Cancer Survivor Joe Clark’s Story
Did you know that 1 in 1000 men will receive a diagnosis of Breast Cancer? That is a shocking number to me, even more shocking to the men who were diagnosed. This is the story of Joe Clark’s journey, in his own words:
I am 61 years old, when I was 59 I was diagnosed with male breast cancer. I did not have any lumps, bumps or pain, the only indication that something was not right were small spots of blood on my bed sheets. I noticed some blood coming from my left nipple. I went to my primary care physician, who suggested a mammogram. An ultrasound followed the mammogram, and then a needle biopsy, which confirmed that I did have ductal carcinoma. Within a week I had a mastectomy.
My tumor was rather small, less than 0.5 centimeter at its widest dimension. After having an Oncotype assay genomic test on my tumor, it was decided that a 12-week course of chemo would increase my odds of survival. I was more afraid of the chemo prospect than anything else. My older sister Candi, died from this same type of cancer when she was only 31, and I remember her experience with chemo being worse than the disease itself. Chemo has come a long way in the past 30 years.
My experience with the 4 rounds that I had was really a cakewalk compared to what Candi went through.
I am well. I take 20 mg of Tamoxifen daily. My cancer scored 99% in terms of estrogen involvement. I have a few side effects from the Tamoxifen, the worst being joint and muscle pain and some night sweats.
After networking with Oliver Bogler last year, I was proud and honored to take part in the SCAR project photo shoot in Houston this past summer.
I never felt alone in my battle with cancer. My family and friends have been absolutely amazing in giving me the support and strength that it takes to fight this thing.
While I don’t personally know any men in my area of Central Wisconsin with breast cancer, I have shared my story through the local media and I have been touched by many stories shared by female survivor friends and acquaintances. I have never shied away from sharing my experience, and I only hope that after hearing about what I have been through that someone, somewhere will say to themselves, “Maybe I should get this checked out.”
Joe’s “fight song” is “Everybody Looks Good At The Starting Line” by Paul Thorn, with his favorite line being . “You better keep this in mind, you can hit the ground running like a shot from a gun, but going the distance is the hard part son, everybody looks good at the starting line.”
Author’s Note: You can find an update on Joe Clark here: http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/article/20131006/WRT01/310060297/Catching-up-Joe-Clark?gcheck=1&nclick_check=1