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

Monday, April 29, 2013

Aim At Melanoma Walk-Portland

On May 11th  I will be participating in an event to raise money for AIM At Melanoma .   Please consider making a donation to this great organization that has been so helpful to me during this difficult time.  AIM has been a tremendous resource for me and has been a great source of information on melanoma.  When I was first diagnosed it was far and away the most helpful resource I found.  I have used their call or e-mail a nurse program.  I use them to keep up to date on the latest treatments and trials for melanoma.   When I wanted to get involved in trying to help get legislation passed in Missouri to try and limit access to tanning beds for minors they encouraged me and helped me prepare to testify before both the House and Senate in Jefferson City.  Recently when I moved half way across the country I didn't have to worry about finding a new Dr.   Aim has a database of melanoma specialists and I am now receiving the best healthcare possible.  AIM also provided a forum for me to connect with other people battling this disease which has been so helpful to me.   Thank you all for your support and I really look forward to meeting some of you on May 11th in Portland.

Paul Hummel's Fundraising Page

I had to add this picture I took this last weekend.  I really do love living in the Northwest.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Update From The Pacific Northwest.

Well it’s been a pretty wild ride since I last updated my blog with any news.   The move to Washington has gone great and I absolutely love living here.  I have really enjoyed my time on Mt. Hood this winter.   I am not a great skier by any stretch but I think I have gotten much better this winter.  As the weather gets warmer I look forward to exploring the area on my bike and getting my running shoes back on and hitting the road again.  Unfortunately melanoma has decided to make another appearance in my life so I am in a bit of a holding pattern.   To make a long story short I keep having reoccurrences around my original site and once again have had to have surgery to have them removed.    With the move of course I have all new doctors and they have a different philosophy on how to approach my treatment.  My new surgeon alarmed me when I met with him and he told me that he really doesn’t think I am a surgical candidate any longer.   His opinion is that they can’t keep cutting melanoma out of me.   It grows back as fast as they cut it out and without some sort of alternate response he called surgery futile.   I actually like direct and to the point doctors but I was really alarmed after meeting with him.   What he said made sense but hearing it was a little scary.   In the end my surgeon and oncologist felt that the best solution for me was to start radiation treatments as soon as possible after surgery in hopes that it will prevent it from coming back.   I was actually relieved to hear that we were trying something different.   Finding suspicious lumps and nodules every few months is stressful and I know like playing Russian roulette.  I have been very fortunate that it has never spread beyond my original site but it’s just a matter of time if we can’t stop it from coming back like it is.   This time I ended up having 8 small tumors removed and I assume they are all going to test positive for melanoma.    The other option being considered was to start Zelboraf but I really wasn’t that excited about going that route.   Don’t get me wrong, if it had been their recommendation I would have but after battling interferon I really wasn’t that excited about doing chemo again.   I see it in my future but am not that excited to do it again.   I ended up having surgery this last week on Thursday and start radiation on May 7th.   Surgery went really well and I feel pretty good for being just two days post op.    The biggest issue I had was how I was going to be back and forth to the hospital considering they wouldn’t let me drive myself home.   I ended up finding a way to make it work and was back at work the next day.   I really don’t know what to expect from radiation treatments but can’t imagine they are worse than chemo.   I just hope they don’t zap all my energy.   I am closing on my new house May 20th and am really looking forward to getting out of my apartment.   My house back in Kansas City sold so my stuff is all on its way out.  I think getting out of the apartment with all the rental furniture and into a house with my own stuff will finally make me feel settled.  I will update as I get started on radiation to let everybody know how it is going.   I am hoping for a great summer and looking forward to these beautiful Pacific Northwest summers I keep hearing about.

 The best part of getting to go back to Kansas City and close on my house when I did was I got to be there for my grand daughters 6th birthday party.   My daughter was good enough to let me crash in her guest room while I was there and we had a great visit.   Cancer affects the entire family and having to share bad news with my kids, siblings, parents and friends is the hardest part.   Thanks you all for you text, email, and phone messages this week.  I may be far away from you all but I never felt alone this week as I was preparing for another surgery.   Your unconditional love and support means everything to me.   Every day is a gift.