Author Topic: Military Gynecomastia  (Read 8273 times)

Offline FLGyne

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First off, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this website, and other websites regarding gynecomastia. I have found a wealth of information and inspiration that has motivated me to take action with a condition that has tortured me for my entire adult life. I am here to post my story and experiences to pay it forward to people who may be in a similar situation as myself. With that said, here is my story.

I am 27 years old and in the military. Like most people, my gyne showed up in my teens and never went away. Also like most people, I went through the embarrassment, bullying, harassment and torture that usually accompanies gynecomastia. Along with the emotional discomfort was an occasional physical discomfort which was a tenderness in the glands when they were hit or touched a certain way or with a certain force. Because of the emotional torture I had gone through, I was very hesitant to come forward with this issue, even to my wife, because my number one goal was to keep as much attention away from my chest as possible. I would rather have lived silently suffering, than seek the assistance from medical professionals and loved ones. I know, the logic is backwards and doesn't make any sense when I read it out loud, but after growing up as a young man being teased with breasts, the number one goal was to keep any and all thoughts/attention to my chest suppressed at all costs.

I forget the moment or driving force that made me realize I needed to come forward and that I didn't want to live like this anymore, but one day in May 2013, I walked into my Doc's (in the Navy, we have Hospital Corpsmen that are like EMTs and not MD's) office and told him about a tenderness I had behind my nipple. He brought me into a room, examined me and told me it felt like a rubbery disc behind my nipple (yea, I know), and it is something called gynecomastia (yea, I know).  He set me up an appointment with a MD. The MD confirmed the results and put me on a 30 day prescription of Tamoxifin. Tamoxifin is usually prescribed for women with breast cancer because it shuts down the estrogen receptors in the breasts. Supposedly there had been some success with reversing gyne with Tamoxifin, but not in my case. I actually ended up having some severe side effects including hot flashes and extreme irritability. 

Once Tamoxifin failed, the only other option was surgery, and with my concurrence, my MD put me in for gyne surgery sometime in mid-July. I had to time this with my professional schedule because it was not exactly good timing. I could have had surgery as early as Sept. 26th, but did not have it until Oct. 4th. As far as the surgery, I had one initial appointment with the surgeon in August, a Pre-op in September and surgery in October.

The day before surgery, you have to call between 1pm and 3pm and you get your specific surgery time. Mine was show up at 0600 for 0800 surgery. I showed up at 0600, waited around for 30 minutes, but once they got me in, I was rolling along. Change into surgery gown, get vitals, meet with surgeon for a few minutes and go. I was in the operating room by 0745, already hooked up to an IV with my initial dose of sedation administered.

I know that "socialized medicine" and "government medicine"  gets knocked a lot, and maybe rightfully so in some cases, but not in my case. All the medical professionals I dealt with have been extremely understanding and respectful. I'm still wearing my vest so I can't speak of the results yet, but my Navy-surgeon has completed dozens of gyne surgeries in his 20+ years of experience and I felt as though I was taken care of. I have nothing but the best to say about the individual and professional care I received.

FAQs:
-Why did you join the military if your gyne was so bad? Actually, I almost didn't join because some activities are shirtless. However, I am an Officer so I did not go to boot camp, and I avoided all activities as best as I could that required me to be shirtless. I actually chose my career path based the minimum amount of time I might have my shirt off - I love flying, but I chose not to be a pilot because a lot of Navy Pilot training is water survival.

-Was it free? Yes, completely free.

-I hear tricare allows one elective surgery, is this true? I don't know. What I do know is that if you are in pain, they have an obligation to figure it out. Yes, they will attempt to minimize costs which is why they might prescribe something (i.e. Tamoxifin) first, but in the end, they have to treat you. Personnel health is a very big deal, as it should be and you should not be getting any trouble for your command, in fact it is none of their business. Go straight to your medical professionals. I promise the doctors have much more say in where you go than your LPO/Chief/Division Officer. My CO had to approve this because this is considered an elective surgery and it could have waited for operational scheduling if it needed to.

-Did you get to pick your surgeon? No, but I still asked him all the usual questions you would ask a surgeon. I believe that if I felt strongly against my assigned surgeon, I could have got another one.

-How much leave? 2 weeks convalescent, 3 weeks limited duty.

If you have any more questions with my experiences, please let me know and I will answer honestly and do what I can to help. If you are on the fence or making up excuse after excuse on why you can't get the surgery done, whether you are military or not... STOP. Just get it done! Every day you wait is another day of making decisions to minimize the chances people will discover your condition. Stop living in fear and get it done. Although I'm still wearing my vest, I can slide my hand up and down along my chest and realize that that golf ball-sized mass is gone, and I feel genuine joy. It is finally over, my life is changed forever and no longer held hostage.

Regards,

FLGyne

Linkback: https://www.gynecomastia.org/forum/index.php?topic=28445.0

hammer

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First, thank you for serving! I'm a Navy vet HT2 1978-1982, Army reserves 1982-1989.  My youngest daughter is in "A" school now for MC, Mass Communications. She graduated with a four year degree prior to joining the Navy.

It is good to hear that they took care of the gyne for you. Yours is not the first active duty case posted! We have had one or two, I'm not sure, but it is great that our military men are being taken care of. I went through all my years with gyne, but not to many guys would say much as they know I was one of the men on the ship that could put anyone one in there place!

We would have our ship picnic on Rosy-roads PR every year and the first year we did the skipper told me it was my duty to be sure each member got deep six that day! I was the ships damage control training PO so the skipper and I knew each other very well from our every other weekly meetings. I also was one of the ships divers so everywhere we went I would try to get some diving in. My last port of call was Western Australia, after going through Shell Back initiation, the old fashion way!

Now that I'm an old disabled salt, the VA takes very good care of me!


GO NAVY

Bob

Offline Paa_Paw

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I was an Air Force Medic 1955-1963. That was before the world had EMTs and My last job was running the ER of a Hospital on a large Base which also treated dependents and retired military personnel in the nearby area.

I was enlisted. Surgery in those days was not a good option. There was really no choice but to live with it.

Some people malign the care given in military Hospitals. The truth is that the Doctors are fully qualified and Military Service is one way to help pay off some very large student loans. It should be pointed out that Plastic and reconstructive surgery advances every time a new crop of Surgeons meet up with the casualties of new conflict.

For some people it is a difficult choice. Do I want the younger surgeon with the latest and most up to date training Or the older man with more experience. I happen to think it can be a toss-up.
Grandpa Dan


 

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