“I felt a lump where I shouldn’t have a lump.”
Former Kildare midfielder Dermot Earley is the latest subject on TG4’s Laochra Gael series which airs on Thursday at 9.30 pm.
In 2002, Earley was diagnosed with testicular cancer, aged just 23. He says overcoming it taught him the importance of being resilient.
Remarkably, Earley was able to return to the Kildare football championship team within six months.
“I felt a lump where I shouldn’t have a lump,” Earley said on the show.
“I went to see an oncologist in Galway in late January on a Friday afternoon. After an ultrasound, he said, ‘Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s cancerous. We’re going to operate on Monday.'”
“It really taught me the importance of being resilient and taking things that happen, life throws a lot of things at you, taking it on the chin and saying, ‘Right, what can I do to get over this?’”
The two-time All-Star broke down some of the thoughts that were going through his head when he got confirmation of the diagnostics.
Earley said: “What goes through your head, first of all ‘Am I going to be OK? Will I be able to have kids? Will you be able to have a relationship?’
“When you’re young, all these things start going through your head when you discover a lump in one of your testicles. It’s a shock because, at the time, you’re pretty much feeling invincible.
“Football just gets pushed to the side because it’s not important any more. Your health is more important.
“I did require about five weeks of radiotherapy. Every day, I’d get half an hour of this radiotherapy on my stomach. You’d feel a bit of sickness but nothing major.”
— Laochra Gael (@Laochra_Gael) February 8, 2021
Earley’s Kildare return was in the 2002 Leinster championship and he scored a goal in their semi-final replay win over Offaly to send the Lilywhites into a final showdown against Dublin.
“One thing I remember was all that previous six months just came out of me for a split second in that celebration,” Earley explained.
“Because I never really celebrated anything, points or goals, but I did and I threw my arms up and it was kind of, ‘yeah, I’m back now.’ ”
"Mam was distraught, Dad was disappointed, but the rest of them were delighted"@dermotearley ar #LaochraGael Deardaoin 9:30pm ar @TG4TV @KildareGAA @SashGAA @defenceforces @SportTG4 @nemetontv pic.twitter.com/qFSPQxA3JC
— Laochra Gael (@Laochra_Gael) February 9, 2021
The 42-year-old feels it is now important to be open and talk about his experience as it may help somebody else who has not done something after finding a lump.
“This is important, so if I need to talk about this and get people to check, make sure that if you have a chance, if you are in the shower or in the bath, have a check and if you feel something there make sure you go and get it checked out, because a lot of people don’t,” Earley stated.
“So I kind of did feel a bit of a responsibility to get that message out.”
Dermot Earley’s Laochra Gael episode is this Thursday at 9.30 pm on TG4.