For the first thirty-nine years of my life Camp Lejeune was nothing more to me than a faded name printed on my birth certificate. We are a Marine family. My father is a Naval Academy Graduate and served in the Marine Corps as an officer. My grandfather retired in 1961 as a major in the Marine Corps.
This all changed in April of 2007 after my wife gave me a hug before bed one night. As she did, her hand came across a curious bump situated above my right nipple. There was no pain but if felt very odd. At first, I dismissed the bump as a cyst that would go away, but after a few weeks it persisted. My wife then insisted that I go see our family doctor. As I sat in the waiting room waiting for my doctor I was not worried. The idea of cancer never entered my mind. Why should it? I do not drink, I do not smoke, nor have I ever abused drugs. I thought I was a healthy 39-year-old man. Doctor Perry came into the room and looked me over. He advised that he wanted me to have a mammogram. I paused and asked him to repeat his request as a tinge of fear spread down my spine. He told me that he was unsure what the bump was and it had best be safe to have it checked. I felt reassured and made the appointment for the following week.