Brett Hoffland shared his testicular cancer journey with his TV channel
Welcome to the Bunch of ballers! In this series on ABSOT, I cede control to other testicular cancer survivors and patients who have inspired me with their advocacy and awareness work during and after their diagnosis. This month's feature film is dedicated to Brett Hoffland, who shared his story on his work TV channel. Enjoy!
At 32, cancer was the furthest thing from my mind. Heck, I just got married, bought a house, and got promoted at work. That's a lot of great life events crammed into one year! But cancer didn't care. He was about to turn my whole life upside down.
My dog, the ball cruncher
This has happened to all of us guys - getting hit in the trash. You know what comes next - the terrible stomach ache that lasts for a few minutes. One day in March 2020, my dog jumped on me and it was a direct hit. Cue the stomach pain, and all is well.
But I didn't know I was no good. Fast forward twenty-four hours later, and I realized my left testicle was SOLID. I attributed it to some sort of trauma from the dog incident, but still texted my doctor. He said, "Keep an eye on it and tell me if it doesn't improve."
Well no. So I went to see a urologist. He too attributed it to an injury most likely given the history, but he wanted to get some blood work done, just in case. Since he wanted to do this "just in case", my wife and I were feeling pretty good.
It was until 4 a.m. when my phone went off. It was the results of my blood tests. I woke up to see a little graph. If you were in the green, you were good. Well my number was so far from that green that I knew at that time and I had cancer without even talking to a doctor. Later that morning, the doctor confirmed our greatest fear.
Still, Scooby (my dog) may have saved my life.
Plan, what plan?
I had an orchiectomy on the left side to remove the testis and tumor. My cancer was defined as stage 2a, so the potential for it to spread was real. We prepared for lymph node surgery to reduce this risk of spread, and we just waited for the blood levels of tumor markers to drop. And they did!
I had blood tests every two weeks and felt good. Finally, we went to surgery. But, during the last blood test, the levels of markers increased. We couldn't believe it. We now knew that the only next step in the plan was chemotherapy. I went through three cycles of chemotherapy at the Mayo Clinic, tried to stay positive, and leaned on my amazing support group to get me through the tough days.
During this five month period, #hoffstrong was not just a hashtag. It was a ray of hope for me and for everyone. I never knew how much people cared. But I can truly say that I couldn't have overcome this without the messages of hope and encouragement every day.
On August 17th, I was taken a week from the end of chemotherapy. Remember that pivot I must have gone through when I was thinking of having lymph node surgery instead of chemotherapy? Well, that doubt came back to me.
But my doctor came in and said, "How are you today Brett?" I said, “Oh, I'm pretty nervous”. He replied, “You shouldn't be”. Just then I grabbed my wife's hand and knew that the treatment, but also the support team, made this moment possible.
Cancer can happen to anyone.
I think most of us think cancer is something that happens later in life. Even though we know it can happen at any age, you never want to think that YOU can get it, especially at a younger age. What this taught me is that there is not enough awareness of testicular cancer. I didn't grow up checking my testicles.
As a presenter / journalist, my station was kind enough to post an article about my story. But I didn't want it to be about me. I wanted it to be out of the countless men I can help who wouldn't have verified otherwise. If this story can save a person or change a person's proactive verification habits, it's worth it.
Cancer doesn't have to be the end. I think it's the start of a new life, cherishing the "good" in each day and helping others in need along the way.
Be sure to connect with Brett by visiting him on Twitter- @BrettHoffland, Instagram- bhoffland, Facebook- Brett Hoffland or emailing email@example.com. See you next time, Carpe Scrotiem!
Do you know someone (or even yourself!) Who supports CT awareness and would be willing to share their story? Leave their name, contact and why they should be in this Google form and I will contact them and / or you!
November 13, 2020
About six months before I turned 50, a friend tried to convince me to enter a physique contest. He had just turned 40, and was thrilled to be in the over-40 category because there were fewer guys for him to compete against. He said to me, “Kirk, you can win the over-50 category. There are only a few guys who enter. But, you have no lats or traps—most older dudes don’t. Work on your back and you got it in the bag ! ” I wasn’t too excited to enter a competition with “no competition, ” but I was pretty peeved to hear him say I had no lats or traps. My back was better than that. Although I had no intention to enter the competition, I started doing more single-arm dumbbell rows to work my back. Now, a few years later, it’s one of my favorite dumbbell exercises. Importantly, I’m not trying to break any records when it comes to weight here, like I might have in my younger days. Quality reps at low weight is the bigger focus.
There are versions of the exercise where you see guys use a bench for support, using a hand or even placing a knee on the bench. These have their merits ( although MH sport director Ebenezer Samuel, C. S. C. S. would rather you not put a knee up ). However, I mostly do the version with no assistance from the bench with both feet on the ground as points of contact. This version works your traps, rhomboids, rear delts and rotator cuff groupes musculaires, but you also get some core work, something you greatly need as you get older. Remember, though, that the way do the exercise is subjective to your own abilities. If you need some extra support for balance, don’t hesitate to put a hand down.
tera set up for my preferred variation, pick up a light dumbbell, especially to start. Stand with your feet in a parallel stance about shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbell in a neutral place at your side, as if you would for a hammer curl. Place your free hand behind you, with the back of your hand on the small of your back ( you can also extend your off arm out to balance ). Next, bend over by pushing your butt back and hinging at your waist, with your knees slightly bent. There should be no rounding of the spine, and you should keep your gaze down at the floor in a neutral neck place. Lastly, as you’re hanging onto the dumbbell with your arm pointing to the floor, squeeze your shoulder blades together so your shoulders lock in place and don’t slump.
From this starting position, use your back to pull the dumbbell up without twisting your spine. Pull up as high as you can, pause for a moment at the top and squeeze your shoulder blades together even more. Then release by lowering the dumbbell back to the starting position. tera control my pace, I usually pull up for 2 seconds, squeeze at the top for 2 seconds, then release back to the starting position in 2 seconds.
By doing the dumbbell row unilaterally ( one arm at a time ), you’ll feel yourself being pulled off balance. You must fight with your abs and obliques to maintain balance and stability, which is why I love this exercise so much. Although you won’t be able to load up with as much weight as you would using the bench for stabilization, the extra core work you’ll get makes this version well worth putting in your arsenal of exercises. Try 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps during upper body workouts to get started.
We all know that it’s common for men to skip the doctor until they become sick, injure themselves or are faced with a serious health problem. And a majority of men will postpone seeking care for a few days to see whether they feel any better. It’s the whole ' if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it ' line of thinking.
But there are steps the men in your life can take today to improve their vitality and help prevent health problems down the road. Of course, there are some things that can’t be changed, such as family history and age, but every day choices can have a big impact on their current and future health.
Eating a diet that’s low in fat ( less than sept percent of kcal should come from saturated fats ), cholesterol, and salt, and packed with fresh fruits and vegetables ( two cups of fruit per day; three cups of vegetables per day for men up to age 50 and two and a half cups for men aged 51 and over ), whole céréales and fiber can help improve your health, prevent heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
Try to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Taking a walk, jogging, swimming and mowing the lawn all count. But don’t be a weekend sports warrior. Start slowly if you aren’t normally active and gradually build up. No time ? Research shows that even short bursts of physical activity—as few as 10 minutes of soutenu activity several times a day—can help men improve their health. Talk to your doctor about the right exercise program for you.
It’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight, especially around the waist, can be on your body. Carrying too much body fat forces your heart to work harder and increases your chances of heart disease and stroke, even if you have no other risk factors ! So, try to curb weight gain as you age.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 4, 000 chemicals and is a known cause of cancer. Smoking also increases the likelihood of high blood pressure, heart disease, lung problems and other health problems. And if you think chewing tobacco is safer, think again. Not only is chewing tobacco a known cause of cancer ( carcinogen ), it also contributes to gum disease and tooth loss and may be linked to fertility problems. And, few could argue that chewing and spitting is attractive to a partner. If you smoke or chew, talk to your health care professional about ways to quit. Consider nicotine replacement therapy products that include self-help programs, if appropriate.
Whether it’s pulling out the weed whacker, going for a bike ride or grilling with the neighbors, safety is key. Here are just a few examples : Take care when moving heavy objects. It’s easy to strain yourself when lifting boxes, furniture and other heavy items. Use your knees and legs and not your back for leverage. And ask for help, if you need it. Wear appropriate protective gear for your eyes and ears when using leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other machines at home or work. Excessive exposure to noise is the most common cause of hearing loss. Wear a helmet when you ride a bike or ski and throw on reflective clothing if you go for a run after dark. When grilling, never leave the grill unattended, especially when small children and pets are around, and keep a fire extinguisher handy. The grill should be at least 10 feet from your house or any building. to protect your skin, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and apply ( and reapply ) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that provides protection against UVA and UVB rays.