Benjamin Cruz Reed turned 21 in January 2017 and was diagnosed with an advanced case of testicular cancer six months later. Doctors surgically removed a 12cm mass, but the cancer had already metastasized to his lungs and abdominal lymph nodes.
On August 4th, he went through a second surgery to insert a catheter into his chest to prepare him for receiving chemotherapy. However, there were complications with the surgery and immediately post-op Benjamin was struck with a rare blood infection and fell extremely ill. He was rushed to the ER with a high fever and convulsions, and remained hospitalized for four days. He was discharged with a home treatment regimen requiring self-injected antibiotics every eight hours, around the clock, for 10 days. Not only did this delay his chemotherapy by nearly three weeks, the antibiotic treatment caused non-stop nausea, headaches and loss of appetite. By the time it was completed he had lost nearly 25 lbs. During this time, his tumors grew larger.
He was finally able to begin chemotherapy on August 21st, a 12-week process consisting of four 3-week cycles. Each kicking off with a 5-day regimen, three hours per day, followed by two once-a-week treatments to “recover” before the next cycle begins. Initially, Benjamin had a rough ride with the treatments and had to have a blood transfusion when his hemoglobin levels fell too low. Since then, he has been doing better, but of course has lost all his hair and continues to battle ongoing nausea, weakness and exhaustion.
Needless to say, Benjamin’s normal 21-year-old life has been put on hold. He has had to postpone his undergraduate studies in graphics and media, delaying his pursuit of a Multimedia Degree from San Diego State University.
And due to his compromised immune system, he’s had to stop working as a part-time barista at Brew Coffee Spot, a popular local cafe. Benjamin misses his job and co-workers and always stops in to say hi on his way home from chemo treatments.
Aside from school and work, he’s also had to put aside his passion for break-dancing, a talent he has worked on for over six years, performing regularly and attending competitions.
Benjamin eagerly awaits the day when he can return to school, work and all of his normal everyday activities.
Benjamin’s current chemotherapy cycle is nearly complete, however his recent CT scans indicate he may not be fully recovered by then and could require additional chemo, surgery or a different approach. We hope and pray that Benjamin will beat this with our love, care and his existing treatment regimen. We will continue to keep everyone updated with his status as we learn more.