Joseph Marino proves that it only takes1
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 report is about Joseph Marino, who founded OnlyTakes1. Enjoy!
In January 2004, I was a 17 year old high school student. My only worries in the world were surfing, playing guitar, knowing where the next backyard party was going, and who was coming to pick me up.
Early one morning before school, I was surfing with a group of friends at Torrance Beach. I was on the surf team and it allowed me to surf for my first period and get a grade for it. The waves were okay, the beach wasn't too crowded and I was counting the waves until I had to get out of the water and rush for my next lesson.
I remember taking my last wave, making a turn, then slipping off my board. Well that little slip knocked the board over to the side and hit me right in my nuts. No fun… and the pain in my guts told me it was time to go to school.
A few days later, I was in the doctor's office with a sinus infection - a common occurrence while surfing and staying late. But I remember that my testicles were still hurting, even more in the left. At the end of the appointment, my doctor asked, "Well, can I do something else for you?" I swallowed my pride and asked him to take a look at my testicle.
After about five seconds of examining my left testicle, I was immediately referred to a specialist upstairs.
I remember stepping into the elevator thinking, "Great, now someone else must be smelling my balls."
I got out of the elevator and arrived. The door to the waiting room opened and the doctor greeted me. After a quick exam, he told me to call my parents. A quick phone call home and a bunch of questions I couldn't answer, my father was on his way. The doctor's office was interesting. From what I remember… It was not like your GP's office. It was different. And everyone was serious.
About twenty minutes later, my father arrived. I remember hearing him check in with the receptionist, then walk to the office where the doctor and I were sitting. He had that blank look on his face, but he didn't say much. That's where the doctor dropped the bomb.
“I'm pretty sure your son has testicular cancer. I would like to operate tomorrow to remove the left testicle. You are welcome for a second opinion, but I am very confident, even without a blood test or ultrasound.
It was unreal. It was blurry. The words echoed. I don't even remember leaving that office.
Two days later, my parents and I were sitting in the urology center waiting room at UCLA Medical Center in Westwood. This place looked and felt different. It was cold and sterile, but the huge waiting room had large sofas and armchairs.
After a few blood tests and an ultrasound, we were finally called back. We met a doctor by the name of Dr .. Mark Litwin, a veteran and master of his craft. This guy was everything - strictly professional, but also a testicular cancer survivor himself, diagnosed at 18.
Dr Litwin said: “Today is Wednesday. I'll give you tomorrow to think it over and digest it, but I'll see you on Friday morning, we'll release it. Okay? See you Friday. It's going to be OK,"
Friday morning came quickly. I remember sitting in the back of my mom's car, my parents in the front seat. Quiet. The pre-op was usual. Cold. Quiet. Dress. Hairnet thing. Dr Litwin met me, went through the procedure, and then asked me if I had ever considered a prosthesis. I laughed and remember telling him "No, that's a fake advertisement". He laughed and said he would see me inside. I remember lying on the table, feeling the really good medicine they pushed, and Dr Litwin asked me if I had changed my mind about the prosthesis.
"Of course, let's do it."
Waking up after this operation is weird.
You feel good, in terms of mobility. It has nothing to do with knee surgery or removal of the tonsils. You just can't laugh or you will be reminded that there is a stitched hole in your abdomen. I was in a daze. A fog. I remember Dr .. Litwin watching me, my parents standing there by my bedside. Then I remember hearing the doctor say, “It's definitely cancer. You just have to know what type. The pathology will take about nine days. "
They loaded me into the car and sent me home. I was given crutches but I was on my feet and moving within a day or two. Then one day the phone rang. It was Wednesday, only four days since my operation. It was Dr Litwin. He said, "It's non-seminoma testicular cancer, and you'll meet an oncologist on Monday." You will be in good hands ”.
Monday morning we were at UCLA again. This time, we were in the oncology center waiting room, with large sofas, music, bandanas and hats covering bald heads. Lots of people were sleeping and some couldn't even sit up. More blood was drawn. Then we went to our own room to hear what the next year was going to be like…
It was then that Dr. Robert Figlin entered.
Dr. Figlin is the type of doctor you would want to go to war with. And that's what it was - a war on that shit in my body. He reminded me of a major, an army general. It was his team, his program and his rules… exactly the guy I wanted to lead. This guy was strictly professional. Figlin explained it to me - he told me to stick to his plan and not deviate. While we had tons of questions, he always said, "We'll cross that bridge when we get there, focus on today". He ordered a scanner and a PET scan. And more blood.
The CT scan revealed that I had spots in both of my lungs. While cancer had skipped the traditional lymph node pathway, it was populating my lungs. Chemotherapy was ordered, 4 cycles of BEP (Bleomycin, Etoposide, Cisplatin).
For 8 hours a day, 1 week out of 2 weeks off, I sat and watched the nurses push the drugs. IV bag after IV bag, the chirping of IV pumps was heard up and down in the ward. The place was strange. The chemo is weird. Some people seem to be on their last breath while others sit and play cards or watch family TV.
For me, I had no side effects. My hair was gone but I didn't care. I did this routine for 4 laps. I eventually learned that a rapid surge of Benadryl IV allowed me to sleep most of the day. Yet to come out of there knowing that I would be back tomorrow just sucks.
On May 25, 2004, Dr. Figlin met with us. He looked at me and said, “That's it. You have finished."
I don't remember much of that last day. I remember kissing my nurses who watched me for 3 months but that's it.
The remission plan was in full effect. Monthly blood scans and doctor visits consumed my life. Just when you think you're done… another date. These are quickly increased every two months, then quarterly, semi-annually, then once a year in the fifth year.
Dr Figlin changed hospitals and I followed him. Then he changed again and so did I. From UCLA to City of Hope and now Cedar Sinai, I didn't want to see or trust any other doctor.
To this day, 16 years later, I still see Dr. Figlin every year for an exam including blood tests and a chest x-ray. I don't have to. He even said I didn't have to drive all the way to Beverly Hills. But I don't know why I am doing it. Maybe it just serves as a reminder. It's funny, really. Every time I sit in this waiting room with full hair, I'm like, "I have to look like the new guy."
I think about my diagnosis and treatment almost every day. Some advice I received when I was first diagnosed… "You have cancer, but cancer doesn't have you."
Since overcoming testicular cancer, I have had the chance to share my story and connect with men from across the country. This is the crazy social media thing ...
I started a small group called OnlyTakes1.
It's a little joke about losing a nut. We've reached out to men all over the world to provide them with answers to those weird questions you don't want to ask a doctor or a spouse ... sort of "Hey, is that normal?"
Every now and then I get that call, text, or email saying, “I have this friend. Could you talk to him? and that's how it starts. I have been fortunate enough to meet old friends. Our premise is to connect, pay up front, and let those affected know that no one is fighting alone. Sometimes a text is enough to help someone get through this tough day.
What these guys don't realize is that helping them with their treatment is helping me with mine today. The thought of a second diagnosis or of a recurrence of cancer haunts everyone, me included.
Here is the thing. I was diagnosed with stage 3c non-seminoma testicular cancer at the age of 17. I was completely asymptomatic and he was discovered by a surfing accident. Although this cancer is approaching a 100% cure rate, it is not preventable and cancer does not discriminate. Having cancer is like being in a club. A real shitty club that nobody wants to be a part of.
But once you're there, you're there for life. You look at it differently. You are different. And I agree with that.
Be sure to communicate with Joseph by visiting him at http://instagram.com/Jmarino86. 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? Dr.op their name, contact and why they should appear in this Google form and I will contact them and / or you!
Aug 17, 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 aide 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 de muscles, 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 place, use your back to sweat 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 sweat 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 effet on their current and future health.
Eating a diet that’s low in fat ( less than 7 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 grains 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 intense 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 saine weight. Excess weight, especially around the waist, can be hard 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.