Gordon ‘Santa’ Mahathey
November 2019

As they say, you need a starting point. Mine was January 2013 when I had my yearly physical. My wife was concerned about my left nipple being inverted. I asked my GP about it and she checked it out. She asked me if I had any pain or anything with it and the answer was no. Then about September 2013, I felt a lump above the left nipple and an irritation below it. I asked my wife if she could see any redness from the irritation and also asked her to feel the lump. She thought it was probably a cyst or an ingrown hair, but in the back of my mind I knew it was probably the big C. I waited until my next physical which was February 5, 2014 and had my GP check it out again. This time she scheduled me to have a mammogram to see what it might be. I was scheduled to have it the next morning and by 11:00 o’clock, not only did I have a mammogram, I also had a sonogram and a biopsy.

My wife received the results the next day Friday around 8:00 o’clock in the morning; she wanted to know exactly what the doctors had to say, so I gave them permission to call her at work. It was my day off, and when her co-workers drove her home, I knew then what the answer was. She said we needed to talk and when I said, I have cancer, don’t I, she said, yes. I told her that we will beat it and work it out. We decided to only tell our family that I was diagnosed with IDC (Invasive Ductile Carcinoma). We would let everyone else know when we had more information.

My wife and daughter checked around and found the surgeon and oncologist for me to see. I saw the surgeon on Monday, February 10, and oncologist on Tuesday. Both agreed that I didn’t need radiation. I had surgery on Thursday. Prior to surgery, I had to take a shower with the special soap and then use the gold cream on my left breast. After rubbing the gold cream on my left breast, I had to wrap Saran Wrap around my chest. It was supposed to stay on for at least 2 hours. The surgeon’s nurse called right after to inform me the surgery was being delayed by two hours because the radioactive dye comes out of Birmingham and the weather (snow) was worse there than in Huntsville. I told my wife to cut the Saran Wrap off and reapply more cream. I was to arrive at the hospital at 11:00 and they injected the dye in around 11:30. The dye was injected around my nipple to see if the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes. Let me tell you, that was some awful pain having the dye injected, it hurt like crazy.

I was waiting in preop with family waiting for surgery when the anesthesiologist walks in looks and then walks back out to check on the board again. He comes back in and my wife asks him if he was looking for a Mahathey? He said yes, and my wife told him he is lying in the bed there. He made the statement that he had never seen a male that had breast cancer, so he asked me several questions which I was glad to answer. I was in surgery at 2:00 pm and we were home by 7:00 pm that night.

I found out that I was at stage 1 and the lump was 1.8cm. It had not spread into any lymph nodes; they removed five and they were all clear. I had a Susan B. Komen apron to hold the drain stuff which I had for three weeks.

I asked the surgeon’s nurse how far the drain tube went and after she told me, I was worried about the pain when they take it out. I saved a pain pill just for that purpose. When time came for removal of the tube, I took the pill before I left home. After arriving at the surgeon’s office I was laying there and felt the stitches being removed. I clinched up and according to the nurses I was turning pale. She asked me what was wrong and I told her I was waiting for them to pull the tube out. She told me that it had been taken out. We all got a laugh out of that.

After the removal of the stitches and the drain tube I had an appointment with my oncologist to see what the next step was. After going over my chart, he told me that I was at 85% cancer free, that I didn’t need any radiation but we talked about chemo. If I took chemo, it would be for 18 weeks and I would lose my beard and hair (by the way, did I tell you that I am Santa Claus?). He told me that I would only gain about 3% if I had chemo. I asked him if he would do it for 3% and he said no, I told him neither would I. He told me that he was going to put me on Tamoxifen and I would be on it for five years. For anyone that has never been on Tamoxifen I can tell you it has some bad side effects for some men. For me, some of them were: hot flashes, tiredness, taste buds not working, my mouth taste like blood, being moody and there are others. Also, my immune system is not very good at present.

I completed my five years of Tamoxifen on March 11 of this year. My hot flashes are going away, and are not nearly as rough as they were, nor as frequently. My taste buds are beginning to work and I am not as tired as I used to be. I had the genetics test done twice and all looks great.

Remember I made the statement about only telling our family, well the following Sunday, February 9, I got on Facebook and all the messages I had from friends and also Santa’s from around the world were asking questions. I answered them to the best of my ability as to what we knew at the time and also told them I would keep them informed and updated, if I couldn’t, my daughter would.

I have been interviewed by several newspapers, had a couple of TV interviews along with radio interviews. I have a pink Santa Suit that I wear during October, and my Corvette has a specialty license plate for Breast Cancer Awareness. So if you see a red Corvette with Alabama Breast Cancer license plate with 1SANTA that would be me. If there is anyone that would like to talk to me about this, I am ready to talk and listen.

Life is great, especially with God and the support of my family and friends whom I am forever so grateful.