I have only just managed to pluck up the courage to share my story and start engaging with fellow men and woman who are going or have been through BC. I am 42 years old with a wife and 12 year old son, who are my world. On the 3rd July I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
Being a fella, I didn't really check my breasts for lumps, hell to be honest I didn't even know men could get breast cancer (stupid). It was a day before our family holiday and I looked down and saw my nipple had gone inside my breast, after feeling around I found a lump. Funny thing was I though my dog had jumped up on me a few days ago and caused some trauma…I even put savalon on it. I didn’t tell my wife. It was only after looking on the internet that I started to worry, I spoke to my wife and she reassured me, as she would do, that it is nothing serious and I should make an appointment with the doctor…I know she was more worried than letting on. I am a large lad, some would say I have the body shape of James Cauldron, so I do have some moobs.
I went to the Doctors and he referred me to the breast clinic consultant, he mentioned a few things and one of the was the BIG C. This is when I really started to crap myself, I know nothing about Cancer and had this awful perception and very few survive. It was one of the worst weeks of waiting.
Consultant day came, you all probably know how it goes from here, ultra sound scan, then she sent me for a breast scan….being a fella this was really tough, it hurt and the nurses had real trouble scanning me. Then after this I went straight in for a biopsy. This is when I knew, they took biopsy’s both from by breast and under my arm pit…I really got upset and whlist my wife was still trying to be positive, we both knew what was coming.
A week later I went to see my consultant and was diagnosed with stage 2 BC and it was in 1 lymph node. I hadn’t done much research about stages etc as I wanted to bury my head in the sand (wrong I Know but it was the only way I could cope). I signed up there and then to have mastectomy and a node clearance of all nodes leading to my armpit (24 I think)..in 3 weeks.
Operation day came and went, it went well but I suffered terribly with seromas. Over the 3-4 weeks recovering I had 6 manual drains, one drain was over 1.2ltr! I had fantastic support from McMillan nurses and was on first name terms by the end of it!
My plan, which I was told is normal, was to have 6 sessions of chemo, 3 of one type and 3 of another. Then after these sessions I would have radiotherapy.
So the week leading up to my first chemo things went a bit wrong. I got a severe infection in my operation wound, had to spend time in hospital and chemo was delayed for 3 weeks! After the delay I had my first chemo, the chemo ward and staff were brilliant. For such a daunting and worrying time, hearing all the possible side effects etc they made me feel I will get through it and they are there to support me, again McMillian nurses are fantastic.
The First 3 went ok, apart from being a bit tired, sore mouth/tongue, constipated, I feel I have been VERY lucky, I had more problems with the steroids than with the chemo!. I am able to work from home (work have been brilliant) which helped a lot as I worked when I could and slept/took time out when I needed…very fortunate.
I am now on Chemo 4, the different one. I had this a week ago, and to be honest it has knocked me for 6. It started ok for the first couple of days and then BANG. I was in so much pain, consisting of aches in all my joins, lower back and legs, sharp pain like hot pokers, I couldn’t stand up, I have slept non stop for 3 days solid. And my Mouth, Blimey, it has been 10x worse than the other chemo, I cant eat, swallow, it is like having thrush and tonsillitis at the same time. It is only day 7 I am starting to feel remotely better.
So this is were I am at as of today, I am a fighter, determined to beat this. It has changed mine and my family’s life and actually made us much closer. I will be happy to field any questions anyone has and I am looking forward to help where I can.
Much love to you all and sending you positive vibes and hugs.
p.s. I don’t know all the terms and names of chemo’s etc so please forgive me.
Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing your story. We don't get that many men posting in this forum but you are more than welcome.
It sounds very much like you have been hit by the tax truck!!! From what you describe it sounds like fec-t chemo. The good news is that you only have two more sessions of chemo left. The two remaining sessions are likely to make you feel the same way again but at least you know you are nearing the end of chemo. The way you describe it, your side effects are quite common.
You will be glad to hear that radiotherapy is a walk in the park compared to chemo.
And I quite agree, your priorities in life change when you get a positive dx. I was 43 myself.
Hello GuardianD and Welcome to the place none of us want to come.
Saying this, this site and the people on here are truly amazing and together we all come together with different experiences that can help each other. I thankfully can not help with regards to chemotherapy however, one tip that has stayed in my mind for the sore mouth, someone on here suggested 'ice lollies' are good at soothing the mouth.
My goodness me, I can imagine how this diagnosis knocks you, its like the world stands still when you hear the words and for me, well random crazy thoughts came to my head when the consultant was telling me.... as he was saying the words, he said 'do you know what this means' ... my head was saying 'you want me to cry, I am not going to cry, I am not crying' .... what a silly reaction and to this day I don't know why I thought this.
The ladies and gents in this group are fantastic they really are - no question is silly, we all understand - I don't think anyone can ever know how this feels to hear those words, then if you tell anyone, the responses 'oww you'll be fine, don't worry, it's probably nothing' - they may be said 'well meaning' but for me out of the 5 people that I told, when I had that response, I so wanted to shout 'how can you say this, you don't know what is going to happen' - then our minds go off on crazy journeys and thoughts, causing us to worry when no amount of worrying will give us answers or help us, only rob us of the joy of the here and now and drain our energy.
I am so glad you are on here and I would like to add, please don't take it personal if anyone refers to 'ladies' - the guys are few so whilst here you are always included in all of our comments and thoughts. Plus you are now a fully fledged 'Fruit Loop'.
If you have trouble sleeping or have any worries or concerns during the night time there is thread that was started by LondonLass called the 'Awake' thread - its where we all tend to gather if we have any issues, can't sleep or just want a laugh. We do actually laugh, we start on this journey so scared and slowly we learn from others 'we are going to be okay, we can do this' - then we end up as Fruit Loops.
Right GuardianD - I am waffling now, so I will go - we look forward to hearing more from you and your experience will certainly help others along this road.
Sending you love and gentle hugs xx
Thank you both for the kind welcome.
It is hard for a fella to talk about this, especially when people say "What...you have breast Cancer?!" but I believe we have all the same feelings and worries regardless of gender. Everything you both have said is 100% accurate and what I have been trough and feeling.
The current Chemo I am on starts with a D (dec something maybe) and is for various areas of cancer such as lung, prostate etc. My wife looks after all my paperwork and does a lot of research so I am so out of touch of all the names and terminologies.
I will be phoning the chemo ward today as I have hardly eaten in 3 days due to my mouth...its bad. I have been trying to suck on ice lollies but they dont help with me.
I think if I could eat or drink I can almost cope with the other bad effects. It has really started to get me down.
But your right, 2 more to go and then see what the next step is, they originally said 100% radiotherapy but my last convo with the onco might not be...we will see.
One thing I would like to ask. My scar and area around the scar is quite dry on the skin, what is a good moisturiser you recommend?
Thank you all
Glad you've found this site, it's a great place with people that know what you're going through.
I had FEC and Docetaxel for my chemo. I found the Docetaxel harsher than the FEC and I struggled with food. Not so much because of mouth ulcers but my taste buds. That was one of the worst things for me.
Definitely give them a call and they will sort out a mouthwash that should help you.
I've just had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy but haven't used anything for scarring yet. I have got some Bio oil in ready for when I get the go ahead to say I can start using something. My surgeon recommended it.
Hope you get sorted with your mouth.
Hi GuardianD just saying hello and welcome. I'm two years on from diagnosis aggressive Grade three in two nodes aged 48. It's a massive shock and your world turns upside down .Emotionally I've had the hardest time due to fears of ever leaving my lovely family but I'm still here doing fine The site is so welcoming to all and has helped me more than i can ever say keep going with treatment and posting here you'll get there xxx
Tagging Buddha7 who was, I think the last male patient here
GuardianD welcome to the community, you will find a great source of support here.
Join our December chemo club for tips on mouthwash, tax pains and anything else
As everyone has said, welcome to the club that no-one wants to join. We all understand what you you’ve been through and what you’re going through. I’m also a man and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. I had the mastectomy and chemo followed by Herceptin and now just on Tamoxifen. It’s been a bumpy ride but managed to come out the other end. Chemo is a total nightmare, although it affects each of us differently. I managed to escape the bad mouth ulcers, although my taste went for months. We all understand about the fatigue.....I never thought I’d fall asleep mid-sentence when talking to someone. It’s good to see that other men are joining the site, I think you’re the first one I’ve seen on here since I was diagnosed.
I found it best to cope by taking one day at a time and just focussing on the next chemo session, appointment, blood test etc. During treatment it is a physical nightmare but after treatment is when the emotional/mental battle starts. It’s all a bit strange when treatment ends.
It’s got that you’re on this site as everyone is very knowledgeable and understands the things you’re going through.
Anyway I hope the symptoms don’t cause you too many further problems, but you will get through it.
Hi GuardianD, and welcome, though sorry you find yourself here. As others have said, you will find grest support her. Good luck.
Yep docetaxel (t) that;s the tax truck.
The foul mouth lasted until around day 10 after chemo for me, so guessing you are nearly there now? Try to not be down about it - as I said yesterday, you are nearly done, only two more sessions left. Yogurts and ice lollies helped me.
Hi Guardian D ,I'm pretty much at the same stage as you .Slightly different dates as I was diagnosed end May..biopsied and told there was no doubt it was cancer on the day.
Plans of a sunny day shopping in Glasgow went out the window,not even sure how I managed the train to the car. They offered to phone someone but I was stunned and protested I was fine.....had to wait a week to discover what type etc but the longest of my life!!
I had 3 surgeries with infection,then started the chemo train.. Your description of chemo 4 Docetaxal ( for me last Friday) made me chuckle. BANG on day three is how it went for me!
Hot needles I thought,but on reflection hot pokers fit better. Aches in every joint in my body...wide awake a lot though due to legs feet that are so uncomfortable,diarrhoea , sickness,not so much mouth ulcers ,just the throat neck glands .
Day seven I do feel slightly better but I had a good laugh and you stopped me feeling sorry for myself. I'm lucky Ive just retired so no work to worry about .. Thanks for posting .Have a lovely xmas xxx
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