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Two Down but Testicular Cancer Free

Pete earned his “racing stripes” from surgery to remove his testicles at Christmas time — and they proved to be a life-saving gift.

Truck on the roadIf people like Pete Bowes weren’t tirelessly at their work, this country would grind to a halt. Pete has driven a 53-foot semi-truck every day for the past seven years!

Like other truck drivers, he often spends days many miles away from friends and family, and doesn’t have the luxury of a “normal” schedule. Pete’s usually on the road during the holiday season when the rest of us are enjoying quality time with our families.

But Christmas holiday 2014 was unlike any other he had ever experienced.

All through that year, Pete had struggled with an abnormal hardening in his testicles. They were also growing smaller and less and less sensitive to touch.

“I knew something wasn’t normal,” says Pete. “You could have kicked me in places that men do not like to be kicked, and I wouldn’t have felt much.”

After visiting his primary care physician about the issues, Pete had an ultrasound scheduled on December 24, 2014 – Christmas Eve. When the ultrasound was completed, Pete began to drive away from the office only to be called back immediately. The results were not good and they wanted to send him to a specialist.

We need to fix this, now

Having been a patient of Urology Associates (UA) in previous years, Pete reached out to and made an appointment with Dr. Edward Eigner – for that same afternoon.

“Dr. Eigner took one look at my history and my ultrasound results, and told me, in a truthful manner, that something was very wrong and it needed to be addressed,” says Pete. “He asked me what I was doing that Saturday, December 26 – the day after Christmas.”

Although uncertain about the specific prognosis, Dr. Eigner understood that if any testicular growth is found, it tends to be malignant testicular cancer and could get rapidly worse.

“It was a worrisome situation. The ultrasound and the exam were distinctly abnormal and there was a real threat of a dangerous issue ongoing,” says Dr. Eigner. “We zeroed in on the threat and wanted to promptly address it.”

Despite the holiday, Dr. Eigner scheduled Pete on the coming Saturday for testicle removal, a surgical procedure called an inguinal bilateral orchiectomy in which both testicles are removed. Dr. Eigner and the staff took the time to carefully explain all of the pre-operational details of the procedure, what was going to happen and what Pete could expect after the surgery.

“The fact that all of this happened over the holidays certainly complicated things. There were lots of staff who had taken time off to spend with their families so it was a little hectic,” says Pete.

“They saw me on a Saturday – the Saturday after Christmas at that. But that’s the level of concern and compassion that was displayed. Dr. Eigner and the staff at Urology Associates were willing to make it work, no matter what day it was.”

Dr. Eigner performed Pete’s surgery on Saturday morning and he was released for recovery that afternoon. Pete recalls both a UA nurse and a physicians assistant calling him to make sure he was comfortable and had everything he needed.

“I was as comfortable as you can be with two four-inch incisions in your abdomen,” Pete adds with a laugh. He now comically refers to the incision scars as his “racing stripes.”

While Pete recovered, UA sent his results to Cleveland Clinic for a second opinion on the pathology report, much like the online second opinion service UA also offers. That’s where things stood for the next few weeks, waiting for the results to come back from Cleveland Clinic.

“They told me that they still didn’t know what it was,” says Pete, “but they knew what it wasn’t – which was malignant.”

Pete found that the diagnosis was a benign tumor due to fibrous scarring from previous trauma. Although the tumor was benign, his testicles had been shutting down for the past few years.

“Throughout that entire process, Dr. Eigner and his staff were there for me and were more than willing to answer any questions that I had,” Pete says. “Ultimately, it was the best news that I could have received in that situation. My ‘kids’ are gone, but I’m cancer-free!”