Testicular Cancer Survivor Inspires Young Adults to ‘Get ‘Em Checked’
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Here’s the story of how doctors nearly misdiagnosed testicular cancer for a twenty-something psychologist in the prime of his life, during what he now refers to as ‘the summer of hell.’
But by fusing his maniacal obsession with fitness to his triumphant story of survival, Patrick Ryan was able to transform his negative experience into an awareness movement that’s inspired young people to ‘get ‘em checked.’
“So May 14 I was doing squats in the gym,” Patrick Ryan told the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Tuesday. “I was probably squatting about 1,000 pounds and I started having a pain in my right groin, and I figured that was probably due to maybe a hernia, my weight belt was too tight, anything.”
Ryan is admittedly a fitness fanatic, and clearly much stronger than anyone in the studio as he told his jarring tale.
“I had some pain and I just figured it would go away,” he continued. “So my dad had testicular cancer when he was my age, so that’s always in your mind. You’re worrying about that and you fall within the demographic. The pain persisted, and then finally I went and saw a doctor.”
“How many days before you decided to get it checked?” EB asked.
“I couldn’t sit still. It was like a stomach ache down there if you can understand that and I said ‘listen, I got to go see a doctor.’ So I went and saw a doctor and he felt nothing. They’re looking for these hard nodes on your testicle; very hard, and he felt nothing. He goes ‘everything’s fine. I think you have a slight hernia.’”
It’s very important to note, that everything wasn’t fine. And maybe it’s a good time to break from the story and inform readers Patrick Ryan was just 26-years-old when this nightmare began. More on that in a moment.
“I did the whole turn and cough thing. I coughed about a hundred times and I’m like ‘you really think there’s nothing down there?’” Ryan explained the conversation with his doctor. “He said ‘get an ultrasound. Here’s a prescription. Wait a week. Ice it down. ‘”
“What was the pain level, 1-10, at this point?” Lurch asked.
“Pain level was around an 8,” Ryan responded. “And then when I was sitting still like at home relaxing, watching TV, it was more discomfort. You couldn’t get comfortable. It wasn’t like someone had just hit you down there but it wasn’t very comfortable at all.”
Here’s the painful truth: if you find yourself a few years removed from pounding brew dogs in the basement of a frat house, you’re no longer the infallible warrior you were in high school and college.
This isn’t some fear-mongering ‘it’s time to get serious: your health decisions now could lay your long-term health foundation’ piece. This is just a serious wake-up call – as it was for Patrick – that twenty-somethings are now entering the prime age for becoming a statistic of male susceptibilities. Anyone older is already there.
“But you were aware of the history, plus I saw that amongst white males, it’s like 25 percent more common than other races,” JP said.
“Right, and then when your parent has it, it’s a 33 percent chance their kids will have it,” Ryan. “And I was just telling EB, I’m the youngest child in my family out of three.”
Ryan went on to explain how no sooner than he was diagnosed correctly, he was under the knife to have his cancerous testicle removed.
“Everything’s clear now, and now the whole ‘Get ‘Em Checked’ campaign is a way for people to take their health seriously,” Ryan explained. “It’s not just for testicular cancer, but it has a focus there. It’s for young adults to really follow-through on their physicals.”
“Now is this yours?” EB asked. “Did you start the campaign?”
“Started it,” Ryan said with pride.
‘The Movement’ began as a simple Facebook page Ryan started to organize pictures of support of the cause, taken by family and friends. But it quickly outgrew the limits of Facebook, evolving into the full-fledged ‘Get ‘em Checked’ campaign, a motivator for young men and women to have yearly physical examinations and perform monthly self-exams.
With the help of his friends, Patrick’s spread his empowering message through his website – to which he posts health tips, including work out regimens, healthy pancake recipes, etc. – and the sale of these really awesome t-shirts, which look particularly cool if you’re in shape, like Patrick.
The bottom line is, if you support Patrick Ryan, you support a winner … of cancer. You’re also supporting the awareness of young adults getting checked, so someone can have a better chance of beating cancer, like Patrick.
Support ‘The Movement’ by getting yours checked and spreading the word. It could save someone’s life.
Follow Pat on Twitter if you like being inspired.
Hear Pat’s full inspirational story in this clip below…