Mathew Rose-Nel is a 25 year old, young, energetic, quietly spoken gentleman from Swords, Co. Dublin. He is a videographer and photographer who set up his own business at the age of 21. He is also an Environmental Biologist.
Here is his incredible story
“I noticed a swelling in my right testicle the day after World Cancer day on the 5 February 2021, I was told it was cancer a week later after numerous tests and scans.After the diagnosis, things moved pretty quickly. On Monday, I had to go for bloods, A Covid test on the Tuesday and surgery on the Thursday. They removed my right testicle to remove the tumour and to conduct a biopsy. In the biopsy they found a 5.5cm tumour, but luckily it didn’t look as if it had spread up into my lymph nodes. There is a chance there are some small remnants of cancer so I have CT Scans and Blood tests every 3 months now to make sure we catch anything remaining early.
At the beginning it was quite tough. When it came to my family and girlfriend, I decided not to tell them. Particularly when I didn’t know how serious it was, if it had spread or if I was going to need Chemotherapy.
Our family was having a pretty tough few months. My sister who is my only sibling had actually just been diagnosed with Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease a few months before my diagnosis. She would likely need a transplant within the next 5 years. Being her sibling, we thought I could potentially be a good match to donate my kidney. The day of my cancer diagnosis, I also asked would I still be able to donate my kidney and the doctor replied no. This came as another huge blow. I didn’t know how I could bring myself to tell them.
I had to cover up my doctors’ appointments and hospital visits. Then when the time came for surgery, I told them I needed a minor operation for a hernia since it would have been impossible to hide the fact I had surgery from them.
Under normal circumstances I would have talked to my girlfriend and friends, but Covid being Covid, it made things a lot more difficult. Instead of being able to just mention it to someone during a conversation I would have to randomly call up or text them to tell them I had cancer. I just found it incredibly awkward. So I decided not to tell them.
In terms of work, it was also quite tough at the start. I didn’t know if I was going to need surgery. I didn’t know how long I would be out of action if I did need surgery, I didn’t even know when I would be getting the surgery if I did need it. On top of that I didn’t know if I would need further treatment after surgery. So when people rang me up looking to book me for various productions and events it was tough trying to let people know I would not be available but also not being able to tell them when I would be available.
I learnt of the ARC Cancer Support Centres services through social media channels and am attending the Men's Support Group, Counselling and the various workshops and talks ARC provides. All were extremely helpful and comforting and helped me to come to grips with my diagnosis. I’m looking forward to joining some more of the classes and workshops in the future.
ARC has been incredible in helping me navigate my way through this new world after a cancer diagnosis. There are hard days every so often whether it’s a cancer scare or awaiting the results of CT scans/ bloods. But knowing that ARC will always be there for me makes those days so much easier. I can hop onto the men's support group and hear from numerous men about how they too experienced a cancer diagnosis and how they navigated the cancer journey. If it's particularly bad I can send Tricia, my counsellor, a message to arrange an appointment. If I’m just having a stressful day, I can join a relaxation class. The services ARC offers are just so incredibly diverse and helpful and I know I would be lost without them.”