A blessed man // I am thankful
Bob Sheffer considers himself blessed, especially when it comes to his cancer diagnosis in 2009. Sure, being told he had breast cancer was unexpected. But the disease was caught early and treated successfully. And, this year, five nurses at Reid Family Health Center created a BRAvo! bra in Bob’s honor.
“I think that bra is just wonderful, and I’m very happy to represent men that have breast cancer,” says Bob, 89, who lives in Williamsburg.
Bob’s journey with breast cancer began in 2009, when he noticed a lump in his left breast. He completely ignored it until a few months later, when he visited the Reid Hospital emergency department with unrelated health concerns. “I was just sitting there when I heard a little voice in my head saying ‘Bob, take off your shirt and let the doctor look at it,’” Bob recalled. “That was strange, since I hadn’t been worrying about the lump at all.”
One thing led to another, and Bob eventually had a biopsy. The lump was cancerous, and his surgeon, Dr. Thomas Grayson, recommended a mastectomy. “I guess I didn’t worry too much, because I knew the Lord was taking good care of me, and everyone at Reid was just wonderful,” Bob said. “After the surgery, Dr. Grayson said he’d gotten all the cancer. Just to be on the safe side, he told me I needed to undergo either radiation therapy or chemotherapy.”
Bob decided to have radiation therapy—he dreaded the thought of chemotherapy and its side effects, including hair loss. For the next five years, he took tamoxifen, a hormone blocker that can help prevent the cancer from returning. “Tamoxifen gave me hot flashes!” Bob recalled. “But now, I am cancer free.”
Bob has a mammogram every year and returns to Reid every six months for a check-up. He enjoys seeing his oncologist, Dr. Derek Serna, and the nurses who took care of him. “I am glad to be alive, and appreciate everyone who helped me get better,” he said.
Doctors recommend that women have an annual screening mammogram after age 40. Reid BRAvo! helps pay for mammograms when women are uninsured. Your gift to the Reid BRAvo! Fund can help save lives and give women peace of mind.
Did You Know?
For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
About 2,360 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2014, compared to more than 232,000 in women.