Meet Michael Kovarik

Michael Kovarik is a retired elementary school teacher, author of Healing Within: My Journey with Breast Cancer and former host of the radio show Healing Journeys with Michael Kovarik on Dreamvisions 7 Radio Network.

Michael's breast cancer journey began when he discovered a lump near his left nipple, which was beginning to invert. Following a breast cancer diagnosis in January 2007, he underwent genetic testing and tested positive for the BRCA2 gene. After receiving treatment, Michael went into remission. In September 2015, Michael sought medical attention for a persistent cough. A CAT scan revealed abnormal lymph nodes, and a biopsy later revealed his cancer had returned and metastasized to his lymph nodes, lungs and bones.

Since his metastatic diagnosis, Michael has been active within the metastatic breast cancer (mBC) community participating in advocacy organizations, such as the Male Breast Cancer Coalition and MBC Alliance. Michael has also been a consistent contributor to Anti-Cancer Club, an online blogging community for people living with cancer and caregivers to share their stories, treatment information and inspire others whose lives are touched by cancer.

In January 2018, Michael joined METAvivor and has taken on a variety of roles over the years: Board Member, First Vice-President and President.

Photographed by John Stanmeyer

Michael Kovarik is a retired elementary school teacher, author of Healing Within: My Journey with Breast Cancer and former host of the radio show Healing Journeys with Michael Kovarik on Dreamvisions 7 Radio Network.

Michael's breast cancer journey began when he discovered a lump near his left nipple, which was beginning to invert. Following a breast cancer diagnosis in January 2007, he underwent genetic testing and tested positive

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Michael shares his journey living with mBC. Michael looks to the people in his life, reiki and simple things like spending time with his dog outside to keep him going.

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As his partner and caretaker, Tim is a bright light in Michael's life.

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Michael reflects on how lucky he is to have such an amazing support system of friends and family.

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Well supported and well-read. Michael is at his favorite bookstore to find a new literary adventure.

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Taking the time to decompress after a long day is essential when living with mBC. Michael enjoys doing this with a cup of tea in hand and loved ones by his side.

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mBC doesn't stop Michael and Tim from enjoying date nights at home.

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Living proof that a dog really is a man's best friend.

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Any day is a good day for Michael, even if it means running errands around town.

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Michael reflects on the four words that changed his life – "you are Stage 4" – and how he reclaimed his strength, spirit and self by finding light in the dimmest of circumstances.

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An mBC diagnosis shouldn't get in the way of holiday celebrations. Michael and his partner, Tim, carefully select their own Douglas Fir every year.

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Michael likes to host dinner parties to show his appreciation for those who have stood by his side through his journey with mBC.

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Have you heard of reiki? Some people living with mBC, like Michael, use the practice of "energy healing" in addition to their treatment.

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Michael and his partner, Tim, reflect on their experience together – all the difficult conversations, doctors appointments, and how they get through the tough times by learning from them and moving forward.

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A hug can say so much: I see you. I'm here for you. I love you.

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During Michael's appointment with his oncologist, he discusses the key to successful doctor and patient relationships. Michael reminds us that even during the most difficult conversations, we are never alone and it’s okay to be afraid.