My Dad Was Diagnosed With Breast Cancer, Don't Tell Me It's Just A Woman's Issue
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My Dad Was Diagnosed With Breast Cancer, Don't Tell Me It's Just A Woman's Issue

Before my dad's diagnosis, I had no idea that men could get breast cancer.

My Dad Was Diagnosed With Breast Cancer, Don't Tell Me It's Just A Woman's Issue
Kelsey Vianese

Have you ever had an experience in life that was so shocking and different from anything else that happens regularly that it feels like a dream? Maybe it was an experience so wonderful and joyous that you can't even believe it could actually happen. Those are by far the best kinds of days. Unfortunately, though, this feeling isn't a one-way street and the dream-like days are more like a nightmare.

Luckily for me, this kind of day has been very seldom in my life, but there is one very specific day where I am reminded of this feeling. This was the day that my dad made an unexpected stop at my mom's house. He asked to speak with me, so I went to meet him in the entrance room. The look on his face was nothing but pure sadness. He told me that he had received some news from his doctor and that after some testing, it was found that he had stage four breast cancer. Of course, being only 16 years old, I wasn't completely sure what that meant. Just earlier that year my grandpa had passed away from brain cancer, so anything involving the word cancer scared me to death.

My dad had, in fact, tried to go into full detail about what this all meant, but I had collapsed into a little ball of tears on the ground and wasn't completely processing everything that was being said. The only thing that I did in fact hear, was that the doctors had given him five years to live. This was the most nerve-racking thing to think about, life without my dad. Although scared, I still had this feeling in the back of my mind that was calm, because I knew that my dad was strong and that he'd do whatever he could to beat cancer.

The first thing was to get him all set up with doctor's appointments and medications. My dad started off with numerous appointments, but as things cleared up and cancer started to go away, this number began to shrink. I have been to the hospital with my dad and these appointments differ but they are long and time-consuming, usually taking up the better half of a day. The nurses, however, are sweet and funny which makes the time go by faster. As far as medication goes, my dad is on chemo, but no, he is not bald. In fact, he has a mustache and a full head of hair.

The chemo is, however, rather draining. My dad is a very outdoorsy man. He loves to cut wood and go hunting and go out on nature walks. He never stopped doing these things, but he did slow down a little bit and substituted that time for more naps. I think it's very important to try and maintain your previous lifestyle as much as you can, but it's also important to rest so your body has time to heal. My dad was also put on a hormone blocker. He jokes that the doctors are turning him into a woman because every month he visits the women's imaging hall and now he gets hot flashes from his hormone blockers.

Cancer is nowhere near glamorous. It's exhausting, frustrating and you constantly feel like your own body is making moves against you. My dad says that the most important thing you can do is stay happy and positive, you can't let cancer get the best of you. YOU have to show it who's boss. If you can do that then, in the end, you were never battling a disease, you just had to live a slightly different lifestyle than you were previously used to.

It's been two and a half years since that day and my dad is still here gracing us with his non-stop dad jokes and hugs. His recent scans have come up clear and he's very healthy. The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and because of how close to home this topic hits, this month is a beautiful reminder to be thankful for what I have and how blessed I am that I can call my dad and tell him about something that happened in class. This month is also a great time to inform people of the facts regarding breast cancer.

Did you know that breast cancer is 100 times less common among white men than it is white women? It is about 70 times less common among black men than black women. Personally, before my dad's diagnosis, I had no idea that men could get breast cancer. The unfortunate truth is that this number is only increasing. My dad was very lucky. He had pain in his breast area, so he went to see a doctor. At first, nothing was discovered but after a few more tests and a few other doctors later, it was discovered that it was in fact cancer. It is important that women and men do self-breast exams once a month and if they feel anything abnormal to see a doctor right away for further testing. Take it from me, you never know, it might just save your life.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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