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Archive for January, 2010

Stages of Grief and Stages of Melanoma

These are the stages of grief.  We have been through most of them over the past couple of months:

  • Denial (this isn’t happening to me!)
  • Anger (why is this happening to me?)
  • Bargaining (I promise I’ll be a better person if…)
  • Depression (I don’t care anymore)
  • Acceptance (I’m ready for whatever comes)

We are now in the Acceptance stage and now we are getting ready for the next one:  it is called the Fight The Beast Like Hell Stage.

Acceptance Stage:
Two weeks ago we  got word from UCSF regarding Mike’s lymph node biopsy (second opinion).   They concur with the original diagnosis of isolated tumor cells – but they can’t give us the number of cells other than saying there are “rare single melanocytes” present “but cannot completely classify them”.  What this means is they think there are cells but they arent positive they are cancerous but they will say they are to cover themselves.

This means Mike is stage IIIa.  With Melanoma,  if you have any cancer in your lymph nodes – no matter how small – you move into the Stage III category.   He will always be Stage III (or he could move to Stage IV – but lets not think about that) because you can’t go backwards with the stages of cancer.  When you have cancer, suddenly the rest of your life is measured in 5 year increments (this is known as overall survival – OS).   Some state the overall survival for Stage IIIa Melanoma between 63 to 69% for 5 years. Other calculations (http://www.melanomaprognosis.org/) range between 84.5% – 90.3%.  We like the second one better!

Fight The Beast Like Hell Stage:

They dont call Melanoma “The Beast” for nothing.  So I have taken a deep dive into Melanoma research – drugs, clinical trials, you name it.  I am a walking database of Melanoma info and I apologize to my friends and family for my obsession. Honestly, I really don’t care what you think.  I need to know everything about “the beast” – so we can kick the shit out of it.  Mike says I saved his life by noticing his mole in July.  I say:  you haven’t seen nothing yet.