About the time Covid-19 started, I felt a small bump on my chest. I figured it was an abscess because I had had them before. Since doctors and hospitals were so overwhelmed with Covid, I did not seek immediate medical attention.
In December 2020, I woke one night with chest pain and shortness of breath. Having had a heart attack before, I rushed to the ER. Several tests and scans showed that I was not having a heart attack but did have a mass on my chest. I was sent home with antibiotics after telling them of my abscess history and told to visit my primary care physician (PCP) as soon as possible.
Back to work the next day and my job seemed to be in jeopardy as my division of work had just been sold. Thankfully my job was still intact, however my insurance benefits were slightly changed. A visit to my PCP would have to wait.
Doctor’s appointments were postponed several times due to Covid within my company. I also ended up with Covid and was sick for two weeks.
In early April, I finally got to see my PCP and she referred me to Solis Mammogram. Scans and sonograms showed 2 masses. One was on my chest, and one was under my arm. They ordered a sonagram biopsy.
The results showed I had IDC breast cancer. My father and sister suffered with cancer, and I did not want to have the same fate. I told my nurse navigator I did not think I was going to seek treatments after what my father and sister had gone through. After telling her about my family history and discussing my son and his family, we decided that I should make an appointment with a surgical oncologist. I felt God had sent this nurse navigator to be my guardian angel!
My son went with me to see the surgical oncologist. He had a solid plan for my treatment from start to finish, which also helped with my mental health. I was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer on the left side. We decided I should have a double mastectomy.
I had my surgery 6 May. It went without complications other than bruising. I was in the hospital for 2 days, then stayed with my brother for 4 days. I then went home and got back into my passion for photography. I took advantage of my down time to edit past photo shoots, scan and edit my dad’s old slides, and do many more shoots.
After 4 weeks of healing, my doctor inserted my chemo port in so I could start my 20 chemo treatments. The first 4 were every other week, and the last 16 were every week. I was very lucky the only 2 side effects were loss of hair and swelling of my legs. My last treatment is next week, and I plan to start radiation early in November. I have had my scans and tattoos done to guide the radiation treatments.
The PR department at my hospital has asked me to do a press release which has caught the eye of several news outlets so far. This allowed me to get my message out that men, too, get breast cancer.
I am just at the beginning of my journey, and I hope to update you as we go along. This is not a sprint, but a long marathon. I have traveled just the first thousand yards down this road.
The Dallas Morning News has done a story, Local news/podcast on radio, two local TV and regional TV station (CBS 11, NBC 5, and Spectrum news) and Medical City McKinney TV on their YouTube channel.