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My Mother lost her battle with breast cancer in May 1990. When my Mother was diagnosed, I took the stereotypical male stance. I told myself she was in good hands and I submersed myself into my job and my Father and I never discussed her cancer, treatment or prognosis. My Father also submersed himself into work to keep his mind occupied. As they say, “out of site, out of mind”. When I did quietly admit it to myself, I was not in control of this dreaded disease cancer and I was scared. The bottom line, I didn’t know what to do or who to talk to so I ignored it.

I married my lovely wife, Janet on May 22, 1999. Then, on February 21, 2000 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and I was devastated. I knew that I wanted to play a very proactive role in her recovery and did. I accompanied her to each oncology visit, took notes and asked questions. I conducted research on the chemotherapy drugs that she was going to be given. We researched the benefits of implanting a port versus the intravenous method to administer the chemotherapy drugs. I made it a point to only use valid, accredited websites (i.e. www.cancer.org, www.komen.org, www.cancer.org, www.lillyoncology.com). Because her lump was only 1.5 centimeters with no lymph node involvement, she decided on a lumpectomy. She also had 20 lymph nodes removed under her right arm because of the type of cancer. It was truly her decision and I was willing to support her whether she chose a mastectomy or lumpectomy. I expressed my sincere thoughts to her by saying, “I didn’t marry your anatomical parts, I married you and I want you to live”. She was given 7-months of chemotherapy treatment followed by 6-weeks of radiation. Founding Partners was the highlight to my involvement next to my wife’s recovery. As of May 2004, Janet is in her 4th year of remission. I know every day that passes means that researchers are one day closer to a cure. My life is dedicated to assisting in breast cancer advocacy, men’s education and supporting other men as they travel this road.
 -
Doug Drake

When your wife is diagnosed with breast cancer, you are suddenly hit with a flurry of emotions, and soon an avalanche of information and choices from doctors.  It sure helps if you can talk to some other guys who have been through this experience so you can know what to expect, and what questions to ask!
 - Steve Jones

Dear Bob:

I was on your show this time last year, with the Clarksville Historical Society for our Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Celebration.  You will have two representatives on your show tomorrow and I want to thank you for having them.  Terry Hood and Tom Chapman will do a great job for us.

I can't be there because I was diagnosed in April of this year with an aggressive breast cancer.  The kick was I still had my clean mammogram pinned to the kitchen wall, from months before.  I am undergoing treatment and my husband is involved with every step.

This brings up your next story on tomorrow.  You will be interviewing Doug Drake of Together for Breast Cancer Survival.  The Norton's Cancer Resource center gave us a packet of information and in it was a beautiful brochure from this group.  My husband came to me and asked if I had any objection to him joining.  I was so touched and in learning more about this committed group, I am absolutely blown away how much compassion is within this group.  These guys are literally loving their spouses through cancer.  I am so proud of them. 

I am so proud that there are great husbands out there who have so much respect and love for their wives that they put aside any trepidation for taking on a very intensely personal female issue. 

Charlie and I are new to this whole journey.  I have had my surgeries, and these men have helped Charlie face every moment with me.  After the first meeting, Charlie came home and said "Lyn, we have to help others who have been blindsided like we were, after we make it through this."  What a deep connection we share now. 

Could I have made it through this without him?  I'm sure I could, but my heart says I couldn't.  His support has washed a whole new light on an 18 year marriage that has been good.  I look at my life's partner and though I've always adored him, now he is even more cherished by me for his sacrifices.

Thanks again Bob for spotlighting this courageous group of men.  They deserve all the kudos they can get.

My best,

Lynda M.


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