Fighting cancer at 21 [UPDATED]Published 10:51am Tuesday, June 19, 2012 Updated 10:51am Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Cancer doesn’t care if you are male of female, what race you are or if you are young or old – a fact that Jake Schreiber of Fergus Falls knows all too well.
In January 2007, Schreiber went to the doctor’s office for a pre-operation check-up on a pulled hernia. After some test results came back, the doctors told him that they had found something else in his blood work: stage three testicular cancer. At only 21, Schreiber was shocked.
“It was scary,” he said. “Things all of a sudden changed.”
Testicular cancer is most common in men ages 15 to 35. Sometimes there may be no symptoms, and the only way to know if you have it is to get checked out.
Schreiber was unable to work while he started four intensive rounds of chemotherapy at Lake Region Hospital, followed by four more rounds at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
“It slowed me down,” said Schreiber. “I felt like I was tired all the time.”
After the chemotherapy treatments, he developed a blood clot in his leg that eventually required the amputation of two of his toes.
In October 2007, he had surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, where they removed numerous lymph nodes in his abdomen and one kidney and repaired a vertebra. All of the body parts were damaged by the spread of the cancer.
Overcoming the obstacles was made easier with the help and support of his family and friends. On July 10, 2010, he married his wife Savanna.
“Instead of having normal flowers as centerpieces on the tables, we had signs with the option to donate money to the American Cancer Society,” said Savanna. “It was our way of giving back after all Jake had been through.”
Schreiber has been asked to be a honorary chairman at this year’s American Cancer Society annual Relay for Life event, which will be held at the M State campus June 22 and 23. Schreiber plans on getting the word out about testicular cancer.
“My goal is to let people know that it can happen to anyone, so go get checked out.”
Schreiber will celebrate his five-year remission of cancer in October of this year.