Edmond plumber Lonnie Fitzpatrick never saw it coming. At a family gathering in September of 2002, he leaned back in his dining room chair and put his hands behind his head.
His mother noticed blood on his shirt and then saw three tiny spots of blood around his right nipple.
"O, my God, no!" were his mother's words, Fitzpatrick recalls. One of his sisters had ovarian cancer, and another sister had cancer in her left breast.
Fitzpatrick still thought the blood was nothing, but he agreed to a doctor's examination.
At a hospital waiting room, Fitzpatrick sat down "with a bunch of women."
He had a mammogram and an ultrasound. Dye was injected into the nipple duct that was discharging.
"They said everything looked fine, and I should come back in six months," Fitzpatrick said. "I left with a feeling of satisfaction."
His female family member, however, had other plans — a second opinion.
"There I was in another waiting room with more women and that day I was the only man," Fitzpatrick, 50, remembers.
A biopsy revealed the signs of cancer in his right breast. A mastectomy removed the cancerous tissues.
"Other than a yearly check-up, my journey with cancer is over," he said.
Fitzpatrick said he's fortunate to survive a cancer that's usually associated with woman.
Breast cancer in men — while rare — can be deadly.