By Linda KennedyIn 2016, life seemed to be whirlwind for lifelong resident of Massac County Josh Stratemeyer, as a busy assistant state’s attorney for Massac County, helping his wife, Molly, move her successful children’s clothing store to a new location and the general craziness of having three children, all under the age of 10, who are involved in various activities.
But cancer has no time schedule, and Stratemeyer began his journey last fall to become a testicular cancer survivor — months that have been filled with appointments, tests, surgeries and yes, pain.
But Stratemeyer wants to share his story of hope, faith and survival as this year’s ambassador for the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Relay For Life event in Massac County.
The event will be held from 4-10 p.m. Saturday, May 20, uptown on Market Street. Earlier that day, a survivor’s breakfast hosted by Psi Eta Sorority will be held from 9-10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church, located at 307 Massac Creek Rd. in Metropolis. The breakfast will recognize local cancer survivors and their caregivers.
Numerous activities and events are planned throughout the afternoon and evening, with the highlight of the Relay being the luminaria ceremony at 9 p.m. Saturday to honor cancer survivors and those who lost their battle with cancer.
“I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November 2016,” explained Stratemeyer. “I had radical orchiectomy surgery in Paducah shortly thereafter and started chemotherapy treatments in late November 2016.”
For the next 12 weeks, the 38-year-old Stratemeyer underwent chemotherapy treatments in Indianapolis, Indiana and Paducah. In March, he traveled back to Indianapolis to remove diseased lymph nodes and teratoma. “I have one final surgery scheduled for later this month,” added Stratemeyer.
According to ACS, testicular cancer has a 90 percent survival rate if detected early.
“I just want men to know, especially guys my age, how important it is for self-examination and to regularly visit their doctor,” said Stratemeyer. “If they think they might have a problem, they should go to the doctor as soon as possible.”
The ACS believes it is important to make men aware of testicular cancer and remind them that any testicular mass should be evaluated by a doctor without delay.
The ACS’ guidelines are to self-examine the testicles during or after a bath or shower, when the skin of the scrotum is relaxed. Stand in front of a mirror and hold the penis out of the way. Examine each testicle separately.
Hold the testicle between the thumbs and fingers with both hands and roll it gently between the fingers. Look and feel for any hard lumps or nodules (smooth rounded masses) or any change in the size, shape or consistency of the testes.
Men should contact a doctor if they detect any troublesome signs.
“While this has been a very long and difficult process, my prognosis is very good. God has continued to bless us throughout this journey,” Stratemeyer said. “This community has been so supportive of me and my family, and we are so grateful to be a part of this community.
“I am thankful for the opportunity to be ambassador for the 2017 Relay For Life and I hope my story helps raise awareness about testicular cancer,” concluded Stratemeyer.
For additional information about this year’s relay, contact the Marion ACS Office at 618-998-9898.