“ Let's be honest no one really knows how long you have, fight and keep on fighting.
Douglas Carey is a very active mAss Kicker! After years of working in the automotive industry, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After his diagnosis, he became very active in the survivor community. He is currently active in Testicular Cancer Foundation, the SAMFund, and the local San Jose Young Adult Cancer Survivor Support group. We connected with him at a conference in Las Vegas in 2014 and reconnected with him again at the same conference in Denver, CO earlier this year. We are very honored to highlight him this week!
mK: Thanks for doing this Doug! How did you find out about your diagnosis?
DC: One day I was in the shower checking my self like I did on occasion and I noticed something unusual. At that point I had my girlfriend, now fiancee, check and her reply was “you’re crazy, you’re nuts [no pun intended] I don’t see or feel anything” This conversation went on for a couple of weeks when all of a sudden there was a mass that was very noticeable on my left testicle. I immediately made an appointment with my doctor and upon review of a ultra sound image my oncologist diagnosed me with stage 2a testicular cancer.
mK: Good thing you knew what to look for! What were your symptoms?
DC: My only symptoms were the mass itself. Fortunately I never experienced any pain although the two weeks before my surgery it was very uncomfortable walking around with this mass on my testicle. I remember feeling that everyone knew although any stranger couldn’t tell.
mK: What organizations are you involved with? What do you do?
DC: During my treatment I told myself that I wanted to get involved and help other young adults cancer survivors. I currently volunteer with Testicular Cancer Foundation and as a member of the Speakers’ Bureau “Single Jingles” I help spread awareness and education about testicular cancer. I currently speak at various events, local high schools and medical facilities sharing my story promoting men’s health. Our goal at TCF is to have zero deaths from testicular cancer, the number 1 cancer in men ages 15-35!! I also work as a SAMbassador for The SAMFund, a national non-profit that gives out free scholarships/grants to young adult survivors to help with financial hardships they might have incurred during and after treatment. Many don’t know that cancer isn’t free!! As young adults most of us are college kids or at the start of our careers so medical insurance, rent, job hunting expenses, or money for school are just a few of the financial challenges we face. Having cancer only exasperates these problems, at The SAMFund we try to help those in need of assistance by helping alleviate some of those financial burdens so young adults can concentrate in getting better and regaining their life after cancer. I also volunteer with my local support group HYA(Healthy Young Attitude) and work full time in the automotive industry.
mK: It is great to be involved in advocacy! What motivates you?
DC: I am motivated mostly by my beautiful fiancee and by self determination. I have always been a person that wants the most out of life and after surviving cancer I really wanted to live life to the fullest. One of my favorite statements from Stupid Cancer is “Get Busy Living” I stay involved because I want to leave behind a positive impact in this world that matters, one that helps young adults fight this horrible disease.
mK: Who is your personal hero or are your heroes?
DC: My heroes are the cancer survivors I meet. Hearing their stories of beating this disease not once, not twice, but three times or more is amazing to me. I look back on what I’ve been through and how hard it was, so seeing these survivors succeed is awesome.
mK: Let’s get to know you better… What makes you laugh, cry, angry?
DC:. I laugh easily but I tend to laugh the most when watching stand up comedy. My current favorite: Kevin Hart. I think I’m getting more emotional as I get older and always tear up when I see the sad commercials for abused and mistreated animals. I still get angry at people that are materialistic and stress over small stuff. Life is too short for that nonsense.
mK: Right. Post-treatment “thrivers” have a unique perspective on life. What would you say is the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?
DC: Well, I think its very interesting and cool, but I’ll let the viewers be the judge. About four years ago, roughly 9 months after finishing chemotherapy, I traveled cross country on my Harley. It was a trip that started here in Northern Cali, south through Grand Canyon National Park on into Texas and Florida. I then traveled up through the Carolinas into Virginia, then off to Ohio. I also stopped in Yellowstone National Park and rode through the Grand Tetons before finishing back home in San Jose, CA. It was a trip that I took solo and lasted over 10k miles in a span of 9 1/2 weeks. It was a great way for me to do something “epic” to regain my independence after cancer.
mK: VERY COOL! What is the toughest challenge a survivor faces?
DC: I believe for me the toughest challenge was going to back to living my every day life after cancer. Obviously cancer changes you as a person but after you hear from your oncologist “you have no evidence of cancer your all better” you think that life will return to the way it was. Myself and other survivors that I know this wasn’t the case. Recapturing some of your old life pre-cancer and starting over with your new life post-cancer was and still is a huge obstacle for me. These past few years have been filled with feelings of doubt and depression, medical debt, career changes, and the process of deciding who I want to be.
mK: You will find your path! What is your guilty pleasure?
DC: Although I don’t drink often my guilty pleasure is using my newly discovered app called “Untapped” For those of you who don’t know its an app that you use to rate and discover new beers. I enjoy it because I can share drinks with friends all across the country and learn about new local craft beers.
mK: OK, here’s a random question for you… If there was a restaurant menu item created and named after you what would it be?
DC: I love eating spicy food so my menu item would be call “Doug’s Ghost Pepper Shrimp” I love making spicy shrimp, often cooked with fresh ghost peppers in a creamy sauce served with brown rice and seasonal vegetables. One of my favorite restaurants that I think would be open to serving this is: Johnny Garlic’s, one of Guy Fieri’s restaurants.
mK: Mmmmm… What are is next on your agenda?
DC: The next chapter in my life is getting married to the woman I love. We just recently got engaged and have been together for over 8 years. We are tentatively planning a date of September 2016. I’m also looking to make a career change and start working later this year as an Union Electrician.
mK: Congrats! Any advice for people or loved ones that get daunting diagnoses?
DC: Keep your head up and stay positive no matter what the odds are, doctors commonly under estimate how much time you have left. Let’s be honest no one really knows how long you have, fight and keep on fighting. For me I felt I was given an opportunity to share my story and have a influential impact on this earth. Keep your faith and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, I’ve seen plenty of miracles and extraordinary odds that many have overcome.
mK: Tell us something about yourself that people probably didn’t know… anything.
DC: I recently got into working at local racetracks for AFM (American Federation of Motorcyclists) as a corner/turn worker. I really enjoy it because I able to support safe racing that is done off the street away from the public and in a controlled environment. The best part is I get to watch some of the best motorcycle racing in the country sitting track side!!! It has become my new favorite hobby and I’m able to meet and work with some really awesome people that treat each other like family.
mK: Any parting words for all the mAss Kickers?
DC: To all of the mAss Kickers out there keep fighting and doing what you do, we are making a difference!!! I really enjoyed being interviewed today thanks for letting me share my story!!!
Douglas Carey: Biker dude, newly engaged electrician, Guy Fieri disciple, Doug’s Ghost Pepper Shrimp inventor, beer connoisseur, Kevin Hart groupie, active young adult cancer advocate, and all around cool guy! Thanks for doing this Doug! Keep up the great work! We look forward to seeing what you do next!