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  • Writer's pictureDavis Falniuk

How It All Began...

Updated: Nov 16, 2018

In July 2017, I did a 5k foam fest fun run on Canada Day with my girlfriend (wife now!) and my best friend. We are not the most athletic bunch; typically celebrating things with food and sitting around playing board games. When I had some back pain after the run nobody was surprised. We all assumed it was a pinched nerve or something. Turns out it was the "or something". It was an unpredictable something. It was not a good something.

I was working in a board game café at the time, between semesters for my master’s in electrical engineering. Why electrical engineering? I’m a huge nerd. Why a board game café? It’s part of our long-term goals, future career path, etc. Now, back to the main story:

The back pain was getting really bad, to the point where I could barely work. At the end of July, I started getting constipation on top of the back pain. I went to a chiropractor, physiotherapy, and the clinic countless times. I can’t remember the amount of medications they had prescribed to help me poop and relax my back muscles.

Fast forward to a few weeks later and a total weight loss of 30 lbs:

On August 19, 2017, instead of attending my nephew’s birthday party, I coughed up blood and got rushed into the Emergency Dept at the Grey Nuns Hospital. Turns out the constipation, weight loss, lack of appetite, and persistent back pain spelled out to the one thing none of us ever expected it to be.

It was testicular cancer. yet I had no tumor in my testical.

Suddenly everything changed. Life got put on hold, I had to move back in with my parents, I stopped working, and I had to take a break from my master’s program. Life for the next few months revolved around cancer, cancer, cancer. I don’t think I need to tell you just how fun the experience was.

What seemed like a quick solve (there’s very much a standard protocol for testicular cancers) started looking pretty dim. After every step of the protocol, my cancer would rear its ugly little head and we’d move on. In April 2018, we completed the final step. The only issue was, I still had cancer. So far it had taken up 9 months of our lives, my kidney, my hair, and about 70 lbs. Now we’re told that it could take my life.

After the news about me having a much shorter shelf life than any of us were willing to accept, we decided we weren’t going to take things sitting down. On June 10th, I married my girlfriend in what we agree was one of the best days of our lives; we got a puppy (her name is Dora and she is the best), and we were keeping my cancer at bay with some more chemo. Chemo is no longer working and through tons of research we found a new treatment, immunotherapy which could be my cure. Life has gotten pretty harsh but I am determined to make the best of it and keep fighting.


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