I hope to be there again this year!
  • One of my most shining moments was winning WEGO Health Award for Hilarious Patient Leader in October. Somehow, I’ve managed to trick many people into thinking that endless ball puns is worthy of recognition. Earlier in the year, ABSOT was also recognized as the Best Cancer Awareness and Advocacy Blog by I Had Cancer.

Quite the ballsy headline, no?

Beyond my testicular cancer awareness efforts, I had many special moments in my personal cancer journey


  • In June and December, I received two good follow-up scans - no active cancer in my body! This is definitely a major plus. In 2019, I’ll only have bloodwork and won’t have a scan until December (or possibly January 2020)!
  • I spent the majority of the first half of the year taking care of my mental health, through a combination of antidepressants, regular exercise, and writing. Although I never got back around to resuming therapy, it’s always on my radar as an option if I feel the need. 
  • At my December scan, it was also found that my Vitamin D was low, which can also contribute to mood swings and memory issues. I’m now on a supplement that is supposed to help, and it feels like it might be helping. 
Hitting the smize in a Bristol-Myers Squibb video
  • I opened up a lot about what it means to live life after a cancer diagnosis, including regular posts on Cure Voices and working with Bristol-Myers Squibb to share my perspective in their Life with Cancer video series that aims to help raise awareness of life after diagnosis by sharing the stories of patients and those who support them.

Looking towards 2019 in the testicular cancer awareness space


New Years Ball-Checkin' Eve
  • To be honest, I don’t have many “big goals” for 2019. I want to continue doing what I am doing and help improve on the work I’ve already done. 
  • In late 2018, I became a weekly columnist for the Good Men Project and a brand ambassador for Zeus Beard. These two additional roles are vital pieces of the puzzle as we move into 2019, as it helps me reach my “target market” with more regularity and ease. Both organizations have been so welcoming and understanding of my goals and I am excited to see what these opportunities hold. 
  • In another new role at the latter half of 2018, I joined the Board of Directors for the Crush it for Curtis Foundation. Now in 2019, my ‘title’ is officially Director of Men's Health Programs, and will be more solidified as the organization begins to get more involved in the men’s health space
  • The results from the aforementioned survey still are bothering me. A self-exam saved my life and I find it ridiculous that it’s not a common occurrence and talking point in physical exams. A big reason for this may be that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against them for a variety of reasons, including “unnecessary testing.” However, if a testicular lump is detected, a scrotal ultrasound is done, which does not have any harmful side effects. The USPSTF also used to recommend against both mammograms and prostate PSA tests, but they were overturned. There are a variety of advocates working to do the same for testicular examinations, and I want to help join this force. 
  • Finally, I am going to be focusing on getting the PSA into high schools, starting with the school district I currently work in. While the production of the video is awesome in and of itself, it’s not serving its primary purpose of educating high school students by just sitting on YouTube. 

The ball may have dropped on New Years Eve, but I’ve only begun to crack the nut on my testicular cancer mission




A self exam is how most cases of testicular cancer are detected early. Click the image for video directions or click here for a larger version


Click the ABSOT logo below to subscribe to the mailing list for the new blog posts, latest testicular cancer information, and self exam reminders!


https://aballsysenseoftumor.us18.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=b4883398e11f09a7628a9ac58&id=b967eb48f2

Don't forget to follow and share ABSOT on social media by clicking the icons below!



ABSOT is endorsed by the Laughter Arts and Sciences Foundation, a registered 501.c.3 charity. To make a tax-deductible contribution to help help continue ABSOT's work with testicular cancer awareness and men's health, click the image below.