Not me! Men don’t get breast cancer, right?
Especially males like me who have always taken pride in taking decent care of oneself.
Males like me don’t get breast cancer who have spent 24 years selling medical professionals in the pharmaceutical healthcare industry, covering accounts like Duke Medical Center, Walter Reed, etc.
Males like me don’t get breast cancer who carefully invest and plan so well for retirement and now active as an Independent Medicare Healthcare Consultant.
Darn! Guess what? It happens and yes, why not me? Men do get breast cancer, even me. Thank God for my wife who has been so supportive!
I am currently being treated and here is my status.
The Lump and The Diagnosis
Well it started about July 2018. While taking a normal shower, I felt a small lump in my right breast area. Not overly concerned, I went to my primary care doctor and dermatologist. We all agreed that it was probably a cyst, but it needed to be checked out with a biopsy and mammogram. I must say, I was a little taken back as a male. Guess what? It was invasive lobular carcinoma, Grade 2 with ER and PR Positive, and HER2 Negative. Which means, get treated right away.
Second Opinions and Onward
So, after the initial shock, I made an appointment with my doctor again who suggested a good surgeon where he sent his female breast cancer patients. After the initial visit with my surgeon (who had just finished with another male patient with breast cancer), she consulted her favorite oncologist. Based on my pathology report, surgery was scheduled as the first option. A few days later, all my right breast tissue was removed with the tumor along with 13 lymph nodes under my right arm area. Darn! Cancer cells were discovered in 2 lymph nodes. Lucky me, right? Yes, because we need to get the treatment right the first time!
I guess I was lucky because now I knew I needed Chemotherapy to make sure I survive long term and treat this “beast” aggressively from the start. So, I decided I wanted a second opinion (thank God for Medicare and a Medicare Supplement) and I met with a new oncologist that was recommended by my primary care doctor. Now we were off to the races (no, not so fast). I was scheduled for 4 Chemo treatments, 3 weeks apart for each treatment. With much prayers and support, I have completed Chemo which was not fun, but I am done. Not really, now the radiation begins.
Again, thank God I have a strong medical team and friends for support. I met with my Radiologist, PHD and Board-Certified Radiation Oncologist. She has a most impressive resume and spent much time with me on all the next steps. I asked a “ton” of questions. She was so thorough and answered all my many questions with treatment diagrams. For example, I asked her what was more efficacious, chemo or radiation? She had a great “broken glass” analogy and said both are very important. She said the radiation treatment is like when you drop a glass on the floor, and it shatters. The shattered pieces are like cancer cells in your body.
You just want to make sure you sweep up in the designated area several times and eliminate any potential cancer cells missed by the previous treatments as in surgery. Chemo is broader in coverage in killing cancer cells. Glass can shatter when broken and sometimes we notice that a piece may be located far away from the designated area. This can happen with cancer cells moving within the lymphatic system. Yes, let’s kill all the beast please!
The first step in radiation was to postpone radiation. I was scheduled for physical therapy to maximize my right arm movement. This was due to the surgery where I had my right breast and lymph nodes removed.
After this, I got my first cool pinpoint tattoo markers (grandkids will like that) with a scan and then I was scheduled for 28 radiation treatments. The radiation took place 5 days per week for 6 weeks. The radiation process was quick, thorough and painless other than a rash, some fatigue and a deep redness like a sunburn. We are still treating the redness/rash by a steroid cream. I will also be taking a drug Tamoxifen as a security blanket to make sure the beast does not return.
Touchdown (sorry but I am an ex-coach too)! I finished treatments on March 13th and celebrated with my “excellent” Radiology and Chemo Medical Teams.
My wife and I then took a nice vacation to celebrate my status and to celebrate her birthday.
I feel very positive about my future and I will continue to live my life to the fullest.
Thank you for sharing your story, Ted. SBC loves you!
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