As the title says this blog is one man’s effort to make sense out of his journey fighting melanoma. I have enjoyed reading some of my fellow melanoma warriors’ blogs and thought it might be an interesting way to share what this journey has been like for me. If you find this interesting great, if not that’s great also. Selfishly this is more about me getting this out and moving on from being a cancer patient to being a cancer survivor.

Let’s clear up a few things. Yes, I know how to use spell check and no I don’t always use it. I majored in accounting, not english. I have always been a below average writer, which is why I find the therapeutic value of doing this surprising. I think for this blog to make any sense you pretty much have to go to the archive and start from the beginning which is titled “Life Is Good”

I am not a doctor or medial professional of any type. My blog is not endorsed by any medical professional or facility mentioned in it. Every decision I have made about my care was done after careful consultation with my medical team. Decisions I have made were right for me but should not in any instance be considered right for anybody else. I don't recommend taking medical advice from an accountant.

Key West

Key West

Saturday, September 7, 2013

3 Years Ago.......

Three years ago this month I was diagnosed with cancer.   Soon there after a well meaning Dr. told me that I most likely had less than 12 months to live.   Well, I solicited Mr. Johnny Cash to help me pass a special message along to him, people who wrote me off for dead, and to cancer itself.   I think that picture pretty much sums up my feelings.

Yesterday I received the news that my latest scans show no evidence of disease, or NED as we like to say.   My latest battle with melanoma started last September when I noticed lumps appearing in the same area I had my primary tumor in 2010.  I had several surgeries but it kept coming back.  In the middle of all of this I had the idea to move across the country to Washington State.   Soon after moving I noticed another lump and went to see my new oncologist.  By the time I saw him one lump had become three and he sent me to a new surgeon.  By time I could get in to see him three lumps had become seven.  My surgeon told me that it was spreading so fast that surgery by itself was futile.  There was only so much they could cut out of me.   So off to see the radiation oncologist and soon after surgery I started radiation treatments.   My old oncologist was anti radiation so if I had never moved here I would most likely never have received this treatment.   Time will tell but for now at least this has been successful in stopping the spread of melanoma.  

 My summer got off to a rough start with radiation treatments in May and dealing with the aftermath of that for much of May and part of June.   It wasn't much fun but I know people who are going down much rougher roads than I so I wont complain.    By late June I was pretty much healed up from the burns and getting back to normal.   The fatigue hung on a little longer but all and all it was fairly manageable for the most part.  

I continue to settle into my new home here in Washington State and loving the weather.  Summers here are spectacular and I have been enjoying the great outdoors as much as possible.   Between recovering from the radiation treatments and a knee injury I have been slowed some but I have stayed as active as possible.   There are an endless numbers of great hikes to do here, camping galore, kayaking, ....  If you can't tell I love living here.   This summer my daughters and grand daughter came out to visit which was by far the highlight of my summer.  I didn't get to spend as much time with them as I wanted but I enjoyed the time we had.  My parents are visiting soon and in October I have a trip penciled in to go and see my son and his girlfriend in Alaska so I have plenty to look forward to this fall.   

As I bask in my good news my thoughts are with many who are dealing with less than favorable news.  Some of my fellow warriors bodies are just giving out against all the treatments and procedures.   I pray that god willing they get their second wind and are able to fight back.  If not, I still believe they will get their miracle.  They get to go to heaven.  A good friend from high school is just entering this cyclone with his wife recently being diagnosed, and some really close family friends (I consider them family) are dealing with the beast again.  My friend Rich had to say goodbye to his four legged chemo buddy Jordan.  Dogs are the best therapist.  I know how much my dog help me while doing treatments and surgeries and I don't look forward to the day I have to say goodbye.  I get how hard this is for him.  There is also a lot of great news as many of my friends are also still NED and living life to the fullest.  One is walking down the aisle next month with her sweetheart, one just refuses to stop believing, one continues to give me spiritual clarity in times of need, and another continues to wander around his own hotel keeping everything in order and keeping us entertained.   Some impress me with their mental and physical toughness to complete treatments I couldn't take, and others continue to answer the bell and come out swinging no matter what cancer throws at them.  You all inspire me. 

My blog doesn't get a lot of visitors, but many who do are fellow melanoma warriors.  I am going to enter the lottery to try and get a team for this event next year.  Click on the link below.  Can you imagine, a team of 12 melanoma survivors running a nearly 200 mile relay over 30 hours?   Check out this trailer and if this gets your blood pumping stay tuned.   Hopefully more news to come on this.