So, where to start?
I've always heard that any story should start at the beginning. Sounds good to me.
So there I was, sitting in my office, doing my usual thing while waiting for dinner to finish cooking; reading
email, playing games, shopping online. Joey (my husband) comes strolling down the hall telling me, "Bear (my
nickname), I've got a lump on my chest I want you to look at, I've had it for a while and now it's starting to
bother me." Joey tends to be a bit of a hypochondriac and I'm thinking it's probably and ingrown hair or
something. He walks in and says, "Here, take a look at this." I can't see anything obvious and I'm thinking he's
nuts but then he says, "Feel it." Hmmmm, he's got a lump about the size of a small egg near his left nipple. I'm
still thinking it must just be a cyst or something and then he says, "And look what's happening to the nipple, it's
turning inward." Now I'm officially freaked out! I know that an inverted nipple is a possible sign of breast
cancer. My gut is telling me one thing but my voice, in what I hope is a calm tone, is telling him, "Don't worry
Joey, it's most likely just a cyst, I get them all the time. "I'll call the doctor's office tomorrow and make an
appointment for you to have it looked at."
Off to the doctor..
Life moved at light speed after that night. Two day's later we were sitting in the doctor's office. The doc said
not to worry but I want you to get a mammogram and an ultrasound and I'm going to make an appointment
with a surgeon for you to have the lump removed. This was a Wednesday. Before we left the office the surgery
had been scheduled for Monday. I burned up my cell phone that afternoon trying to get an appointment with
the radiologist before Monday. I managed to get the mammogram scheduled for the next afternoon, in another
city. We couldn't believe this was all happening so fast! Now I know why, but I'll get to that later.
On Thursday I picked up Joey from work and headed down the road. At this point the conversation was going
back and forth between him saying, "I know I've got cancer and I'm going to die" to "I can't believe I have to
have a mammogram, men don't have mammograms!" I spent the drive trying to soothe his fears and
explaining what was going to happen.
We got there a little early and Joey sat there, white knuckled, while I filled out the paperwork. All I could say
was that everything was going to be fine, don't worry. I've told you that he is a bit of a hypochondriac but I've
haven't said that's he's usually a pillar of strength, that's he's a man's man, six feet tall, works out all the time,
strong and muscular, normally the picture of health. I just knew (or so I kept telling myself) that he couldn't
possibly have breast cancer.
The nurse called him to go back. I kissed him and told him again not to worry. I sat down for a few minutes
and then went up to the window to make arrangements to have the results faxed to the surgeon and his primary
care doc. While I was still standing there, he came back out. I was thinking, wow, that was really fast, until I
say his face. I can't begin to explain the look of utter devastation. He was literally as white as a sheet, almost
on the verge of tears and couldn't say anything at all. The nurse looked up and asked if he had had his
ultrasound done. Then another nurse handed her a piece of paper and she just said, "Oh, I see." I knew then
that his worst fears had come true.
And so the Nightmare began...
We sat in the office another ten or fifteen minutes. Joey still wouldn't or couldn't say anything. We got the
films and the report and walked out to the car.
We sat in the parking lot for quite a while. The radiologist had told him he couldn't be positive but he was 90%
sure about the diagnosis of cancer. I can't really tell you at this point what was said but I know it involved a lot
of anger, crying and denial. In retrospect, I recognize the stages of emotion, but we were no where near the
A Slight Interruption
Nothing like a little bout of viral meningitis to slow things down and the fact that this story is incredibly hard
to tell. Slight interruption.... what was I thinking?!?!?! Five months later and life is sort of back on track.
Life goes on
So, here we are, five months later. We made it through the illness, the holidays, the death of my father in law
in February and my hubby and I are still hanging in there.
I left you all hanging out in the parking lot after the trip to the radiologist. Sure am glad it was a mild winter!
Needless to say, it was a very long ride home. We were both really freaked and definitely going back and forth
between anger and denial.
A few days later we were at the hospital for the biopsy. Since you came to this site you already know what the
results were. Joey was such a trip. They had only used twilight sleep on him and he woke up just as the surgeon
was finishing and actually asked to see the tumor that had been removed!
This is a work in progress.... but will be continued......
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