Guy Nakoa

Aloha, my name is Guy Nakoa, I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Maui. A culinarian for over two decades, I’ve worked with some of the best chefs and culinary teams in the food industry.

I first discovered my lump in 2000 while I did my internship for Princess Wilderness Lodge in Denali, AK. My first thought was, “men don’t get breast cancer”. Fast ward to 2015, my now lump has grown to the size of a dime. In 2016 I was diagnosed positive for the rare neuroendocrine tumor (NET). My surgery was done in 2017, then six months later I had another surgery to remove lymph nodes in the area.

Late in 2018 now living in Defiance, Ohio, my cancer came back. I started my second chemotherapy at Paulding Medical Hospital, four days a week. After that eight-treatment cycle my doctor said there was nothing more he could do, and I would have to take cancer meds for the rest of my life. After my consultation with my doctor and daughter, I told my daughter I want to die in the Hawaiian waters.

Being my life expectancy was around five years, I didn’t care about anything after that. Depression kicked in, my self-esteem was shot, and my attitude was only darkness. One day I said, Lord I choose to live for myself, my daughter, my grandchildren, and the love of my life, my soul mate.

In February, 2024, I had my left breast removed for a preventative measure while on the island of Oahu, HI. While there we stayed at Hope Lodge, American Cancer Foundation, while I recovered after my surgery.

Men’s Breast Cancer awareness should have a bigger platform! Most men, me included, are too embarrassed to say, ask or admit they have a problem. This mindset needs to change because our families will be greatly affected if men keep quiet.

I’m one of the lucky ones able to share my story. So, here’s what I’ve learned when I was on Oahu staying at Hope Lodge.

My time there was an experience I never had in my life. All the patients there were going through their own struggles, fears and worries. When I went for my surgery, I didn’t know what to expect I just thought I was going to go to get my breast removed and then recover. But as time went on, God started to reveal His bigger picture in what my purpose was; it was about the patients, it was about the relationships, and it was about sharing my story with these people.

What I realized was my surgery was just for preventative measures. It wasn’t about me just starting my treatment or going through the middle of my treatment I was pretty much at the tail-end of my treatments.

So, as a support to them, I understood the darkness that these people felt being so alone, so helpless, with people alienating them and not wanting to know or understand what they were going through. I wanted to be an advocate to focus a bigger spotlight on men’s breast cancer, and to let men know it’s not something to be embarrassed about.

So, just to let you know, I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I know that is something that is very important to me and it’s my job until the day I die to do everything I can to promote to support and to be a voice for men all over the United States and the world.

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