Daniel Hillson

First post: Aug 15, 2017 Latest post: Jul 26, 2018
Welcome to our Caring Bridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. 
My story begins on Friday, July 14th when an ultrasound was preformed at Mayo Austin.  I had been doctoring a few months trying to figure out the cause of my symptoms.  Blood work had been ordered and the results showed unusually low testosterone levels.   The doctor wanted to prescribe testosterone and a higher amount of Prilosec.   He said I was just getting older -  my 55th birthday was the next day! I was experiencing lower back and right leg pain, gastric reflux issues to the extent I was burping in my sleep, and loss of energy.  Heidi thought it odd I had to come home and take a nap after work - something I had never done before.    I also had unusual fatigue on our family vacation while hiking .   Instead of accepting another prescription as an answer Heidi pushed for an ultrasound of my testicles.   The results came back on my Patient Portal with two words that no one wants to see:  Malignancy or Lymphoma.

Heidi made phone calls over to Mayo Rochester on Tuesday morning to set up appointments.   It was answered prayer and God's perfect timing that she was directed to one of the top urology doctors who had an opening the very next day due to a cancellation!  Since the appointment was early morning, July 19th,  we went prepared for the possibility of further tests and procedures to be done that day.      We were right.  I  had a day suddenly filled with two x-rays, more blood work, another ultrasound and finally a cat scan .    Doctors called us at 5pm that same day with  the results from my day of testing.  I had Stage 3 Testicular cancer.   The tumor had started in my right testicle and spread .  The doctors wanted to do surgery immediately because of the fast growing nature of testicular cancer.  Usually only younger men get this type of cancer but the good thing about testicular cancer is that it is highly treatable.  It carries with it the possibility of not being able to have children but thankfully we were done in that department.

Surgery was scheduled for the following Monday, July 24th at St. Mary's. (They don't waste any time!). This removed the original mass, but a large secondary mass located in my abdomen along the spine from my  ribs down to my pelvis still existed. 

Chemo was the best option for this. One week later, while I was still recovering from a surgery leaving me unable to sit up and walk I began chemo.  On Monday, July 31st, I started my first cycle with 5 days of infusions at Rochester followed by 16 days to attempt to recover and recuperate. Then start it all over again.  Right away after the first cycle at least my burping slowed down and the shooting pain down my right leg stopped.  The tumor was resting on nerves and by my stomach causing those side effects.   Shrinking was already taking place with just one round of chemo and I believe many prayers. 

Now, after  4 cycles, we are at the point of more scans, tests, and doctor visits to determine where we are on this journey. (Prayerfully we are done.) Your prayers and support along the way have made a huge difference.  

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