In late 2014, I came home after exercising and noticed a lump on my right nipple. My sisters, who were oncology nurses, told me to see a doctor. I had a mammogram in December 2014 and was diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer at age 63.
I had a mastectomy on my right side and had three lymph nodes removed. I began chemotherapy for one year with Taxotere, Carboplatin and Herceptin, then Herceptin only for 3 months. I am taking Tamoxifen for a 10-year period to prevent a recurrence of the disease.
During chemo, I had depression and anxiety and was nauseous every day. I had a psychotic reaction to steroids that were given to me during chemo. That was awful, and I was afraid to be alone.
I recently had a BRCA test that returned a negative result.
I was unable to work as a bus operator during my period of treatment, due to the side effects of the treatment. I became fearful and anxious and continue to be fearful and anxious to this day about a possible recurrence.
My family was surprised and concerned about my diagnosis, as no one in my family has had cancer. My friends and colleagues were also concerned and many of them were not aware of the possibility of breast cancer in men.
I am thankful to have the support of my wife, the staff at the Cancer Center, friends, the psychiatrist, the psychologist, family, my spiritual director and my church family. In addition, my Catholic faith and my trust in God are important to me in dealing with this cancer.
I have learned much since my cancer diagnosis. Breast cancer is very treatable in early stages, so men should pay attention to changes in their breasts and get a mammogram if they notice anything abnormal.