Nick’s Story

Site created on July 29, 2018

It was just 2 short weeks after my 22nd birthday when I felt a hard, unusual lump no larger than a small bb. I immediately trusted my instincts and went to get checked out by a local urologist. One ultrasound later I found my suspicions to be true being told I had Testicular cancer. I quickly had an abdominal surgery to remove the growing tumor, however more treatment at Indiana Universitys cancer clinic will be necessary. Your life can change in an instant, and I am fortunate to be able to see the world in a way many will not get the chance to. However cancer also comes with pain and struggle. I created this page so I can update everyone all at once, instead of only being able to respond to some messages and to raise awareness to a cancer not often discussed. I am so incredibly grateful for the kindness and support you all have already shown me. My name is Nick Wintersteiger, and I'm beating cancer one day at a time.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Nicholas Wintersteiger

Hello Everyone! It's been quite some time since my last update. Thank you to everyone who has been keeping tabs with me over the past year. My journey through cancer has been insanely hard but simultaneously wonderfully eye-opening and incredible. I have an appreciation of life I never could have dreamed of, pre-illness. I am lucky to say I have been extremely busy getting ready for graduate school and since starting in May have been an absolute study machine, very stressed, but also enjoying every moment and opportunity to gain new medical knowledge. I finally have some time before my first-semester final exams start next week so I thought I'd write this to let everyone know what has been happening!

I'll start by saying that I have just reached 1 year in remission from TC. This is a HUGE milestone, my chances of a reoccurrence are still around 25%, too high for comfort, but nonetheless about half of what they were initially, so I am grateful for each healthy day! I was able to participate as a survivor in Relay for life in March at my alma mater Christopher Newport University, where myself and a few close friends and brothers in cancer walked to celebrate our journeys and for those still fighting and kicking cancer to the curb (shout out the homie, Will!) In April I went to the National TC conference held at Johns Hopkins hospital where I got to meet fellow TC survivors (including some Olympic athletes) and talk with doctors about what we know regarding TC right now and where we are headed moving forward. Although treatments are very effective, there has been a growing shift towards implementing survivorship plans in dealing with the aftermath of this disease. The beginning of May also proved challenging, because 3 days before I started school, I spent 2 days in the ER preparing for the worst when doctors told me my cancer may be back. Fortunately, scans showed no signs of metastasis and my symptoms soon subsided. This was a harsh reminder of how blessed I am to be healthy at the moment!

I called all my dreams into question and struggled in deciding whether or not I wanted to go to school or just wait for at least two years to do anything post-diagnosis to ensure a much lower chance of reoccurrence. My biggest fear has been, - Being fortunate enough to be accepted into Physician Assistant school only to have it taken away by cancer. I ultimately decided that I would not adapt to TC, it needed to adapt to me. Thus far my experience here at Emory & Henry has truly cemented my decision for continuing and my need to practice medicine. I have always been fascinated by medicine and I have a debt to pay to the community of people that have cared for me so graciously over the past year and beyond. My oncology team, family, and friends have been so supportive and you all cannot know how much it has meant to me.  As I learn more and more every day, I grow closer to my lifelong goal of becoming a positively impactful medical provider, and maybe even finding a cure for all TC. I hope to write many more positive updates in the future for anyone still following me on my journey through remission, thank you all so incredibly much. #1year #checkem #beatTC

-Nick
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