December 18, 2013
I went to Carbonear General Hospital for a minor surgery. In preparation for that surgery I was to have an E.K.G. The tech who did this procedure asked me “how long have you had that lump in your breast?” I replied, “what lump?” And so, began my journey with breast cancer.
The next day as I was waiting to be wheeled into the O.R., my surgeon walked by and I asked him to have a look. He did and decided that a biopsy was in order, but I would have to wait until I was healed from my hernia surgery.
January 14, 2014
Biopsy day. Boy was that fun! Afterward I asked what his thoughts were. He told me that he couldn’t tell, we would have to wait for the results from the lab. He told me not to worry. Cancer was highly unlikely, as only one in every thousand cases of breast cancer was in a man. My wife and I didn’t give it a second thought, sure it was only a cyst or something like that.
January 30, 2014
Biopsy results day. I was driving to Carbonear Hospital by myself, my wife wanted to accompany me, but I told her there was no need. He only wanted to tell me it was a cyst, and everything was ok. When I got to my surgeon’s office, I didn’t have to wait long before I was sitting in front of him. He looked at me and said “Randy, I’m very sorry to tell you this but you are that one in a thousand, you have breast cancer. I immediately went into shock. I didn’t hear anything he was telling me. I was just in a fog. He recognized that nothing was sinking in and told me to take a couple of days to think about it and come back with my wife to talk about treatment options. I went to my car and sat there for what seemed like hours. I called my wife and began the long drive home.
February 20, 2014
Surgery day (mastectomy) everything went perfect. I was surprised to see how good it looked and very little pain, I was dismissed from hospital two days later with a bag full of material about breast cancer, not a mention of a man in there.
March 25, 2014
All reports in. Off I go to the cancer clinic to see my Oncologist. I was assured that the surgery had gotten all the cancer and there was no need for chemo or radiation. I would just have to take tomoxifen (a drug designed for women) for five years. Fantastic! I said little did I know that all hell was about to break loose. The tomoxifen caused some very serious side effects; depression, anxiety, mood swings and temper tantrums, just to list a few. It got to the point that I could no longer work. That’s when my doctor put me on clonazepam. (the devil drug) It was supposed to counteract the side effects of the tomoxifen; guess what, it didn’t work! It only caused more problems. My world came crushing down.
My closest friends didn’t know me anymore. My wife Bonnie didn’t know me anymore and nobody wanted to be around me. I knew I had to do something, so I went looking for help. There were no drugs, no literature, no support groups for men with breast cancer and the emotional problems it causes. That’s when I found out that except for my wife and children I was truly alone. But Bonnie also had her breaking point. By now, I had put her through four years of HELL, and one day, she decided to leave. I thought there was nothing else for me to do but to take my own life, and I tried.
April 8, 2018
Woke up in the hospital, by the grace of God, my attempt had failed. When released from hospital, I decided to find a new doctor, with a new doctor came a new train of thought. He is weaning me off the drugs and my life has taken a complete turn about; I’m my old self again. Everything is back to normal and I have my family and friends back again. Life is good but in saying that, I am still feeling alone and isolated in the cancer world. I’m doing this calendar for the benefit of all the men out there who have gone through or is going through the same thing I did. I want to let them know that just because you only have one breast or no breasts, you are no less of a man. Hang in there!
Message From WINK
In our journey to create something that was an accurate reflection of Breast Cancer, some truly amazing warriors came forward. We have focused so much on strength but there is more that we are obligated to share. Breast Cancer is an unpredictable predator that has primarily targeted women. We fundraiser for research for women, wear pink ribbons and have thousand of woman’s support groups. The truth is Breast Cancer doesn’t discriminate age, race, culture or gender it just likes women more. Being a minority has its challenges and being a man with a female dominated disease is no different. In the Breast Cancer world it means drugs designed for women, research for women, support groups for women. Being a man with Breast Cancer that is perceived as a woman’s cancer can leave you Isolated, alone and fighting for your life without the tools you need to survive.
I will never forget the strength of this man that was so very lost and alone, broken by cancer rising above it to share his life in its most vulnerable time.
He is a hero that suffered in his isolation, surviving cancer, surviving himself and the darkness that ravages the mind. He is no longer alone and this is part of his letting go.
We are so proud to share his story