Fact: 1 in 1,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. My dad was that special one!
Two years ago my father was diagnosed with breast cancer, after identifying a lump in his chest that he ignored for 2 months.
He went through scans, an operation, 8 chemotherapy sessions, pain, nausea, low immunity, and everything a cancer patient would go through. After 8 months his body responded to the treatment and we are currently in remission embracing the scar.
When my dad was getting the biopsy, I heard the surgeon talk about malignant and benign tumors, and I instantly had a feeling that this was not going to be good. I asked him if this could be cancerous, and he told me that we had to wait for the biopsy. After a few days of impatiently waiting for a response, I called the doctor for the results and he informed me that the lump is malignant and we had to see him first thing on Monday. I was shocked. I felt like someone shook me and I could not think of anything anymore. I cried so much that day but there was nothing I could do about it, I only had to be strong and there for him. Why did it have to be him? He’s a good person. He’s healthy. He does not deserve it. These were my thoughts.
My father was not at home on that day and I had to find a way to tell him that he has a doctor’s visit without informing him about the results because it was better to get the news from the doctor. But he knew it, the moment I told him about his appointment.
I have always believed that things are meant to be. A few months before the diagnosis, I got a job right across the hospital. This made it very easy for me to be there for my dad, whether for doctor visits or picking up blood test results, etc..
I was lucky to be able to be there for everything. I was there for every operation, doctor visit, and chemotherapy sessions. For a whole year, I only knew how to be strong, and this is what made it easy for our family. We are all very close and we support each other and my father which kept him strong throughout his journey. We never lost hope.
My dad has a big heart and he was always laughing and making jokes. The nurses loved him; he had something prepared for them on each chemotherapy session. He even made them play a game on valentine’s! This helped him get through.
I could really keep talking about this for hours. No words can describe my father, his strength and his charisma.
After I followed matcha and mascara and saw the amount of awareness on the page, I knew I had to do something about it. I wrote a post 1 year ago on male breast cancer during breast cancer awareness month, and I have been shedding light on this topic since then.
I’m glad that my dad agreed to share his story. This helps me appreciate everything he has been through and everything he is doing for us.
It is very important to check your body and listen to everything it is telling you. Do not ignore any signs or change, no matter your age or your gender!
Love to you all.
This is not the first time I talk about my story. Ever since I was diagnosed, I’ve been trying to be an agent of change. Whenever I get the chance, I shed light on the topic. Our community should know that breast cancer is not only for women.
Here is how the story begins.
On the first week of August 2018 I fell and broke my wrist. A few weeks later I saw lump on my right breast and mistook it for a blood clot (caused by the fall). It wasn’t painful. But the lump was growing so fast! I tried to ignore it but my family insisted on getting it tested. When I went to remove the binding, I showed the lump to my orthopedic and he instantly prescribed a scan and asked me to see a surgeon. On the 3rd of September 2018, I went to the surgeon; got a biopsy and 1 week later I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. At 58 years old, I became one in a thousand. One in a thousand men get breast cancer.
I am a husband and a father for 3 beautiful children and a person full of life. My wife and daughter were with me at the clinic and I could not express my feelings. I couldn’t show them I was devastated. I did not understand. I was overwhelmed. I could not believe it at first – I did not want to. I couldn’t even say the “C” word.
How could a man get breast cancer?
Why me? I am a healthy person, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink. Has it always been there?
Is it really cancer?
Will I die? I cannot leave my family alone.
So many thoughts went through my mind. It took over me at first.
After the mastectomy, the doctor informed me that the cancer is localized and the lymph nodes are cancer free. I needed 8 chemotherapy sessions and hormonal therapy after the first year. This is where the journey continues.
I went through eight chemotherapy sessions, pain, fear, nausea, low immunity, scars, hair loss, weeks and weeks at home, and everything a cancer patient goes through.
Believe it or not, it wasn’t always hard. I had the most positive people surrounding me.
My God-sent oncologist, Dr. Rabih Said, helped me get past it as well. He deserves all the praise. He explained to me how men are always diagnosed and it is one of the easiest types of cancers to treat. He answered every phone call, every question and always showed up with a smile!
Most importantly, my wife was my biggest supporter throughout my treatment. She helped me through the acceptance phase, attended every chemotherapy session, every doctor visit and helped me be proud of who I am, because I never changed. I am still the same person.
During my treatment, I had to change my diet and shift to a healthier lifestyle. When I told people I had breast cancer many were surprised, or did not understand how a man could get it. Everyone had a different point of view.
I was strong. With all the support, I was never alone in this and I never lost hope. I woke up every day with more hope and less fear. I don’t talk about my experience in the present tense; I consider it from the past. It was just a phase.
After cancer, my priority became my family. I try to spend more time with them, and appreciate the time we have.
Cancer never defined me. I am still the same person I was before, with an extra experience that I can share. Whether you are a man or a woman, do not let sickness define you. Stay the way you are, live your life, go to work, rest when you feel like it, and live fully!
Positivity is 90% of the treatment.