Chris Cella

In January of 2018, I received the bad news that a health issue I thought was heart related. As it turned out, the pain I had been having in the “left side of my chest”, caused me to leave work mid-day, to go visit my doctor and get it checked out.

After two EKG’s of my heart, my doctor informed me that she had just called 911, emergency services, because my heart was beating at 230 beats per minute and she feared I may be having a heart attack. It was ultimately determined I did have “heart issues”, but that I was not having a heart attack.

Fortunately, a cardiologist in the hospital, grew concerned after a quick physical exam, when he noticed I had an “inverted nipple”, and a “shadow” or something on the breast under the nipple, that appeared to him to be a tumor, so he ordered a mammogram and a biopsy of my breast.

As it turns out, the doctor suspected I had Male Breast Cancer, which is very rare, but does happen. Turned out his suspicions were right, and when the mammogram was complete and the biopsy returned, the diagnosis was confirmed. It was the first time in his 30 plus years as a doctor, that he had come across it in one of his male heart patients.

The bad news was confirmed I had Breast Cancer. Yes, men get breast cancer too, although it is rare. Apparently 1 out of 833 cases of breast cancer happen to men, and I was one of them. I met with a surgeon, and the following day with the oncologist, a cancer specialist. After my initial cancer surgery and treatments, including a mastectomy to remove my breast, the tumor and 29 lymph nodes. I did have two heart operations/heart ablations.

Lots has happened since that day six years ago, and not a day goes by, that I do not Thank God, for allowing me to still be here and “fight the fight”.

I also like to remind myself to be thankful for all of the many other people who have helped me with this battle over the years, including my friends and workers at my Job at the time who encouraged me to go to the doctor. I always want to thank all my doctors, including Dr Cathy Criss and Dr Hiram Patel for their help in my diagnosis.

But I especially want to thank my wife, Dawn, for everything she does for me and the support and help of my friends and family who have been there for Dawn and I over this six-year battle against this cancer beast.  I do not want to forget to thank the many Facebook friends and new acquaintances and Male Breast Cancer groups that support me too! There are also many others and their groups have provided and been incredible support too.

Unfortunately, my breast cancer has since metastasized to my bones and my spine, so I am now Stage 4, but I will not give up the fight. My message and reminder to you all is, “do not ignore chest pains” or any strange pains or symptoms, as it could save your life.

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