Hey everyone, Scott from Portland Razor Co. here. I need to give folks an update on what’s been going on with my life and at PR. For those of you who have kept up with the blog, you probably are aware that I’ve been sick and in and out of the hospital lately. I have good news and bad news:
The good news is that I have an official diagnosis. The bad news is that I have stage II testicular cancer, which is a bummer.
I started chemotherapy last Friday and had an orchiectomy (for those of you that are curious, you can look that up) which went well. But stage II testicular cancer means that the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes, which is pretty painful and requires aggressive chemotherapy and pain management. I’ll be in chemo pretty continuously for the next 80 days.
Hunter and Alex have been helping a lot lately, and we’ve been planning and discussing the future between doctor’s appointments. We do a lot more than just hang out at the workshop; we do pretty much everything together! This past weekend they helped me shave my head with a straight razor for the first time, and we made a video which you can check out on our YouTube channel. It was a lot of fun, and I admit we went to the electric clippers for a lot of it and then cleaned up with our new Kamisori. Anyway, we had a fun time with it and it gave me a chance to talk about my experience and what’s going to happen with Portland Razor Co.
Many of you might be wondering what this means for PR. The first thing I’ll say is: PR is not going anywhere. We already have a pretty great team, and we’ve been training up a few other guys. Luckily our clients and customers have been very supportive despite our backlog and despite being told that they’ll have to wait a little longer. Hunter and Alex know what to do at this point and they’re just chipping away at that backlog for now.
Hopefully this will be just a little blip in PR history, and I’ll be back at it making razors before you even realize I’m gone. Until then, Hunter and Alex will be around to answer your questions. If you feel like sending me any personal questions, they’ll pass it along and I’ll answer any questions I can.
There simply aren’t words to describe how much your support means to me. I probably wouldn’t be in as good of a place with this stupid cancer if I didn’t have PR. I’m so glad to have our PR and straight shaving community and I’m glad I have a really awesome team to keep it going for me in my absence.
I also want to take this opportunity to tell folks a little bit about my experience in finding out that I had cancer. Maybe there’s a chance someone reading this article is in the same situation I am and has some of the same questions.
I never actually formed a sizeable tumor on a testi. The first thing I noticed were these horrible back pains in the middle of the night… obviously not to scare anybody who’s ever had back pain, but I’d say this back pain was more intense than normal. I wasn’t able to sleep, but I didn’t think anything of it and it only lasted a few days.
But then it came back about a month later. Same thing, nightly back pain for three days in a row. I took some advil and it went away. But this past month, I had some really excruciating back pain. It usually started towards the evening, and I started to think something else might be going on. I actually ended up in the ER a couple times because of how intense the pain was. It took them a while to diagnose it. Once they started to get a hunch that it might be cancer, it was as simple as doing a specific blood test. Once they found the markers for germ cell tumors, the testicular cancer cells, the doctors knew what to do.
The back pain was caused by severe swelling in my retroperitoneal lymph nodes, which sit between my abdominal aorta and my spine. Basically these enlarged nodes which are filled with testicular cancer cells are pushing on my spine, causing severe nerve pain that kind of jumps around and is totally random. That’s why it was a little hard to diagnose, because the pain was sometimes in my lower back, my upper back, my abdomen… If that’s what you’re experiencing it could definitely be nerve-related, and if you’re having anything like that, don’t hesitate to go get it checked out. It could be nothing, and even if it is something it’s no big deal, because it turns out that testicular cancer is one of the most treatable cancers in the world! I’d be in worse shape if I was 80 years old and had a bad flu, I’m told. Obviously, a lot of us deal with back pain, but it is not a big deal to go to the doctor and have them take a look. I’m glad to have listened to the warnings as my prognosis is so positive because we were able to find the problems early on. If you are wondering about a weird pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor and maybe get some blood tests done. Nobody’s gonna laugh at you!!
Anyway, thanks again for all the support! I’m gonna keep doing what I can while in chemo. Hunter or Alex will be available in the meantime and can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.