Patient’s story: Niels (The Netherlands)

My name is Niels from Zeist, The Netherlands and I’m 33 years old.

On June 25, 2014 I was diagnosed with stage III testicular cancer with metastasis to the lymph nodes (up until my diaphragm).

I initially went to my GP because of an enlarged testicle but I wasn’t in pain. I did have discomfort due to the antibiotics I was taking which made me feel nauseated and sick. My GP then referred me to the Diakonessenhuis hospital in Utrecht where I was diagnosed with cancer.

When I first heard the diagnosis, I had gotten incredibly anxious. I was scared. I thought I was going to die. It was hard to think…if at all. All I could feel were these heavy emotions.

I took the initiative to go to the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital in Amsterdam. It was where I received the recommended treatment that consisted of an operation that removed the tumour from one testicle, followed by four chemotherapy sessions. One session was five consecutive days of treatment per week then a two-week break between sessions.

I took time from work temporarily. I did my best to continue to perform daily tasks and routines like I normally would. I made sure I kept my body moving like going out for walks. Besides that, I also reached out and talked with loved ones more, and as much as I could.

I’ve learned to live and be in the moment. It’s about mindfulness; to consciously experience and appreciate the beautiful things in life and to enjoy those moments to the fullest. Your life can change in a split second. Then you realise that one of the things that matters the most is your health.

For others who are going through the same thing I did, share your thoughts and feelings with your loved ones. Don’t keep it all to yourself. And positive thinking really helps. Think of your life after treatment. Know what you’re fighting for!

Posted: 09/08/2016