Monday, May 30, 2011

Just A Brief Update

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you who who left a comment on my last blog! It truly warmed my heart and lifted my spirits to see your kind words of support.

When I wrote that blog I was feeling about as bad as I have ever felt. I was extremely fatigued and in a lot of pain. I spent the better part of each day lying on the couch, under the influence of opiate pain killers. I have now been on a new experimental anti-melanoma drug, made my Roche for four days now, and the difference in the way I feel is quite remarkable. I feel much better. I'm still not 100%, as I still get fatigued if I'm on my feet too long, and I still have quite a bit of edema in my legs and abdomen, but that is improving too. The drug has many possible side effects, but so far I have tolerated it very well. I have to go back to the Virginia Cancer Institute about every ten days for blood work and a brief exam. Oddly one of the possible side effects of the drug is squeamish cell carcinoma, another dangerous form of skin cancer, so a full body skin exam has to be performed about once a month to check for that. If any is found, then it can be nipped in the bud.

So overall I am doing well, and I attribute at least a part of that to all of the love that you have sent my way!

As always, I love you all!

Melissa XOXO

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I'm sorry for going so long without posting an update on my blog. As most of you know, that's unusual for me. Some of you may recall me saying I had a nagging dry cough, and I thought it might be a case of late season flu. Turns out it was much more serious than that. The cough got worse, and I became increasingly more infirm. Finally on Monday, May 2nd I gathered all my strength and drove into town for my weekly supper at my mothers. When I got there I told my mother and sister that I was seriously ill, and needed someone to drive me to the doctor. After supper my sister drove me to Patient First, where I was examined and had blood work and x-rays taken. I had a mole on my back that out of stupidity and a good degree of fear and depression, I had neglected. It had started bleeding and became infected. The doctor at Patient First recommended that I make a bee line to the emergency room of a nearby hospital, so my sister drove me there, where further blood work and x-rays were taken. I was admitted to the hospital that night, and put on IV antibiotics. Two days later I was given a CAT scan, that revealed spots on my lungs, liver and spleen. The preliminary diagnosis was metastatic melanoma. The next day I had surgery to remove the mass on my back, leaving a 7-8 inch wound closed by 25 staples. I also had several lymph nodes removed from under my armpit. That wound was sealed with surgical glue. The wounds are healing nicely, and the staple have now been removed.

The pathology report confirmed the preliminary diagnosis. The oncologist said there is no cure, but there is an experimental drug that has shown significant success in shrinking certain melanoma tumors, and extending the life of the patient. They had to send my pathology from the hospital, to a lab in California to ensure that I had the proper mutation for the drug. Today I learned that my pathology does indeed conform to the drugs requirements, so tomorrow I'll be going the the Virginia Cancer Institute, where they will do a full body skin exam, and EKG, and some more lab work. If all is well, I will begin treatment the following day.

Being so acutely aware of your mortality, makes you take stock of yourself, and I have not been happy about the way my blog and many of my comments have turned. It went from bright and friendly to downright combative. Perhaps because I love you all so much, and felt the need to protect you and myself from so many of the negative posts and comments that have shown up this past year. Well, I'm done with that. I will now leave the fighting to others. In reality there is no need for any defense. We all know who and what we are, and the subjective judgements of others truly are irrelevant.

I will try to keep you updated and occasionally leave a comment on some of your blogs, but because I have so little endurance right now, they may be few and far between. Much love to you all!

Melissa XOXO