A 26-year-old man attended a party for his left testicle after receiving a cancer diagnosis out of the blue.
Justin Robertson has since dubbed the party the ‘ball-voyage’ bash for his left testicle, and says it was exactly what he needed to lift his spirits.
The party was organised by Justin’s friends and family who wanted to do something nice for him after the shocking cancer news.
Not only were there spherical snacks, like meatballs and stuffing, there was also a selection of meat with one veg, and a variety of nuts in varying shapes.
And the playlist included Jerry Lee Lewis’ famous Great Balls of Fire and Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball.
‘I couldn’t believe it when I stepped through the door and all my friends and family were shouting, “ball-voyage,” in honour of my soon-to-be-departed left testicle,’ laughs Justin.
Justin had moved to London and was living life in the fast lane when he noticed his left testicle felt enlarged – but he kept finding excuses not to see a doctor.
Busy with work and socialising, Justin was finally forced to confront his fears at a walk-in health clinic, which led to tests that revealed a cancerous lump.
‘One minute I was walking into a routine health check-up and the next I was being told I was losing a testicle,’ says Justin.
Just two days after the soiree, Justin was in surgery at St George’s Hospital, having an orchidectomy procedure to remove his testicle through an incision made in the groin.
The surgery was a success, and Justin was discharged on the same day.
With follow-up treatment involving two bouts of chemotherapy and a course of radiotherapy, six months later, in May 2017 Justin was given the all clear.
After the good news, he had surgery to have a prosthetic testicle fitted, which he says gave him ‘closure.’
But he will always remember his original testicle thanks to the enduring memories he has of that incredible party.
‘It was such a great do and it made such a difference seeing everybody who’s important to me before the big op,’ said Justin. ‘I was the butt of one too many ball-related jokes, but it was ace all the same.
‘As fun as my “ball-voyage” party was, you don’t want to have one thrown in your name – believe me,
‘I wish I’d seen the doctor as soon as I noticed something was amiss, instead of waiting as long as I did.’
He says it was worryingly easy to put off going to see a doctor – and before he knew it, it was too late.
‘One morning I noticed that my left testicle felt slightly larger than before, it seemed irregular but there was no lump and I decided to see how it felt after a week.
‘Looking back, it’s clear that I could have made the time to see someone sooner if I’d wanted to – but I didn’t.
‘I was forever making excuses to myself. Either I had too much work on, or I didn’t want to eat into my social life, but deep down I know I was scared and embarrassed.’
Following successful treatment, Justin was given a brand new perspective on life, quitting his advertising job to become a senior marketing officer for the UK’s leading homeless charity, Crisis.
‘After coming through the other side of my cancer battle reasonably unscathed, I knew I wanted to do something meaningful and to give back,’ says Justin.
‘My work at Crisis is so fulfilling and I know what I do is making a difference to other people’s lives.
‘I’m a well-educated guy, but as with so many other men my age, despite being fully aware that our bodies are susceptible to health issues, I shut out that voice of reason.
‘Silence is a killer and too many men are staying silent.
Justin is telling his story as part of cancer charity Macmillan’s ‘Let’s Talk About What You Can’t Say’ campaign.
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