Toronto man in barber shop
Sam MayerImage by: Max Rosenstein
Toronto man in barber shop
29 March 2022

Sam’s Story: How Making Sure Can Make All the Difference

Sam Mayer
3 minutes read time

"I originally joined Movember at a friend’s request. They had asked me to help support them and join their Movember team. Originally, I thought I would just show support by joining the team, I wouldn’t be able to raise much in terms of funds, but at least my friend would feel supported. With only a few emails and word of mouth, I was able to raise over $1000 my first year with Movember, which really opened my eyes to the support that was out there for this movement.

" As I started to pay more attention to the emails and information provided on Movember’s website, I realized I needed to start paying more attention to my own health. "

I had been suffering from mild testicular discomfort for years and had previously had an ultrasound, which showed no signs of any issues. I made the assumption I would always have to live with this discomfort, until Movember reminded me that I should trust my instincts and get checked again.

Sure enough, this time the ultrasound showed a mass within one of my testicles. At this point I had to decide if I wanted to continue to monitor it or just remove it. I already had 2 young kids and had already had a vasectomy, so the decision to remove it came easily. Without the ability to biopsy the mass until it was removed, I knew I had to just move forward and take it out. Once it was removed, my urologist had a very difficult time identifying the tumour (eventually identified as a Sertoli cell tumour of the sclerosing family) and basically said the only way to know if it was cancerous was to check for spread. I had a full body MRI, which led to the discovery of another tumour in my thyroid. After a couple of inconclusive biopsies, again the decision was made -- GET IT OUT!

This process was now reaching the 2 year mark from original discovery to thyroid removal, all the while not knowing if I had cancer or not. 2 years of not knowing one way or the other takes a very emotion toll. This was a very difficult time. I was scared of what this could be, I was angry that I didn’t know more and that this was happening to me, and yet almost thankful it wasn’t something worse. As if it wasn’t difficult enough to deal with, why not throw some guilt in there too. I had never been one to openly talk about my struggles, so these years were very difficult for myself, as well as for those who loved and cared for me. It is very hard to appreciate the support you have when you don’t open yourself up and accept it. After all this, the results are in, it was a malignant tumour in my thyroid, I had cancer (twice ?!?!).

This is when everything comes into focus so clearly. Had I done nothing all this time, where would I be? Where would my family be? What would they have to deal with because of my unwillingness to “just make sure. ”This is what solidified my own Movember journey. Trust your instincts and check on the things that make you ask, “Is this something? Should I worry about this?” Check in with the men in your lives. Are they struggling with things in their own lives that maybe they aren’t sure how or who to talk to about them? This is why I Mo, to share with everyone the importance of simply looking after yourself and yours."