In October of 2005 at the age of 39 my left nipple became sore and swollen. My doctor did a round of antibiotics but it didn’t clear it up. She decided to be extra cautious and do a mammogram, which showed nothing, and then an ultrasound which showed a tiny suspicious spot. A biopsy was performed and it came back positive for cancer; stage zero, confined to a duct. A second surgery was performed to make sure it was all gotten. No other treatment was given as they were sure they got it all.
In November of 2007 while taking a shower, I felt a lump in the same breast area. After seeing my oncologist he ordered more scans and it was discovered that the cancer had returned, stage 2b. A complete mastectomy was done and a lymph node dissection removing 13 lymph nodes. One tested positive for cancer. I then began chemotherapy that lasted three months. I lost my hair and developed chemo induced neuropathy in my feet. I started a daily pill of tamoxifen that I would take for 5 years, which I completed in December of 2013. I once again was given the all clear.
In September of 2018 I had a CT scan thinking I was having another episode of diverticulitis. Once the results came back, I was contacted by my oncologist saying it showed something suspicious and he had ordered a PET scan. The PET scan showed that my cancer was back, this time the dreaded stage 4. It had spread to my sternum and clavicle, a spot on my chest wall where my breast used to be and in some lymph nodes by my heart. A biopsy was done on the spot in my sternum, and it was confirmed that it was my breast cancer that had spread, not new cancer.
My current oncologist decided to put me back on tamoxifen for now, nothing else. I decided I wanted a second opinion and made an appointment with Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Atlanta. I spent the first week of October 2018 there going through many tests and speaking with many doctors. On the last day I spoke with an oncologist. He suggested a completely different battle plan involving two pills and a monthly shot. I asked him point blank at the end of the meeting… “Given all you know about my cancer, how long can I live with this?” Without hesitation he said, “Two to three years, give or take.”
I went back to my regular oncologist with all my paperwork from Atlanta. He was not happy. He asked how many men has this other oncologist treated. I didn’t know. He said one of the two meds he recommended has shown in studies to have a reverse effect on men instead of healing. He also told me that one of the tests they did in Atlanta was genomic testing. They discovered that my breast cancer had a certain mutation that a brand-new medicine had been created to fight; Piqray. That will be my next medicine in my arsenal. I did decide to go with my current oncologists’ plan and so far, so good. As the old saying goes, I’m living on borrowed time. My three years was up this past October 2021 and I’m doing great. I will also mention that I am taking dog dewormer (fenbendazole) that has been shown to help slow or even cure cancer. See “Joe Tippens Protocol”.
Whatever it is that’s help keeping me alive, I am grateful. I want to see my grandkids grow up and one very important thing to me would be to celebrate 50 years with my absolute, most favorite person in this world, my wife Michele. That may be a tall order… as of right now we are working on number 37!