Play Ball

Posted November 16, 2010 by jimhigley

If you’re ever looking for a grand slam topic to hold the attention span of a bunch of 18-year-old boys, consider giving them a detailed description of what it’s like to have a testicle removed.

You might even save a life along the way.

Yesterday, I got to hang out with my pal, Jonny Imerman of Imerman Angels 1-on-1 Cancer Support while he spent the day at Loyola Academy (which happens to be my youngest son’s high school as well!) talking to small groups of senior boys about cancer.

He only had about 40 minutes with each group but he covered a lot of turf including what the hell cancer is, differences between the three standard forms of treatment (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy), and – the group’s favorite – details of Jonny’s own journey through testicular cancer.

Jonny glady showed off the 11″ scar he sports on his stomach – a result of surgery to remove some tumors in his back a year after his testicular surgery, gave the group details about how his testicular cancer spread through parts of his body by the time it was detected, and had no problem fielding any question in the most candid manner you could imagine. Sex, fertility, emotions, treatment, risks – he touched it all. And 25 bonus points to the young man who confidently asked, “So, what’s it like with only one ball?” The reality – according to Jonny – is that it’s not much different than having two.

The best defense for early detection of testicular cancer, the number one cancer in young guys ages 15 – 35, is a simple self-exam every couple weeks. Do it in the shower so the skin’s a little more flexible from the warm water. Cup your two boys in the palm of your hands – one in each – and feel them. If one feels different than the other – harder, bigger, or painful in any way, you need to see a doctor.

It’s a surefire way to stay in the game.

Learn more about testicular cancer

Learn more about Imerman Angels

  • Jen Singer

    Thanks for this. I had no idea that it's the number one cancer in young men.

  • Jim Higley is the Bobblehead Dad – writer, speaker, life observer and cancer warrior. His favorite role, however, is being "Dad" to his three kids.

    Thanks, Jen. I was saying something similar to Jonny. We end up in this cancer world with our own stories…but are constantly amazed at how much we DON'T know about the global topic of cancer. So many moving parts….thanks for taking time to drop me a note!

  • TQ

    In ways literal and figurative, it takes balls to beat T-cancer… I'm curious if you ever saw how Tom Green handled his own diagnosis and treatment? His MTV special should be aired every year, especially when today's high schoolers weren't paying attention during Green's 15 minutes of fame.

  • Jim Higley is the Bobblehead Dad – writer, speaker, life observer and cancer warrior. His favorite role, however, is being "Dad" to his three kids.

    I never saw Green's piece – although we talked about him, actually, with the boys. Jonny (the guy in my story) actually knows Lance Armstrong – so that kept the boys pretty engaged!

  • Mike Craycraft

    Thanks for the great post. Jonny is a legend not just for his survival of testicular cancer but for his energy and drive to help all cancer patients. I sure wish the world had more Jonny Imermans.

  • Jim Higley is the Bobblehead Dad – writer, speaker, life observer and cancer warrior. His favorite role, however, is being "Dad" to his three kids.

    Thanks Mike! Looks like you do a ton of good for the cause too. Keep it up friend!