"Men don't realize, we have all the same breast parts that a woman has."
It was funny the way we caught my breast cancer. I had a sore throat, so I went to the doctor. I had a list, you know, "By the way, I also have acid reflux..." and he gave me a fistful of prescriptions. Then I said, "Oh, yeah, I forgot, I have this lump." I'd had it behind my left nipple for more than a year. I figured it was a cyst. There was no pain or discharge. I had never even heard of male breast cancer.
But the doctor told me, "You don't get cysts there." He sent me immediately for a mammogram and a sonogram. That doctor saw it was a solid mass and said, "You gotta do a needle biopsy." And that's when I found out it was cancer.
It was October 2006. I was like, "Oh, my God." You wonder what you've left out in life. I have two great sons that I raised myself. My youngest son is in the military; he was in Iraq while I was diagnosed. I didn't have a will yet. Then there's the fear of chemotherapy and treatments
. My father died of colon cancer, and I was the one who brought him for chemo and treatment. Chemo was a lot different then; he was violently ill. But that scared me.
My general practitioner told me to see a doctor who's well-known in the breast cancer arena. So I decided to go with Dr. Julie Lange at Johns Hopkins. She said the first thing before surgery is a needle biopsy for my lymph nodes, and that came back positive as well. We scheduled the surgery just two weeks after.