- Associated Press - Monday, February 29, 2016

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - Attorney Jared Woodard is used to fighting his battles in the courtroom, but when an unbearable pain in his abdomen sent him to the hospital last November, his fiercest battle yet began.

The Jonesboro Sun (https://bit.ly/1oD0wo3 ) reports that on Nov. 18, Woodard was dealing with pain that he believed was a kidney stone. Like many would, he tried toughing it out, but the pain reached what he described as a nine on a scale of one to 10.

The doctor did a urinalysis that came back clear, leaving Woodard with more questions than answers. His doctor sent him to get a CT scan.

“Before I’m even out of the hospital, I get a call on my cell phone from the doctor,” Woodard said. “I go to his office, and they found a mass, in the same spot that I had the pain.”

The doctor told Woodard to try to remain calm while a biopsy was performed that Thursday.

“Obviously, cancer is in my mind,” Woodard said.

With his brother’s family having a baby shower that Friday in Fayetteville, Woodard hit the road for Northwest Arkansas. It would be while he was away from home that he received dreadful news.

“Dr. (Carroll) Scroggin called and said, ‘This tumor is malignant,’” Woodard said. “‘We don’t know what it is, but we’re doing more testing.’”

With his worst fears confirmed, the attorney had to call his wife, Lindsey, who had stayed in Jonesboro that weekend, to tell her the news.

“First thing that went through my mind was, ‘Who’s going to raise my kids? Are they going to want to do the same things I do?’” Woodward recalled.

He drove back that Sunday, arriving just in time to see his wife singing at First United Methodist Church in Jonesboro. Woodard called that sight, in that moment, a moving experience.

The next day, the Woodards met with Scroggin, a medical oncologist at NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital. At that point, Woodard was not only stressed to learn he had cancer, but fearful that doctors had no clue where the cancer had began.

“He said its proximity was close to the testicles. He couldn’t feel it,” Woodard said. “I went back to the hospital for an ultrasound on my testicles.”

The results of the ultrasound finally gave Woodard and Scroggin the answer they were looking for. Woodard said the doctor sat him down and told him they found a small tumor on his left testicle.

“It’s a fairly rare tumor, but it can occur,” Scroggin said. “The main thing to look for is just swelling in the testicle or any pain in that area.”

For Woodard, that meant surgery to remove the testicle.

“I guess I didn’t want it anyway,” Woodard said, joking.

As any attorney would be, Woodard was thorough and sought a second opinion from Dr. Lawrence Einhorn of Indiana, the same doctor who treated cyclist Lance Armstrong’s testicular cancer. Woodard said he told him exactly what Scroggin said.

With surgery completed Dec. 3, Woodard rested for a week. Since his cancer had spread, he needed chemotherapy.

“I went into the Fowler Family Cancer Center at NEA, which is fantastic by the way,” Woodard said. “It is a beautiful place. That’s pretty much where I was for nine weeks.”

After going through treatments and experiencing virtually no nausea or sickness, Woodard had another CT scan Feb. 14. The treatment had worked.

Scroggin said it may not be common, but males can see it as early as their teens.

“Many times, this occurs in young men or teenagers and sometimes they’re a little embarrassed to talk about it,” Scroggin said. “I would encourage them to let their parents know or see their doctor to get checked out. They’re young and in good shape and the last thing they think about is a cancer.”

Scroggin said even if testicular cancer has spread, it is curable.

“It is one of the most curable cancers we know in oncology,” Scroggin said. “It doesn’t matter what stage you’re in, it’s possible to cure it.”

He said chemotherapy and radiation are not always necessary if the tumor is caught early enough, but that a removal of the afflicted testicle must take place.

Scroggin said self-checks every few months for a mass or growth on the testicles can be a wise practice.

Those checks may have helped Woodard beforehand, but the lesson he walked away that he could use made life more worth living than ever.

“If anything, it really makes you appreciate everyday things that you kind of take for granted a little bit,” Woodard said. “Whether it’s go to your job or play with your kids or exercise or enjoy sports or go travel; whatever it is you do, it puts more emphasis on it.”

___

Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, https://www.jonesborosun.com


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