On December 29, 2011 My wonderful 22 year old son Richard was admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath. Richard had been feeling tired and rundown since Christmas eve. He had just finished a semester at a local technical college where he was studying electronics engineering. He had received grades of all A’s.
We figured he was coming down with the flu or a cold. When he developed a slight cough and was feeling winded when climbing the stairs just after Christmas, we took him to a medi -center to be seen by a doctor. The doctor ordered blood work which came back showing a slight issue with his haemoglobin levels. The doctor was not concerned however and suggested a test to see if there was blood in my son’s stool. The evening of December 28, Richard went to bed early, still not feeling well. When i arrived home from a night out with a friend, i had an overwhelming urge to check on him. I tried to talk myself out of it, knowing that if he was sleeping peacefully, he would not be impressed with his Mom waking him at 12:30 am. I guess a mother’s heart knows when something is wrong. I found Richard awake and having some trouble breathing. His heartbeat was quite fast as well. I called a local health information line and they suggested due to his symptoms that he should be brought to the hospital. I asked Richard to get dressed and come upstairs so we could drive to the emergency dept. He had to sit down once up the stairs. I decided at this point to call an ambulance. Once admitted to the emergency room, it became apparent quickly that Richard was a very sick young man. Within hours he was given a chest x-ray, 2 full body scans, admitted to ICU, and then transferred to our University hospital ICU to immediately begin chemotherapy. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his liver, stomach, and lungs. Unfortunately Richard’s condition deteriorated and he was put on a respirator. He was heavily sedated after that. His condition again deteriorated and he was unable to sustain oxygen levels to his blood even with the respirator. He was near death, but the staff decided to try one more thing. He was transferred to the cardiology ICU at the hospital and was put on an ECMO machine which would breathe for him. The hope was to finish the chemo and that once the cancer cells in his lungs were destroyed he would again be able to breathe on his own. Despite the heroic efforts of the doctors and staff, Richard began to haemorrhage on January 2/2012. He passed away that evening with his family surrounding him telling him how much we loved him. (parents, siblings, and extended family members). It is my hope to spread the message to other young men, not to ignore symptoms of testicular cancer so that other families may be spared the terrible pain that we are going through, with the loss of our son, brother, grandson, cousin. He was only 22, and we lost him in 5 days. THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN! We love and miss you every day Richard, and you will be remembered forever. Richard leaves behind, his 4 siblings and parents Brian and Cheryl as well as extended family and friends to forever mourn his loss.
WHAT CANCER CANNOT DO: CANCER IS SO LIMITED. IT CANNOT CRIPPLE LOVE, IT CANNOT SHATTER HOPE, IT CANNOT CORRODE FAITH, IT CANNOT DESTROY PEACE, IT CANNOT KILL FRIENDSHIP, IT CANNOT SUPPRESS MEMORIES, IT CANNOT SILENCE COURAGE, IT CANNOT INVADE THE SOUL, IT CANNOT STEAL ETERNAL LIFE, IT CANNOT CONQUER THE SPIRIT. Anon.