Saturday, March 16, 2013

Treatment Options

I have been thinking about this for a couple of weeks as I also am on the What Next American Cancer Society's support page. It seems that many people who are new to the world of melanoma have a hard time deciding what to do and what treatments are out there. I am not a doctor, I am an informed patient and survivor of melanoma.

The first thought I want to share is the plethora of resources online:

The Melanoma Research Foundation @ http://www.melanoma.org/ is a great place to start. Or the Skin Cancer Foundation @ http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/melanoma
The John Wayne Cancer Center @ http://www.jwci.org/cancer-info.aspx
Of course, MD Anderson @ http://www.mdanderson.org/patient-and-cancer-information/care-centers-and-clinics/care-centers/melanoma-skin/index.html

I think the most important decision is to get good information and go to a specialist!  Some doctors will recommend interferon or IL-2 treatments. Some doctors will have access to the new drugs, like Yervoy. But, if your doctor seems clueless about melanoma or hopeless, RUN AWAY!!  Go somewhere else.

That is exactly what I had to do and I almost did not survive. A local surgeon claimed he needed a tissue sample to confirm the HUGE tumor under my arm was melanoma, but he probably knew. He opened me up and ended up jamming a jp drain right into the tumor. He then sent me to an oncologist who looked at me like I was a dead woman walking. That oncologist did not even give me a referral to San Francisco's melanoma center or anywhere. He sent me off and probably assumed I was going to die.  I proved him wrong!!

So, when deciding what to do, talk to your family, pray, and go to a specialist! Do not settle for anyone who does not believe you can beat the beast. There are people with brain mets walking the planet! There are people fighting melanoma everyday, alive!  I am a firm believer in fighting until there is no hope...and let me tell you. even in my darkest days, I had hope.

Bless you to all who are in the middle of treatments....You will make it!  Together, the melanoma community can make a difference!

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