When I got up in front of the nursing classes and told the crowd all about my surgeries and treatments, they were behind me 100%. I had been the Director of Facilities and Operations at a Nursing College for many years and never thought I’d be talking about my breast cancer.
My breast cancer story starts the same way many others do. I found a lump on my breast while in the shower.
In September 2012, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer of the right breast. Two weeks later I went into the hospital for a full mastectomy and the removal of 10 lymph nodes. After test results, I had to go back into the hospital in October to have another 12 cancerous lymph nodes removed. After all the X-rays, ultrasounds, mammograms and surgeries were complete, I started a four-month heavy-duty treatment of chemotherapy, which at times kicked my ass. After chemo, I had a month to rest then six weeks of radiation daily. All my treatments were at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando, FL.
I could not have tackled the toughest battle of my life without all the help and support from my awesome wife of 35 years, Donna, and my beautiful daughters Jessica and Stefanie. Donna has been at my side for every test, surgery, treatment, doctors’ visits and everything else involved with this ordeal. My two girls have been there the whole stretch, having daily contact with Donna checking on my status. Stef flew down to Orlando twice, the second time she surprised me with Jess at the Cancer Center for my last chemo (yes, I cried). Thankfully, I tested negative for any BRCA mutation.
My last radiation treatment was on May 3, 2013. To top it off, the same night I did the American Cancer Society Relay for Life walk at the local high school with my daughter Jess.
We still have a few speed bumps to get over and are taking one day at a time. At this moment, John Schofield has kicked the shit out of cancer. Remember, real men wear pink and get breast cancer too!