Tom’s Testicular Cancer Story

Tom recounts the benefits of taking out Trauma Insurance ……..

In April 2007, I suddenly noticed that my left testicle was more than double normal size. I’d been doing some extra exercise and was feeling well, but now I wondered if I’d somehow done damage, unlikely as that seemed. It worried me enough that I visited my doctor the next day who suggested I see a Urologist.

Three weeks later I visited the Urologist who suggested an ultrasound “just to be safe”.  

This was scheduled for the following week.  Feeling anxious that the swelling had not yet gone down and was feeling uncomfortable I asked hopefully “Well, OK, but is there anything we can do in the meantime?”

The following Monday I went to the hospital for a testicular ultrasound, administered by a woman who, when I asked, “What do you see?” replied, “I just do the ultrasound; someone else interprets the results.”

The doctor called the next morning for a conversation that included the much feared life-changing words, “You have cancer.” He wasn’t certain, but it was looking likely. I took the news calmly, but as soon as I hung up the phone, I started to cry. All I could think about was what it would mean to my wife and our two kids if I needed extended treatment, or worse.

I began soaking up every bit of information I could find on the Internet about testicular cancer.

I briefly returned to work to tie up a few loose ends and prepared to be away from the office for an unknown length of time.

So absorbed was I with the looming battle I forgot about the personal insurance called “Trauma” that I had taken out 12 years ago when my wife and I got married.  We always knew that the policy premiums may never be recouped, but thought of that as a good thing as it meant no serious illness was going to happen, so we just kept paying the premiums…with annual indexation.

In early May my wife and I went to the hospital for my operation. I remember being in the pre op and I remember waking up feeling nauseous. Before long, I was getting up, using the bathroom, getting dressed again, and heading home. Thanks largely, I’m sure, to medication; I was already feeling better than before surgery, despite the incision, stitches, and plastic tape bandage.

It would be a few days before the pathology report was ready, and my CT scan wasn’t until the following week. Had it spread? The tumor was so big, how could it not have? The scan was over quickly, and I headed home.

The news finally came later that day: nonseminoma, stage I, no lymphovascular invasion, clean CT scan. Finally some good news!

Feeling considerably better, I soon stopped the pain medication and returned to work three weeks later

After surgery, my next appointments were on late May with an oncologist to discuss treatment options and a follow-up visit with my urologist. It was decided that I would have what turned out to be three rounds of chemotherapy. During the chemotherapy process I went through periods of feeling incredibly unwell and was too weakened by the chemotherapy to work.

Belinda from my financial advisory called me two weeks after I lodged the claim forms to inform me that my Trauma Insurance claim was being paid. I didn’t expect the claim to be paid so quickly and I did not expect the full amount to be paid to me either! I didn’t even know how much I was insured for! As I said, it was just one of those things that you did when you were young to protect your family, and never thought of it again. I was in for an [utterly pleasant] shock to find the whole sum insured was being paid to me; that the sum insured was so large; and, that it was processed so quickly. It was like winning the tatts, it was a BIG bonus.

I have now been cancer free for five years. I would wish that each person who had to struggle with cancer or any critical illness for that matter, had at least some Trauma Insurance. I know my own struggle would have been so much the greater struggle without relief from financial pressure.

Our thanks to Tom for sharing his story.