By Tony Savage
As a retired San Diego Charger’s defensive tackle, I’ve had my share of injuries and surgeries. Nothing I endured on the field was as difficult as my breast cancer surgery and treatment though.
In July 2011, I was involved in a rear-end collision (not my fault) and subsequently scheduled an appointment with my primary care physician. I had known for some time that I had a lump in my left breast, but not having insurance and thinking that it would just go away, I never had it checked sooner.
At the appointment, I casually mentioned my lump to the doctor. He examined my breast, didn’t like how it felt and scheduled a mammogram. The doctor who read the mammogram didn’t like what she saw and ordered an ultra sound. She didn’t like how that looked either, so she sent me to see a surgeon. He immediately did a biopsy.
In August, I was diagnosed with stage II infiltrating ductal carcinoma of the breast. On September 13th I had a mastectomy and two months later started six rounds of chemotherapy given three weeks apart. Radiation treatments followed about a month after chemo.
After playing three years in the NFL, my tolerance for pain became pretty high. Nothing came close to what your body goes through after you undergo chemotherapy. It was definitely brutal. My mind was right, but my body took a beating.
With the help of family and friends, but most of all my beautiful, beautiful wife, I got through it. She was with me every step of the way, my angel!
Now I’m checked two-three times a year. I’m also BRCA positive and stay on top of my risks. I work in real estate and investments and I am healthy!
I was invited to be part of The Ford Models of Courage and am proud to be a three year Breast Cancer Survivor. At 47, I have a lot to be thankful for, a beautiful wife, two sons and the ability to help bring awareness to breast cancer in men and women.