Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Like it or not I am in for the long haul!
I know through this blog I am going back in my journey with Melanoma, and I will continue, but I just wanted to say a very sad farewell to one of my fellow melanoma warriors, Randi, who passed away December 29th. She like myself was diagnosed with stage III melanoma and was healthy for 5 years when in April of 2011 the melanoma appeared suddenly in her brain and then spread quickly to other areas. She left behind an amazing family so please keep them in your prayers! AND please as in the words of my great friend Chelsea,
"As you head out to celebrate the end of 2011 (good riddance) and the beginning of 2012, consider adding "Protect My Skin" to your resolution list. You may think you look prettier with a tan, but I am sure you would agree that you look prettier alive than dead. You may think that mole is nothing to worry about but it may be the same type of mole that began my stay in Hotel Melanoma. Consider it."
(I couldn't have said it better.. if only someone I knew told me these words 9 months ago)
Remember I am using this blog to get my story out there and in that hopefully help others but I am also using it to hopefully help myself cope with the craziness that is now my life, and stories like Randi's sometimes make it a lot tougher in the coping department...It's a hard fact to swallow that there is no cure or even a proven treatment for Melanoma and I will be living the rest of my life in constant fear of my cancer returning in places that simply won't allow me to fight the good fight! BUT I promise you all that even though as I say, "Im in for the long haul," I am going to try my darnedest to never give up hope and until it is my time I will continue to try to spread awareness to many others!!
SO that being said I continue my story...After my first visit with Dr. Wonder, he sent me for more scans. I first had an MRI of my brain and then a CT scan of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis. Even though I just had a PET scan, not even two months prior, they needed to double check everything before I was officially approved for treatment. And as we also know Melanoma can spread at ANYtime.
First Day of Treatment June 24th 2011:
I arrived at Sloan around 8am and was soon called into the lab for vitals and blood test, yes I know they had told me that I needed to give a lot of blood for the trial but I don't think anyone told my veins or body just how to handle that. Now remember because I had a full lymph node dissection in my left under arm I can never have blood drawn from that arm, so I only have one arm to work with and lucky me the veins in that arm are pretty much umm non-existent. After being stuck multiple times and almost fainting just as many, the bloodsuckers(which I like to refer to them as), had to stop at 9 vials all while secretly cursing and hoping to never get me in their chair AGAIN! Then right from the lab AK(dr assistant) came to take me into the Dr.'s office for a physical exam and to discuss my scan results. This was thankfully a pleasant appt., my scan results were clear, physical looked good, and I got to be reassured again that I was in good hands. Now that I was official approved to receive the treatment I needed to wait around 2-3 hours while the drugs or salt water was being mixed and sent over to the chemo suite. During the wait my mom and I would discover our favorite spot at Sloan.. THE GIFT SHOP!! And of course we found some place to stuff ourselves so I could get some energy from having all that blood drawn. Next we are called into the dreaded chemo suite... a "suite" not so much! We are brought into this small curtained off room with, I guess, a decently comfy chair. A nurse comes in to take more vitals and then another nurse comes in to insert the IV line, which of course having used up all my semi-good veins for the bloodsucking, I had nothing really left. Finally after much sweat and tears(by the nurse)..lol She was able to find a vein in my wrist..ugh! Then for the next two hours you sort of just sit there and hope and pray that the clear fluid flowing through your veins is not salt water! After the two hours you need to sit and wait in the room for another hour to make sure your vitals stay normal and you don't have any immediate reactions. And finally you are sent on your way home to possibly deal with some not so fun side effects!
Thanks again for reading and keeping me and sadly too many others in your prayers!!
Next post some side effects and dealing with my first summer "AFAID" of the sun!