Cancer Survivor Bill Becker’s Story
What do you do when you are faced with a diagnosis of Stage IV Metastatic Male Breast Cancer? You fight. Sometimes surviving means learning how to live with a disease you never thought you’d have. Today’s story is that of Bill Becker and is told in his own words.
Initial diagnosis of stage III male breast cancer was in May of 2011. In June I had surgery, a full mastectomy of my left pectoral. Chemotherapy followed at the end of July and ran in two phases, first it was a full throttle blast of AC + T for two months and then the second phase was just Taxol which ended in December of 2011. I was a hot mess at the end of it, very tired and just couldn’t take much more. However, therapy wasn’t finished; my oncologist asked me to see a radiologist about bettering my chances of survivorship with radiation therapy. Unwillingly, I continued on with radiation into February of 2012…worst sun burn of my life is the best way to describe the radiation burns that I got. Even after applying all the ointments they recommended. I was prescribed Tamoxifen to help combat the cancer. The fact that I’m a man plays into the possibilities of not being able to handle the side-effects of Tamoxifen. It was more like everyone around me not being able to tolerate me because of the side-effects of the Tamoxifen. My normal easy outgoing self, turned into a raging lunatic with a very short fuse. To the point, that I was wrecking both my home life and stirring up hornets nests at work. Shortly after being taken off of the Tamoxifen, I began to feel some pain in my hip. It was time for a bone scan to get an idea of what might be going on.
Suspicious spots were found on my hip and lower spine, a biopsy reviled my new stage, IV metastatic breast cancer. We spent the spring of 2013 attacking the new spots with more radiation and hormone therapy medications. More bone scans revealed that the spots were not sitting still and we needed to go back to chemotherapy, not to mention that the spot on my hip now had a fracture in it. The summer brought on a new chemotherapy that included a stay at the hospital for ACHF. Bone Scans in early autumn found new spots and more movement of the originals. We weren’t getting very far with the stopping of the cancer. A trip into NYC to Sloan for a biopsy and a better understanding of the now spread cancer gave us a new direction of treatment for the winter. The new chemotherapy and some radiation to combat some pain have been on my plate all through the winter of 2013/2014. Currently, bone scans are pending with fingers crossed that we are getting a lock down of these spots. My story has only one ending…my battle of male breast cancer will continue for the rest of my life.
So what have I done with the cards I’ve been dealt…surrounding myself with amazing people. My family has not wavered in their support of me. I’ve received excellent medical treatment and have been given tremendous support from other male breast cancer survivors.
I am creating a foundation to raise awareness of male breast cancer. Breastcancerborthers.org will support men fighting breast cancer by raising awareness and funding research for men with breast cancer. The treatment of male breast cancer is based on knowledge of treatment for women. While our tissue is very similar, men are a little different in how we are able to tolerate some of the treatments. Please support breastcancerbrothers.org in our fight to keep more men alive by raising awareness and funding research, because MEN GET BREAST CANCER TOO!!
Author’s note: Bill is currently writing a song for the documentary that he is working on called “Count Your Blessings”. We hope he will allow us to post it once it is finished!
Please be sure to visit Bill’s website Breast Cancer Brothers for great information about Male Breast Cancer.
As always, if you or anyone you know is struggling with a diagnosis please comment below and we will do our best to get you in touch with a support group in your area or online.