An ambulance worker and former firefighter, who was shocked to discover he had testicular cancer shortly after getting a personal triathlon record, is urging islanders not to take any chances if they feel something unusual downstairs.
James Goode, is a 44-year-old father of two, who currently works for the Ambulance Service.
In June 2019, James was busy getting himself in shape for the upcoming Jersey Triathlon and was as fit as he'd ever been in his life. 10 days before the Triathlon, James felt a sudden pain in his testicles.
"I felt a massive pain, it was excruciating, I couldn't even touch them... when they calmed down a few days later, I felt this hard lump."
Not one to be discouraged, James still went ahead and did the Triathlon, even achieving a personal best.
Pictured: James Goode one year on from his cancer treatment, during Movember.
When he finally got round to seeing the doctor, he really had no idea what was in store: "Cancer was not even on my radar."
After some uncertainty, he was sent to see a urologist at Overdale.
"Within five minutes of being in the room, with one look at my ultrasound and a quick feel, [the doctor] said, 'It’s coming out.'
"He said, 'You've got another one there if you need it.' I thought, 'I've got two kids already, so if you need to take the other one as well that's fine – I don't need them!'"
Following the surgery and an eight-week recovery period, James finally found out that it was cancer, specifically germ cell cancer.
Unfortunately, after another batch of tests, it was determined that it had spread to his lymphnodes. He began a course of chemotherapy straight away.
"They told me that if it didn't respond to the chemo, it would take a big serious operation to get rid of them because of where they sit."
Despite the whirlwind of tests and operations, James remained remarkably stoic throughout.
"I'm not one to dwell on things much... I just thought, 'It is what it is, let's get on with it and get it done.'"
Pictured: James beginning chemotherapy.
James went through four cycles of chemotherapy, each one lasting around three weeks.
For each cycle, he had five days of intense chemotherapy in Southampton, lasting around eight hours a day, before spending the next two weeks in Jersey on smaller doses.
"My day would start with the nurse trying to find a vein. Then I had a 500ml bag of saline for starters, then a 500ml bag of chemo, followed by a bag of saline, then chemo, saline, chemo and finally for dessert a nice bag of saline to flush out my veins... I would need to pee about every 20 minutes.
"By the end of the first week, I was starting to feel it, a little bit like a hangover really. After every cycle, I just felt worse and worse. I was green, really lethargic, I felt sick. One day I came onto the ward and the nurse took one look at me and said, 'You aren't doing too well today, are you?'
"I was as fit as I'd ever been in my life, I was pretty strong and healthy and that really helped me. I can't even imagine what it must be like for an older person or someone to have to go through that."
Chemotherapy, of course, induces hair loss. For James, this was one of the cruellest ironies of the whole process.
He said: "When I was a teenager, I grew my hair really long, but ever since my mid-20s I'd had a crew cut. it was only that year that I decided I'd grow my hair out a bit. All my friends said, 'Wow you actually have hair! We all thought you were bald!'
"Then, boom! Chemo came along."
Pictured: James during and after Chemotherapy.
When his hair finally returned, he discovered it had grown back curly.
Thankfully, James responded well to the treatment, but must still attend regular check-ups. He won't receive a definitive all-clear until 2025.
Having come through everything, he is now urging men to "make sure they have a feel around" and head straight to the doctor if they suspect something might be wrong.
To offer some morbid comfort to any man who might be worried about an unfamiliar lump downstairs, he said: "The one thing about it is, is you get testicular cancer, you have a 90% chance of surviving.
"Survival rates are really high... If you're going to get cancer, that's the one you want to get."
He added: "It's really hard for people and blokes are a bit more stubborn, they don't want to get checked out.
"But if you're unsure go to the doctor. Listen to the experts."
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