Frank’s Story

It was the end of 2008 and there I was, a 6’3”, 240 lbs. Harley riding General contractor working commercial construction management, reading a report stating I was the proud owner of a 2.5 cm invasive ductile carcinoma, stage 3, T2, estrogen and progesterone positive breast cancer.  Are you kidding me?  I’m a guy.  I was only 61 and I knew I was going to die.

Breast cancer had been in my family for as long as I could remember.  My mother died at the age of 45. I looked just like her father and was just like her, a left handed musician with cancer in my left breast, just exactly like her.  I knew I didn’t stand a chance.  My mother’s sister had it and died.  My sister had it and survived.  I was scared.

I underwent a bilateral mastectomy removing 5 sentinel nodes on the right side and 20 nodes on the left until the margins on the left were clear.  As soon as I had healed form the surgery, they installed a port and just before Christmas, I started the worst time of my life – a full run of Adriamycin, Cytoxan and Taxotere…poison.

The entire chemo experience was without a doubt, horrible.  Because of my size, my oncologist told me that I had almost double the normal amount of chemo pumped through me.  I was so sick and in so much pain after the treatment and the Neulasta shot.  I couldn’t move for a couple days.  My wife Sandy took care of me, otherwise I might have given up.

That is all behind me now. They say I am cancer free, but I was before all this started. Or was I . . . are any of us ever free of cancer?

Chemo was finished and the radiation began; it was nowhere near as bad.

I finished the seven weeks of radiation treatment and on a final blood count, we found out that my PSA was elevated so off to the urologist for a prostate biopsy. Sure, why not?  I had prostate cancer too.  What the hell, more surgery.

That is all behind me now.  They say I am cancer free, but I was before all this started. Or was I . . . are any of us ever free of cancer? For all my life, I had pretty much been in charge and driving the bus.  Cancer unceremoniously dumped me into the back of the bus where I stayed for over a year.  These days I’m just happy to be along for the ride.

My sister in Denver is a survivor as is her daughter. Through her I got involved with the Komen organization and was speaker in the hospitality tent and on the survivor stage.  I feel that I should tell men that they are potential victims.  I also feel that I should tell men that their wives who are being treated, are going through an unbelievable hell and that they need all the support possible.

I guess that’s what I have left to do.  – Frank

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