Testicular Cancer Awareness Research Education
Jay Holdgreve Endowment for Testicular Cancer Research @ OSU's James Cancer Hospital
My Story
Friends of TCARE
Bowling for the Boyz
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January 17, 2012

I had not heard from Dr. Khwaja since my December 23rd appointment, other than a letter with my test results and very little explanation of what it meant. So I called the office and was told that the letter explained everything and that more tests would be done when I saw her for my follow up, April 26th. Once again I was not happy because she told me with each test result I received a new test would be ordered. At the appointment I explained that I did not want to wait 3-4 months between test and she agreed to not put me through that. I hung up very confused and angry with how my treatment was going.

I waited a couple of weeks, debating with myself about seeking another opinion. Brooke thought I should stick it out but I had to do what makes me happy. So I called upon my good friend Jeff Sczpanski to ask his wife, Dr. Amanda Gordon, for a referral to an Endocrinologist, she suggested Dr. Paes. I needed to go outside OSU and see if I was just crazy or if there was a better way to treat my condition.

February 23, 2012

I had my appointment today with Dr. Paes and he spent 40 minutes with me and a majority of the time was him just listening. He went over all of my test results and answered all of my questions. This was the first appointment I had with an Endocrinologist where I felt like I was being listened to and he understood where I was coming from. He did a great job of explaining to me all of the previous results and what they were actually showing, not just numbers in a range. I explained my angst of being told by two other doctors that my testosterone level was normal even if it was at the very low end of the range and I still had symptoms. He agreed that "normal" is when you are not having any other symptoms and confirmed that I was not crazy for not settling with the other's answers.

The last issue we discussed was the pituitary tumor. He confirmed what I have been told by the other doctors, it could have been a "lucky" catch. I told him I would like him to break the tie, is my condition primary or secondary? His answer was, it doesn't matter we will treat it the same way and wait for all the test results to give us the answer. He explained that low T is very complicated and regular testing and appointments will be the first part of the plan. As the test results come back other areas may need to be looked at; sleep apnea, nutrition, etc. This is exactly what I was looking for. I was not a fan of an appointment every 3 to 4 months and no real plan. I walked out satisfied that I finally found the right doctor, just like Dr. Pongonis and Dr. Shabsigh.

March 31, 2012

Bowling for the Boyz 2 was a HUGE success!!! More silent auction items, More raffle items, More people, More fun and More money donated to the Jay Holdgreve Endowment for Testicular Cancer Research!!! $8,850 to be exact. WOW! Thank you to all who supported the event!! See you next year.

April 12, 2012

Today was my follow up with Dr. Paes and I was excited to see what the results were from my blood test. I have been feeling much better and a lot more energy. My testosterone levels are up to 791!!! The 2 OSU Endocrinologist told me that 232 might be normal for me and basically that I was chasing a "ghost". Well thankfully I followed my "gut" and did not settle. With the advice from good friends, Jeff and Amanda, I ended up under the care of a physician who listened and thought outside the box. So a minor increase in my Androgel and a super dose of Vitamin D daily, equals a significant increase in my quality of life. Thank you Dr. Paes for listening and to all of you do not settle!!

April 15, 2012

The 2nd Annual Testicular Cancer Awareness Day was held at the Ohio State vs. Nebraska baseball game. Each team wore my TC Awareness decals and I got to redeem myself and throw out the first pitch. I was accompanied to the mound by the James Cancer Hospital's Dr. Paul Monk. Dr. Monk is taking care of those men who need more intense treatment and he is a great Testicular Cancer Awareness promoter.

There were over 1500 people in attendance and this year i threw it over the plate. OSU student athletic trainers, Melissa and Kandis, helped out again this year and I am very thankful for their support. It was also great to have Brooke and the kids, my parents, Addi, Garret, Avery, Gene & Marlene, Lindsey & Kyra, Ryan, Emerson, Grace and Ryan, Keri, Kylie and Reed. It was also great to see Randy, Amy and Gavin Holdgreve. Your support meant a lot.

April 23, 2012

Today is an appointment with Dr. Shabsigh, part of my surveilance program. They updated the office since my last visit, all of the construction is mind boggling. The medical campus is going to be magnificent. I must say that I miss Dr. Shabsigh's original team as the new bunch is not up to par in my opinion. Very slow and disorganized, you can tell the doctors and staff are frustrated.

It was great seeing my friend, Dr. Shabsigh, and he announced that everything came back clean. I will be going to a 6 month program once I hit the 2 year mark this August. We discussed the Endowment and he has big ideas on how to utilize the funds. He was heading to a conference to speak on men's health and tcare.org and the Endowment were to be topics. I know a big break will happen soon.

June, 2012

$25,000 Milestone Is Reached in 18 Months!!!

WOW!!! Some said I couldn't do it, others said it would take years. Well we are half way to Endowing the Research Fund in 18 months. There is still a lot more work to do to reach the $50,000 goal but I am very proud of the start!! Thank you all for your support and generousity!!

June 21, 2012

Cancer took another great man as Dan Hoehn passed away today. His fight was inspirational and his spirit will live on. I am so grateful that Dan attended Bowling for the Boyz 2, wearing his protect your nuts t shirt, Words will never be able to express how much his attendance meant to me. Rene, Chanda, Brandon and Edana, I hope you find peace in all of the wonderful memories you made with Dan.

July 30, 2012

Can you believe I had my 2 year check up today?? Actually 23 month check up, but that is a technicality. It seems just like yesterday that I received that fateful call. What a journey since.

My appointment with my friend Dr. Shabsigh was at his new office located in OSU's Eye and Ear Institute. That was not a typo, they moved the urology department to this building. I just hope those getting there eyes or ears checked don't go to the wrong floor, that would be a "shocker"!!

The office was very nice, great staff and organized for being "opening day". I even got to see Kelli and catch up with her, it had been a year since she was involved with my appointments. I had a great visit with Dr. Shabsigh and all is well!! I will now be stretching out appointments to every 6 months. Dr. Shabsigh continues to fight for more Testicular Cancer Research Funds and Awareness from The James and Nationally, he is making head way. Next appointment will be in Movember!!

August 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Brooke!! 2 years ago on this day I received that call that changed our lives forever.

The Announcement

Two years ago on this date I was told that I have cancer and today I get to report that I am entering a 5K. Yes, Jay Holdgreve, the man who is overweight, hates running and makes fun of those who do, is running a 5K.

As many of you know one of my best friends, Ryan (Ike) Eickholt started the 31 Initiative (
http://the31initiative.blogspot.com/) this year. He is running 31 straight weeks of 3.1 mile (5k) races. Months ago he said in passing that it would be great if I would run one with him. Well I accepted the invitation (challenge) and bought a pair of running shoes, downloaded the Couch to 5k running program on the ipod and started the journey.

It has definitely been a journey as my body has let me know that it was not built for running, but I refuse to give up. I can even go so far as saying I enjoy it when I feel good, but my back, lower legs and hip have kept those days few and far between. 3.1 miles is a lot further when you are trying to jog it, much shorter in a car or on a bike. I have dropped 2 pant sizes but the weight loss has not been as significant as I had hoped. I am striving to lose 10-15 pounds before I enter my first official 5k and that should help the joints.

So what 5K am I entering??

I will be running with my guy Ike (actually we will be at the start line together and he will finish 15-20 minutes before me) in Delphos, Ohio during Canal Days!! Yes, four weeks from now I will be running (i use that term loosely) in support of Ike. Hopefully I can get a group together to enter (maybe 31 people) in support of Ike as a way to show my appreciation. By "Paying It Forward" he has raised TC Awareness and donations for the Endowment, and I am forever grateful.

Hopefully my body will hold up but no matter what I will start and finish, I am not ashamed to crawl!!! Let me know if you are on board.

August 25, 2012

At just after 1 A.M. this morning my friend Gary "gary b da man" Burch was killed in a motorcycle accident. Many of you do not know Gary but you know his work. Gary was the graphic artist who took my sketches, cut out pictures and ideas and turned them into masterpieces. His work includes my Testicular Cancer Ribbons, TCARE.org logo, Bowling for the Boyz poster and my Testicular Cancer Awareness Educational Cards. He also advised me on my websites and my master plan.

I originally knew Gary as the black guy with the crazy hair but he became one of my biggest supporters and a true friend. We had many talks on how I wanted to raise TC Awareness locally and he was supportive but he wanted it to be bigger-national, even global. As we talked about a couple of months ago, I voiced my frustration on not "catching a break" here in Columbus. He told me to keep grinding and advised that you never know who will decide that this cause is right for them to back- "patience buddy". What I have been able to do with TCARE.org and the Endowment is remarkable and I only regret that Gary will not be here to see it through.

Unfortunately I did not know much about Gary's home life but I do know how much he cared about his profession and being the best at what he did. There are many companies in the Columbus area whose business will struggle without his insight and design skills to help with their marketing. Gary I know you grinded everyday to make a living and I am proud to call you a friend. Rest In Peace friend as I am sure you are enjoying an unlimited supply of Jack Daniels.

August 28, 2012

I had my one year follow up with Dr. Prevedello for the small pituitary "tumor" that was found last year. The visit starts with a brain MRI and of course there has to be a story, nothing can be easy.

Last week I called Dr. Prevedello requesting Valium for the MRI. I spoke with his secretary and I explained that last year I was told to call a week ahead of time to get the prescription filled and I was doing just that. She said she would call me back and she did. She stated that I just need to go to the MRI location (OSU Hospital) and tell them that I need Valium and they would dispense it to me. I questioned this answer and she said that this is typical protocol. I explained that this is different than previous experiences and I know that a doctor needs to call in the narcotic not the receptionist at the facility. I played the role of the good patient and said okay after her assuring me that this is typical.

I arrived at OSU early, went to check in, told them I need Valium and they looked at me like I was two headed. They explained that they can't call in prescriptions only a doctor. My response " I know that but my doctor's secretary said you did, it is the protocol". I gave them her number and thankfully she answered and admitted to telling me what I just stated. After some stern conversation between the two she found a physician to order the Valium. I walked down stairs to the Walgreens and met a great pharmist who filled the order. She stated it was 5 mg (not near enough for my size) and then she instructed me to take it an hour before the scan. I informed her that they were waiting on me upstairs and that I will be in the contraption within 5 minutes. She just shook her head, we both knew that this was not enough time to kick in and work.

Thankfully Greg, Theresa and Bree were very understanding and let me take my time to get on the bed and were super kind as they secured my head and put on the face cage. After some deep breathing they pushed me in the tube and less than 20 minutes later I was pulled out. I am definitely getting better with the MRI tubes.

I walked straight to Dr. Prevedello's office for the results. Ironically he moved into Dr. Shabsigh's previous office at The James. After an extended wait I spoke with his Nurse-Brian, a great down to earth guy. Dr. Prevedello then entered, apologized about the Valium error (new secretary) and went over the MRI with me. He looked and looked, then brought up last year's scan and then proclaimed- "It is gone!" It is now just a shadow and the diagnosis has changed from tumor to pituitary abnormality. He shook my hand and said see you in 3 years!! What a relief!

September 16, 2012

Delphos Canal Days 5K

The day has finally arrived, it is time to run my first 5K. I never thought this day would come.
My Couch to 5K training had been an adventure, but I completed it. It was supposed to last 9 weeks (27 sessions) but a back and hamstring injury, plus dead legs prolonged it. I had many times that I thought there was no way I was going to be able to do this without walking or stopping, but then one evening I had a breakthrough and got over the hump. I had many successful 30-35 minute runs but my first shot at 3 miles I felt like I was going to die and I needed to stop and stretch, but next time out I felt great. Thursday night before the race I was going for my last practice run but I barely made it 15 minutes, my legs felt like concrete and both shins were screaming. I sat in an ice tub for 2 nights, stretched like crazy and prayed that my legs would hold up.

The Lima News ran a great article featuring Ike and the 31 Initiative and WLIO interviewed us at the event. The Delphos Herald will be running a story on Monday after the race. The weather was brisk but sunny and actually warmed up nicely by race time. It was great seeing so many friends and family sign up for the event or there to cheer us on. The kids kicked off the morning with a 2K fun run. It was awesome seeing Elyse and Emerson (Ryan's daughter) finish the race together. As the race time neared I got to catch up with St. John's classmates, friends and family. It is always a humbling experience when so many people come out to support the cause. It felt great knowing that Ike was getting the recognition he deserved.

At 10 the bullhorn blared and we were off. After one block I remembered to start my timer on my watch-rookie mistake. I started at the back because I wanted my own pace. I ran a few blocks with my buddy B-Man and then I went into the zone. I turned up the MP3 player and focused on my pace and breathing. The first mile went very smoothly and I ran it in 9:30, one minute faster than I had ever done. A little panic set in as everyone I talked to said make sure you don't go out too fast, did I do that?? As I turned the corner and headed for the loop I was passed by the eventual winner and then was high fived and given words of encouragement by a large group of avid runners who would place in the top 10, I really appreciated their support.

As I entered the loop I passed my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, that was a big accomplishment, as they both have run 5K's in the past. Once out of the loop I was past the half way point and heading back. I passed the walking group and I got to high five my mom and friends (many pushing babies). I hit the 2 mile mark and I started to get the dreaded pain in the side, but after some breathing drills it went away. The last turn brought me to the .6 of a mile straight away that lead to the finish line. I started to debate with myself if I should pick up the pace now or wait a few blocks. I didn't want to "fizzle" out too early, so I kept my current pace. Then out of nowhere my Cousin's wife, Karissa, comes up beside me, gives some encouragement and then passes me. I notice her slow down and we then were jogging side by side, and then with a block or two to go she picked up the pace and the race was on to the finish line. My plan was to salute Ike as I passed but I was completely focused on beating Karissa and not falling down as my legs were weak!

We cross the line and all I hear is the MC state "Jay you just got beat by a girl!!" True story, but her pushing me got me to meet my goal of running the race in 31 minutes (in honor of the 31 Initiative). I completed my first 5K in 31:45, not bad for a fat guy!!! Thank you Karissa!!! I got a big hug from Brooke and many congratulations from family, friends and strangers...what an amazing feeling. It was fantastic having so many people there and having my neighbors from Dublin make the trip up, Amy to run and Joyce and Sophie to cheer us on.
The post-race party took place at The Rustic. A jumbo Tenderloin and numerous Bud Lights were the perfect finish to the day. Thank you to Dean, Joy, Chanda, Brandon, Jessica and Rene for joining in the fun.

What a fantastic day and I plan on keeping up the running. I have lost 20 pounds and I have actually enjoyed running, I may need a mental health check after that statement. Thank you to everyone who wore 31 Initiative stickers, Protect Your Nuts shirts and those who ran or cheered us on!! It was awesome seeing Ike get the recognition he deserves and money was raised for the Endowment. 

October 2012

The first week of October I decided that I wanted to do a TCARE.org Movember promotion in Columbus.  I figured it would be an easy sell to bars, a mustache and ugly sweater party to promote men's health.  I emailed 25 bars, a majority in the Arena District, a central location.  I also thought Arena District bars would be very interested in bringing in business since the NHL is on strike and the area is a ghost town.  After one week of zero responses I called a couple of the bars to make sure they received the email.  I got the run around and the standard line " i will check with my manager and call you back".  Which is code for "stop bothering us and your business means nothing to me".

As I was sitting in the Franklin County Courthouse, enjoying jury duty, I decided to email 2 more bars.  First was the Tilted Kilt since 75% of their business is from men.  I couldn't believe I had not thought of them earlier.  I also emailed BBR after hearing their commercial on the radio.  The Comman Man and Torg did their Buckeye football post game show from their.  I checked my email a couple hours later and both said YES!!!!

I met with Shannon and John at the Tilted Kilt and not only did they want to host a Men's Health Social they wanted to do something for the whole month.  They brought up selling moustaches for $5 a piece with all proceeds benefitting TCARE.org.  I went into the meeting wanting a moustache/ugly sweater night and I ended up with a huge month long promotion and Men's Health Social during their anniversary week.  Needless to say the ugly sweater party was sacrificed without any complaints from me.  I walked away extremely excited about the possibilities of the Tilted Kilt partnership and their enthusiasm to help. 

I met with Sabrina at BBR and they agreed to host an event on a Thursday evening at the end of November.  I did not get the weekend date I was hoping for but Sabrina and BBR were very excited to help and we agreed to hold a silent auction with them helping line up items.  I walked out of the meeting with a giant smile on my face, knowing that TCARE.org and Testicular Cancer Awareness took a huge step forward!

November 20, 2012

My Story
Friends of TCARE
Bowling for the Boyz
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