On the heels of Father’s Day, I want to share Dave’s story. Dave, a MAN was diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, he is a two-year survivor.
In Dave’s own words:
“WOW! Who would think that I would be a Breast Cancer Survivor? To look at me, one would see just another average guy. I was born and raised in Miami –– married to my wife, Kim, for 35 years; we have three children Nicholle, David Jr., and Keaton, and one grandchild Caroline. I have worked in the voice and data field for 39 years, over 30 of them at Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
I am an average guy. Weeknights and Saturdays were spent with my kids at Optimist football and baseball fields. When not on the athletic fields, we enjoyed boating, fishing and scuba diving. As retirement grew near, my focus turned to building my retirement home together with my family in Ormond Beach.
It is 293 miles from Miami to Ormond Beach –– a 5-hour drive. That drive saved my life. I discovered the lump under my right nipple in May 2010 because the seat belt was rubbing my breast. Fortunately, I am aware of my family history of breast cancer on my mother’s side, so I knew this was something not to ignore. My wife was more shocked than I was with the cancer diagnosis; remember I am just a typical average guy.
Sitting in the waiting room at Baptist Health Breast Center, I could not help but notice the women checking each other out (yes, women do check each other out). Then the receptionist called out my name –– you should have seen the jaws drop! This small surprise really confirmed what I always suspected: Women think breast cancer only happens to them.
What did surprise me most was when the evening of the surgery arrived and as I was checking in, friends came from Ormond Beach to give support and stay with Kim. Chemotherapy and radiation followed, and the unsolicited support continued. You really begin to get a sense of how the way you live your life touches others and how each life you’ve touched touches you back. It was astonishing!
During treatment, I was plunged into a world surrounded by many sick people. It was then that I realized there are so many people, some way too young for this, some old and some dying. It was then that I realized my own mortality.
What I learned.
Your attitude makes a huge difference to your outcome. Throughout the experience you learn many things about yourself, your family, your friends and your co-workers. I am blessed with a fantastic wife, three great children and a granddaughter who is a bundle of joy. I am glad that this was me and not my wife or daughter!
I am a survivor and thankful for every morning I wake up. Yeah, I am still just an average guy, maybe just a little wiser and more appreciative.”
Dave has been married to his wife, Kim, for 35 years. They have three children –– Nicholle, David and Keaton. His pride and joy is his granddaughter, Caroline. David’s family has a history of breast cancer yet despite his history his genetic tests were negative. Since his diagnosis, David has been outspoken about his disease. He was interviewed by Antonio Mora, CBS4, “The Often Untold Story of Men & Breast Cancer”, which aired in October 2011 during the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. He also was a model at the Day of Caring breast cancer event fashion show in May 2012.
I want to reiterate the message that breast cancer is NOT only a woman’s disease. The incidence of male breast cancer has increased over 26 percent during the past 25 years according to the John W. Nick Foundation, the oldest male breast cancer organization in the world. Approximately 2,030 new cases are diagnosed annually and there are 450 deaths.
As stated by John W. Nick, the majority of men with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors. Of the risks that have been associated with the disease, many are related to the following: hormone levels, never married, Jewish ancestry, previous benign breast disease, gynecomastia, history of testicular or liver pathology, family history of breast cancer or prior chest wall irradiation.
Muriel, four-year, five-month, 16-day survivor
PLEASE JOIN THE CONVERSATION
As a part of our mission to make The Journey a powerful voice for everyone in our community, we invite each of you to consider joining the conversation and sharing your journey with comments and feedback. You don’t have to be a breast cancer survivor, you can be a caregiver, or a friend, or a concerned citizen. What we are looking for is meaningful and helpful conversations that will encourage other people as they travel along their journey. Sharing is caring and very cathartic. I sincerely urge you to take part.