Luis A. Tuma

In February of 2023 I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Invasive Carcinoma breast cancer.

One day in June 2022, I felt a lump behind one of my nipples. When I told my mother what I had found and she examined it, she told me not to worry about it. She thought it was just a bone.

Fast forward to February 2023.  My lump felt a bit bigger than before. I’m very observant of my body, so any difference I would immediately notice. I expressed to my mother that the lump was much bigger. I decided to go into the emergency room.

After work, I went to the emergency room.  While being examined, I noticed the doctor made a referral to a breast cancer clinic. I asked, “Why are you referring me to a cancer clinic?”  He said, “Just to be safe. I doubt it is cancer as this only occurs in 1 in 1,000 men”.

The next morning, I called to be seen in the cancer clinic, but they told me I needed a referral from my primary doctor. I called my primary doctor for a referral and learned she was on vacation.  I was seen by another doctor in that office.  When she felt the lump, I could see a level of concern on her face.

I was immediately sent to radiology.  That same day I got results of abnormalities in my tests.  A biopsy was recommended. On March 8, 2023, the biopsy was done. This day I will never forget because it was my birthday.

On March 20, pathology results came back positive for invasive carcinoma. I was in total disbelief. The surgeon determined that I had two options: I could either have a lumpectomy done with 30 days of radiation, or I could have a double mastectomy.

Full of tears I turned to my mother and aunt and asked them, “What should I do?” The surgeon sent me for a genetic mutation exam, and that was going to determine my decision. If it came back positive, a lumpectomy was no longer an option.

Two weeks later the results showed I was BRCA2 positive. On April 27, 2023, a double mastectomy was completed, and five lymph nodes were removed. I was so relieved to know this illness was finally out of my body. On May 12, 2023, my pathology report showed the lump was extremely small and all lymph nodes were negative for cancer.

I was placed on a five-year medication and am currently working with a plastic surgeon to reconstruct the “new me”. I am more than grateful to have been very lucky and vigilante enough to catch this early. As I always say, “Each day I wake up is a Grammy win, a blessing in the sky, a soldier fighting to win the most important battle”. There is nothing to fear!  The key here is early detection. I pray each day thanking God for the opportunity and hoping He can cure the emotional pain that has scarred my life as the physical scar will eventually vanish.

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