Ok, so I’m terrible about updating things here. The good news, still here! Had 6 month scans a few weeks back. Still nothing new and nothing growing! Was reminded (thanks Facebook memories) that 7 years ago today was when I found out Melanoma had spread to my small intestine. My hemoglobin has dropped to 5.6 (which is basically 1/2 what it should normally be). I look back to the weeks leading up to that and wonder why I didn’t go in to the doctor sooner vs waiting for my scans.
I remember standing up at my desk and everything going black, then it would reset and I’d be ok. My poor pulse racing and just being so exhausted. Our bodies will give us clues when things aren’t right, just finding that balance between over reacting and checking things out can be tough.
But have come a long way in the last seven years. It was a big step to finally go to 6 month scans and the doc and I talked about if/when I may ever get to yearly scans. I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to that discussion. Thoughts - next May will mark 5 years since I stopped treatment / clinical trial. So, that’s what we’ll shoot for!
Anyway, I share this as a reminder to wear your sunscreen, see your dermatologist yearly, and stay out of tanning beds.
Spending my Friday night watching the Stand Up to Cancer special. I’m the face of someone who has benefited from research for cancer and fully know the importance of donations and research. Many know my story - diagnosed with Nodular Melanoma in October 2010. Was confirmed stage 3 at that time.
A few months later in March 2011, they would confirm that melanoma had metastasized to my lungs and I was now stage 4. I’m lucky at the time of my diagnosis there was lots of research going on. We still have SO far to go! But immunotherapy treatments have been amazing.
May 2012 I’d have melanoma move again and show up in my small intestine and lymph nodes in my abdomen. I’d start a targeted drug therapy called Zelboraf, then on to Yervoy, and finally in Jan 2013 I’d start a clinical trial at Sloan Kettering for the drug Keytruda. Since Jan 2013 I’ve had nothing new or growing.
Had I been diagnosed a few years earlier, my outcome probably would have been very different. Here’s to living my bonus years! Thankful continued cancer research!
When you can’t sleep because you’re beyond exhausted, might as well give some updates! Health wise all is good. I remembered earlier today that this time 6 years ago I was lying in a hospital bed at Sloan Kettering getting 3 pints of blood. I had scans 5/18/12 and was in a few days later for results. I knew they weren’t going to be good. I felt terrible. I remember catching a glimpse of myself in a window and thinking I looked terrible. My eyes were kind of sunken in with dark circles around. Every time I’d stand up I thought I was going to black out. I’d find out it was because my hemoglobin has dropped so low and the tumor I’d find out was in my small intestine.
One thing you learn about melanoma tumors is that they can be very vascular and draw a lot of blood. That little bugger in there was slowly making me bleed internally.
But luckily that scan was the last one I’ve had with any new tumors showing up!
Protect the skin you’re in!
“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.” ~ Albert Einstein