Breast Cancer Grad- Keith Skelton
Name: David Keith Skelton
Age at Enrollment: 54
Major: Ductal Carcinoma, stage 3A
What were the primary symptoms you experienced prior to diagnosis? I had a lump form in my left breast almost a year prior to diagnoses.
What symptom(s) lead you to go to the doctor? My wife is a traveling nurse. I had semi retired from teaching school to travel with her. I had noticed the lump getting bigger while we were in York, Maine and when our time was up there, I came home and went to my family doctor. He immediately sent me to St. Bernard hospital in Jonesboro, AR for a biopsy.
Courses completed: I went through 12 rounds of chemo (1 week each), then mastectomy, and now I'm facing 7 weeks of radiation.
What was your hardest moment (or moments) and how did you you get through it/them? I guess the hardest moment was when I was told by the oncologist that I had cancer. At that instant I knew two things: I knew that this disease is a killer, and that I was staring my mortality in the face. I guess I was in shock for a couple days, because I never knew men could get breast cancer. The reality is that 1 in 1000 men get this type of cancer.
Any helpful (tangible) tips or tricks you discovered for dealing with your symptoms and/or cancer? During the chemo phase of treatment , the steroids they gave me were in abundance. During my first time with chemo, I was given a Claritin D pill to stem off any aches and pains after the chemo session. This didn't help the first time because i was full of the chemo liquids- the Claritin D didn't do any good. I decided that I would take the Claritin D pill 30 minutes before chemo sessions and that worked great. For 23 weeks I was never sick, or hurt like I did after the first initial treatment.
How did your family and friends respond? My mother and father have been my rock. Once I was diagnosed, my wife of 30 years left me. She left me no choice but to file for divorce. My mom and dad are 75 years old, and I thank God they are still here to help me get through this. Also, the outpour of love and support from my life long friends and everyone else on Facebook have been unbelievably gracious. This has truly been a Godsend- from all the love and support from everyone including Misty's Mission, the area churches and other organizations.
How did/do you find joy during this experience? The way that I have found joy is to have a personal relationship with God. He has given me peace, because he has the ultimate say in my progress. I have faced the facts that I am one of the lucky ones, by having this disease. You say lucky? Yes. I am lucky, because I'm going to get through this and I have been blessed to be able to spread cancer awareness for the male population. Never say that this couldn't happen to you, because I'm living proof that it can.