Both my sons have melanoma. My 31 yr old is now 2 years NED after a stage 3 diagnosis/surgery 3 lymph nodes removed all clear. My 23 yr old was just diagnosed and had removal 3 weeks ago stage 0. A world I never wanted to be part of. I’m a very scared mom!!!
My daughter Shayna was a healthy young mother. But at 21 she was diagnosed with cervical melanoma. Her whole world changed with those words. Shayna had treatment at some of the biggest melanoma centers throughout the United States, but even that never stopped her cancer after each surgery it didn’t take long to hear it was back again. So after fighting and induring the horror of chemo therapy and everything else, the cancer won. Shayna died at home at the age of 24. Since this was twenty years ago there is more treatments and more support on line. We didn’t even have a computer when she was sick.
I grew up on the beaches of SoCal. I spent LOTS of time laying out and burning through my childhood, teens, and twenties. That is a lot of sun damage to my skin. When I turned 30 I was diagnosed with stage 1 melanoma. I had a lymph node biopsy and basically went on my way with annual x-rays and blood work. 10 years later the melanoma returned as stage 4. I began 2011 with a 16 cm tumor in my left armpit and mets in my lungs and bones. I was dying. Thanks for Dr. Hamid at the Angeles Clinic and Dr. Morton at the John Wayne Cancer Center, I was saved by 5 rounds of biochemotherapy. This brutal treatment combines 5 drugs at the same time, 3 chemo drugs and 2 immunotherapy drugs. I received 2 years of treatments in 5 months and by May of 2011 I was declared NED. I am currently 7 years NED. Life has blessed me and one of my passions is to spread a message of HOPE to others.
I was 27yo in 2007. I was laid off and had no insurance. I went to the doctor to have a weird looking mole looked at. After a biopsy, I quickly learned I had stage 2 melanoma. It was excised and I had a sentinel node biopsy which came back clear. I then had many appointments with an oncologist for blood work and to determine my plan for treatment. By this time I was broke and ended up having to file bankruptcy. I couldn’t get assistance and couldn’t afford care so I stopped getting care. In 2011, still w/o insurance but financially getting back on my feet, I went back to the oncologist for a check-up. He pointed out some suspicious moles and sent me back to my dermatologist. I had some biopsies done and one came back as stage 1 melanoma. My dermatologist said I only needed to have it excised and I should be fine. So that’s what we did. I followed up for a couple years, getting biopsy after biopsy and several excisions on abnormal spots. Then money got tight again and I stopped getting check-ups. Now this year, while visiting a friend in another state, I found a great dermatologist at a good price. I went in and had some biopsies done. One was stage 1b melanoma. I couldn’t afford another node biopsy so decided to just have it excised. Since then I’ve made several trips there and have had enough biopsies and excisions that I don’t even try to count them anymore. I’m now trying to figure out how I’m going to move and find a better job with benefits simply so I can keep fighting.