As I sat in my hot tub this morning, hoping to see some "fire ball" meteors, of which I did not, I pondered how this is the anniversary of my diagnosis of stage IV melanoma.
If you haven't heard my story before: Fall of 2010 I had a lump under my left armpit. By thanksgiving, it was about the size of a tennis ball. The doctors had these statements, " give her a shot for pneumonia, she's going to have chemo" & " why did you come here? I could've done this over the phone." "There's nothing I can do."
The shock and horror my family felt is indescribable. We cried and cursed ( well I cursed) and PRAYED for an answer. We reaching out to everyone we knew for help. I friend of mine who knew someone who knew an important someone, Debra Black, was able to get me an appointment on December 24th, 2010 at the John Wayne Cancer Center. After a LONG day of tests and scheduling surgery to remove the tumor that was now the size of a grapefruit and causing me unexplainable amount of pain, we received a phone call at around 8:00 that night. The tests said the cancer had spread to my lungs and surgery was out of the question. I was being referred to a medical oncologist named Dr. Omid Hamid at the Angeles Clinic.
My husband and daughter left after Christmas. I stayed with my parents for the appointment to the Angeles Clinic. The tumor grew.... and grew... and my hope for surviving went lower and lower....I was heart broken.
The first week of January I saw Dr. Hamid. He said, " I will try to save your life, and if the shit hits the fan, I will tell you. It hasn't hit the fan yet." I was admitted to St. John's 3 days later for my first of 5 rounds of biochemotherapy and received around 2 years worth of chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs in 5 cycles. I was bald, I was sick, and I hardly ate a thing. BUT the cancer shrunk and by the last cycle the scans showed no active cancer. In April Dr. Morton performed a 3 1/2 hour surgery to remove the dead tumor. THE MONSTER under my arm was gone! AND I still had an arm!
I share to let you all know I have been there... I have suffered... and I SHARE HOPE that one day you can be back on your feet! For those who have lost loved ones....during may darkest days of chemo there were times I did not want any more drugs. I did not want to suffer anymore. If the cancer had not responded, I would have called in hospice. I completely and totally understand those life and death decisions faced by cancer patients and their families. My heart breaks whenever I read that patients are not responding to treatment. WHY ME and Not THEM?
For NOW, CANCER SHALL NOT PASS into me! you asshole, you tried to take me from my family and I am coming at you in 2016! Now that I feel more human than ever ( as the treatments took about 4 years to feel really over.
I head to Washington D.C. in March with MRF to advocate for government support of melanoma awareness!
In June 2016, I am planning a fundraising AIM walk/run to bring even more attention to the dangers of melanoma!
I do not know where else I may end up...but MELANOMA! YOUR DAYS are NUMBERED!!