“My Voice” by Matt Wakefield

Matt Wakefield - 'Survivor'

My  name is Matt Wakefield, I’m from Birmingham, England and I am a Survivor.

I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer in June 2000, but that was only after ignoring the small pea-sized lump on my left nut for seven months. You know what us guys are like- feeling invincible, and the thought that it may be cancer was the furthest thing from my mind, because as everyone knows, cancer is what other people have ha-ha!

I went to the doctors when I had trouble climbing stairs. Being tall I was used to taking two or three at a time. But it started to hurt when I did that. One night I was getting ready for bed and the pea sized lump wasn’t pea sized no longer; it was the size of my index-and -middle finger together. I called the doctors after I finished work at the factory, told them what I had found and fully expected them to say ‘Come back in a month or so Mr Wakefield’.

Forty-five minutes later I was in the doctor’s surgery.

The GP agreed it most definitely wasn’t normal and recommended I see a specialist at my local hospital in three days time.

On Thursday, 22nd June 2000, I went to Sandwell Hospital with my Mom and Dad was seen by a specialist. I lay on a bed while he examined my sore testicle. He left the room and I got my trousers back on.

He came back in to the room. ‘I’m afraid in nearly all cases like this it is a sure sign of Testicular Cancer’.


I have cancer and I’m going to die.

With that I fainted.

When I came to I was somehow on a bed in ward with my mom and dad. The specialist broke it down.

‘I’m almost definitely certain what you have is Testicular Cancer. In fact I’m so sure I would bet my house on it.’. My mom was in tears, my dad was just about to hold himself.

That was the bad news. The good news, he said, with that it seemed to be in stage one, confined to my testicle. With surgery to remove the testicle and radiotherapy or chemotherapy I had a 90% chance of survival.

Next step was a blood test to determine what type of testicular cancer it was, then we went home.

Surprisingly I felt up beat. So much so I remarked ‘It could be worse. I could be pregnant’

The hardest part I felt was telling my younger sister and brother, but they took it well. They were naturally upset but on the whole they took it well.

I had the weekend off so I spent it camping. The next day I was getting some kit in town and I passed a billboard poster for Cancer Research UK, a major cancer charity in the UK. On it it said ‘one in three of us will have cancer in our life time’.

That’s when it sunk in. I had Cancer. That lump on my ball is trying to kill me. I grabbed hold of it, with my hand down my jeans, on a street in daylight, and said ‘NO’. The battle was on!

I felt quite okay by it all. My dad had stomach cancer nine years before and he is still alive, minus ¾ of his stomach, but if he could beat it, and his was far more serious than what I had, then so could I. It gave me hope.

I had surgery a week later to remove my testicle, and waited ten days for the results. The time went quickly. Me and my mom went back to the hospital and was told the news. It was cancer but there was no sign of spread. I was next due radiotherapy but was warned it would affect my fertility, so I was to bank some sperm, which as it would turn out was to be the best deposit I would ever make!

The radiotherapy I had made me feel quite nauseous but wasn’t too bad. I imagined the cancer cells which may had survived surgery being nuked.

With radiotherapy done, I had to report to the hospital for a check up, first every 3 months, then 6 and when I hit the five year mark, every twelve months.

It was during the four year mark I met the love of my life, Corinne. I was worried how she would react when I told her I had one nut but she was fine, and it definitely does not affect our sex life!

When the time came we decided we were ready to start a family I saw a fertility expert. I had to produce a sperm sample, but sadly  while my sperm had plenty of mobility (lots of swimming) there wasn’t simply enough of the little guys. When a normal sample shows millions of sperm, mine was showing less than a thousand. My fertility was all but annihilated  by the cancer treatment.

No drama though, I had had banked and frozen some sperm already. We went ahead with IVF, which was free because of what I had had. We begun the treatment on New Year’s day 2008, with Corinne having to inject herself every day some hormones to stimulate her ovaries to produce eggs. When that was done, some of her eggs were removed and fertilized with the sperm I had frozen, then the embryos were implanted back into Corinne.

Fourteen days later we took a home pregnancy test and she was indeed pregnant. We went for a scan and were told there was one heartbeat. ‘Oh dear’, the nurse said. ‘What?’ Corinne said anxiously. ‘there are two heartbeats. You’re having twins!’. That felt incredible; it really did feel amazing.

Our children were born three months early, due to Corinne having high blood pressure. Our twins were born on Friday 8th August 2008. 888! We had a boy and girl and we named them Samuel Charles John Wakefield and Bethany Jane Wakefield.

Survivorship means to me, living through and beyond cancer. To live as though you shouldn’t be alive and to remain positive, strong and relaxed through whatever your second chance at life gives you. We have stood on the edge of a cliff, looked down as the ground was crumbling beneath our feet and walked away.

My name is Matt and I am a Testicular Cancer Survivor.