This post is for the guys.
Hey, it’s just us guys, so feel free grab a beer, to kick back in the recliner, and curse at sports teams all you want. Since it is just us guys here, I want to talk about breast cancer.
GET BACK HERE
I know, I know–next month is the pink month and you will be bombarded with everything pink including the NFL. Many males will look at the statistics of getting breast cancer (1.3 in 100,000) and completely tune it out. Well, I’m here to tell you not to. Although rare in men, overall breast cancer is more fatal in men than in women. Why? Because men don’t think it happen to them so by the time they do anything about it, it is too late.
I become surprising close to being one of those stats
It was three years ago when I was in bed and I turned on my right side and felt a big lump in my breast. “What the hell” I thought. I’m a dude. This can’t happen to a dude–even a totally wimpy dude like me. It was the Friday before Labor Day and in a panic I set an appointment with my Doctor for the following Tuesday. Needless to say it was not the most fun I have ever had over a three-day weekend.
When I went to the doctor and he didn’t seem overly concerned, but to be cautious sent me to get an ultrasound. So two days later I went to a place that specialized in breast ultrasounds and when I got there they asked me when my wife was coming. *sigh*
They started the ultrasound and I knew something was wrong when the tech felt the need to let the senior tech look at the ultrasound. The senior tech took one look and rushed out to get the doctor to look at it. I really started to worry when the doctor looked at the ultrasound, flinched, and calmly said she if it was OK with me, she was going to contact my primary physician to see if we could do a biopsy. Next thing I know I am in a room with 5 women staring at me like I am exhibit A while they performed the biopsy. I was stupid enough to watch the monitor while they jammed the biopsy needle in me to get samples.
Don’t do this at home. Pretend most of the picture is solid muscle. As long as you are pretending, pretend to be amazed by my blazing running speed.
After the biopsy the doctor said she was recommending a mammogram.
BECAUSE MY DAY DIDN’T SUCK ENOUGH
All I will say is that if there are any women who have had a mammogram still reading this, I now understand why “And don’t breathe” isn’t funny. At the end of it all the doctor said not to worry, they would let me know the results.
So I went home and did what I do best–I worried. It turns out it isn’t easy to get interpretations of breast ultrasounds on the web, but I found a Canadian web site that showed ultrasounds of various types of tumors (thank you Canada). I narrowed it down to two options. Given the size of my lump (later described as lemon sized (I don’t look at lemons the same way again)) one option was benign, the other was near fatal. Both were incredibility rare (literally 1 in a million (and why did I have to use those odds for something like a tumor as opposed to something like putting together a decent blog post or setting a 10K PR)).
I made the decision not to tell my parents or brother and waited for the biopsy results (and you think I am about bad about sharing stuff with my blog readers). After about a week, I worked myself into a sufficient frenzy and called the doctor to ask WTF what was taking so long for my results. After being put on hold for a while, they finally came back and told me that the results were being sent out to Johns Hopkins for a second opinion. For those not in the US, Johns Hopkins is one of the leading hospitals in US for cancer treatment.
It did not make me feel better to hear this information
I’ll spare you the details of the next 5 days, but eventually the news came and it was good news– I had myofibroblastoma ( yea benign!) and I would get to have surgery to remove it.
Funny what qualifies as good news
When I met with the surgeon to discuss my surgery, I remember asking how soon I could run after the surgery. It struck me as odd thing that I would wonder about that since I was only running 5-8 miles a week and it really wasn’t a big part of my life. I started to run a bit more after the surgery.
Then I got hit by a car, but you know about that
Which somehow led to me wanting to run the Cherry Blossom 10 miler which lead up to Marine Corps Marathon, a 24 HR race and now I even placed 1st in my age group in a 50 miler. Suffice it to say that the last three years was an improvement over that year.
So what is the point of all of this?
OK guys, breast cancer isn’t the most likely of things to happen to you, but take the 10 seconds or so to do a self exam every so often. Or ask your significant other to feel your massive pecs. Ask them to be super handsies about it. Hopefully it leads somewhere a lot more fun than an operating table.