So here's my story: My daddy noticed two small lumps near his left nipple and within two weeks time those lumps were biopsied, diagnosed as cancer and daddy underwent a mastectomy. That was in the summer of 1996 and thank you, God, that my daddy NEVER had to have any kind of treatment. All this happened within a short span of time and it was over. Thank you, God. No treatments before or after. Oh, God, thank you. So, for about four years my daddy was cancer free. But that's not the end of the cancer story for daddy.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to rejoice in the typical "five years cancer free" syndrome. In October of the year 2000, daddy was diagnosed witha low grade cancer....the size of a small football....in his left buttock. You see, daddy has had pain in his back and tailbone for almost 15 years now and thru all kinds of testing, no one ever found this tumor. Thankfully, God sent us a surgeon who ordered a complete MRI and there it was. Now, as bad as this sounds, we'd like to think that this tumor has been growing for some time and that it DIDN'T get to be this size overnight. If it did, it was growing way too fast. So let's assume it has been there and slowly growing. Now daddy has to take radiation treatments five times a week for six or seven weeks to shrink it before it can be removed. And I am a firm believer in the fact that there is a blessing in every situation. The blessing here is that this "low grade" cancer means that its self contained in this tumor and WILL NOT spread. Praise God. Daddy had to have surgery for the biopsy since the needle biopsy didn't convince the doctors that there was nothing there. They took out a "sample" the size of a golf ball and sure enough, that big "C" reared its ugly head. But its self contained. That means all the cancer is "self contained" in this one tumor. That's good news.
Daddy had radiation therapy five days a week for seven weeks and then a month of "healing" and resting from all the treatments before the surgery. And surgery went well. God has always been so good to us. And no plastic surgery. The "football" was deflated and the tumor turned out to be less massive than first thought. No plastic surgery for "rebuild". Yippee. But my story still isn't over. The cancer part is (hopefully), but not the surgery.
My daddy is NOT the kind of person who stays still for very long. Feeling pretty good about 6 weeks after the surgery, he was out wiping pollen off the car when the incision burst open and blood was everywhere. Surgery. Back in. The "cavity" had filled with infection. Drain tubes stayed in for almost 2 months after that. Pain was intense. Recovery was slower than anyone had ever anticipated. And that recovery continues. But the cancer is gone. Daddy still limps a little when he walks and the pain is still there but he's breathing. That's what's important to us. I told him the good part about the pain is that he knows he's still alive. There HAS to be a blessing in every situation.
So, now, back to my male breast cancer story: why do we always hear so much about women and breast cancer and nobody ever mentions the men? Maybe its because people think the physical scar isn't as bad for a man. Isn't it? Maybe its because people think the emotional scar isn't as bad for a man. Isn't it? Maybe its because people think the people who love these men aren't nearly as affected as people who love female breast cancer patients. Aren't they? I'm here to answer YES to at least the last question and I THINK SO to the others. Since I'm not the patient I can't answer "yes" to those other questions but I can sure cast an opinion as the daughter of a survivor.
If you want to talk about MBC, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. Or at least sign my guestbook and talk to me about the person you know with MBC. We have just GOT to get the word out that MEN DO GET BREAST CANCER.
Now, before I move on, let me put in a plug for the only place God lead me to regarding MBC....and it wasn't the cancer society!! They didn't even have anybody who could talk to me about it. If you didn't find my page via the Nick Foundation homepage, then PLEASE go by there and visit: http://www.johnwnickfoundation.com. The people who created the page (Dave and Teresa Lyons) have really done a lot for Nancy Nick (John's daughter and founder of the foundation). Nancy is a real go-getter and has tried desperately to spread the word about MBC. My special thanks to all of you who have become my friends thru MBC. I guess there really IS a blessing in every situation.
And now, my mother, God bless her, had a cancer removed from her leg where skin had to be grafted and a cancer removed from her hand. The report was they "got it all" so we're praying for a clean bill of health on all future checkups for her too. And all this was done just months after she underwent total knee replacement surgery. What an ordeal that was. But she says the cancer surgery and recovery was far more painful than the knee replacement. Imagine that! But there's bad news. No sooner than daddy finished his radiation treatments and was recovering before his five hour surgery where a plastic surgeon was on hand to rebuild his butt cheek if need be, my mother was told the melanoma on her leg had returned. She has to be hospitalized for 5 days after the surgery so that the skin graft will not die....which is what almost happened the last time. She's not looking forward to this, but who would. But the surgery or all surgeries.....my mother had to have SIX bypasses done in May of 1999. What a strong woman she is to have recovered from all of these so well. God has blessed her....and all of us....really good!! You know the old saying "God never puts on us more than we can bear". Well, my mother and I look EXACTLY alike. Good thing God can tell us apart cause if He'd given me my mother's cross to bear......well, never mind. He didn't and I'm grateful.
Okay, so now you know I adore my parents. I've always said that if God had given me the opportunity to pick my parents, I'd have made the same choice He did....with never any regrets.
Now let me tell you a little something about myself: I'm retired after having served 32 years working for the City of Jacksonville. I'm more than half a century old. But they say you're only as old as you feel so I'll go with 93...oops....typo....make that 39. Oh, and who are "they" anyway? I'm married to a younger man (well, not that much younger) who was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina but spent most of his growing up years just on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina. This is a second marriage for both of us and we made our two lives one in 1985. I have two step-children and four step granddaughters. My husband and I live in a house on the river in Jacksonville,Florida,have a golden lab (mixed) named Samson who as born in August of 1999 and a german shepard (mix) named Bella (that means beautiful in Italian) who was born in September of 2000 and a little stray that came to the house named Rindie. She's brindle colored and we were going to call her "Brindie" but everytime Bella heard the "B", she came a runnin'. Of course, she still comes a runnin' now no matter who you call. She just doesn't want to miss anything. And by the way, Rindie is part lab and has taken right up as one of the family. We have a boat and the five of us love to go boating from time to time. The "children" LOVE it when we see the dolphins out playing in the river.
I have only one sibling, a sister, and she and her husband have been married over 25 years now. My sister and her husband have only one child, a daughter. And, like I've said before, she may be spoiled but that's not her fault. That's something WE did to HER....but she doesn't seem to mind. My mother, sister and I were all born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida and still live here. My father is from Boston, Mass. and has been in Jacksonville since he and my mother married more than years ago. I collect Precious Moments (which are porcelain figurines) and the very first one I ever bought was for my one and only niece on the day she was born back in 1981. I put God first in my life and learned the hard way that's what you need to do. He's been very good to me and my family and even with some tragedies, He's always seen us through. And, I'm basically a good person who enjoys comforting other people. It makes me feel good to make them feel good. Just sort of one of those special "things" God gave me the ability to do. Oh, and one other thing. I'm a Notary Public who preformed the marriage ceremony for my stepdaughter and her husband. I've performed other weddings and am always honored when asked to do so.
And there are several titles which have been bestowed upon me during these past 50 plus years and they are all very special to me. So here are they are (maybe not in the order they were bestowed), labeled as "topics I like to talk about" : Daughters and how to be a good one (I think I know the answer to this but let's compare notes and see if we can learn something from each other)Sisters and how you hate growing up with them but amazingly become good friends when you get all grown up!Nieces and not so much being one but the fun of having one Aunt and how easy it is to be the best one in the world because of a wonderful niece (and yes, I may be a little prejudice)Being a wife and a stepmother (those two titles came together and I could probably use some advise on the latter. I love the wife part and I'm not doing too bad at that (I don't think....maybe I should ask my husband) but I'm not so sure I'm any good at the stepmother thing.... though I try to be) Being a grandma without spoiling the grandkids (why do I think nobody can give me advise on this one?)Friends and how to be the best (Not only AM I a best friend but I HAVE a best friend too. So I can sort of talk from both sides). And speaking of friends, I bet there aren't a lot of people who can say "I've had this friend for more than 40 years". But I can. We, undoubtedly, are life long friends. And one of my proudest titles is Christian sister. I am one and have several and its all a wonderful part of my life. In fact, lots of my Christian sisters happen to also be my cyber sisters. We've never seen each other but we don't need to see each other to feel that bond we share. It really is wonderful. You realize that just on the other side of this screen is someone who loves you.....sight unseen.
And of course I can always talk about Precious Moment figurines. My collection hasn't been added to as much as the first 4 years I collected. I got married just over 19 years ago and the things I spent money on somehow got diverted away from porcelain. Funny thing! But my loving husband DID take me to the Precious Moments Chapel in Missouri. What a wonderful trip, an awesome sight and a true blessing. AND he was with me when I attended an Estate Sale (that someone told me about) and actually told me to make an offer on 125 Precious Moments pieces. There were SIX of them that were $100 a piece (retail). I bought ALL the pieces for about $11 each. Ah, yes, I'm truly happy about that. And now my collection totals over 1,000. My entire living room is display cabinets. My niece calls it my Precious Moments Museum.
If you'd like to talk to me about Precious Moments, dieting (I've lost about a thousand pounds in my lifetime....and gained it all back), male breast cancer, walking as exercise, wedding planning (I love to dabble in this as a hobby) or most anything, please just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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