A blog about us…and journey with Melanoma

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.

Em

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6 responses

  1. Emily-I know all too well everything you stated above! Keep up your fight, but don’t forget to let God in on your fight-He can get you through everything girl!! And don’t pay attention to the stats-Mike is not a number-don’t let stats control your life. My prayers continue to be with you both and I pray Mike never has to know the feeling of moving to Stage IV like Marcus. I will say that through everything bad Melanoma has given us-there has been lots of good also-Melanoma made us realize how precious every second of life is. We don’t take our marriage for granted-we soak up every second we can with our girls-we don’t sweat the small stuff-none of that is important! I pray you and Mike can find this same peace. Love you guys!

    January 29, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    • Dear Mindy – Thanks so much for reading and commenting! As you know so well – I write these things to get them off my chest and to help people understand this cancer – because most people just don’t get it. This is not a skin cancer that you can just remove and forget about. This cancer is on the rise each year (ozone?) and many people are suffering so it is my goal to make more people “get it”. Again, you know this all too well…

      I try not to think about the stats. They don’t mean much to us personally and I am trying so hard to live in the moment and not sweat the small stuff. Keep doing what you are doing and we send all of our love and prayers to both of you. I totally agree that Melanoma has given us a lot of good things – one of those things is you! Love you too!! XO Em

      January 29, 2010 at 5:04 pm

  2. i understand totally about people not understanding….especially in the tanning bed industry-do you know how upset i get when i see young girls with that “fresh”tan look and i wonder-“does she even care that she is increasing her chances of melanoma?” i guess i am just angry because i see marcus fighting this beast-and then i see others that have no clue-or just don’t care-exposing themselves, increasing their chances-and they are just going on with their life-like it can’t happen to them!!! UGGHHHHHH!!

    sorry about that one-but i guess that is just life-you never think things will happen to you-especially when you are young and dumb 😉 but once you get slammed in the face with reality-you just want everyone to wake up with you!!!! love you girl-always here for you!!!!

    love , mindy

    February 3, 2010 at 1:24 pm

  3. Renee Mueller

    Hey Em! Not surprised about Mike’s weight. He should go off body fat percentage and not weight. He’s gaining muscle with all that working out which weighs a lot more than fat. Also, stress can hold weight on the body. Mike, keep up the good work! Cheers and Love to you both! Renee 😉 XO

    February 3, 2010 at 5:32 pm

  4. Laura Morris

    CONCLUSIONS: Planners for a new educational campaign must understand the target audience’s motivations for and perceived barriers to behavioral change. Future studies should examine what motivates certain men to conduct skin self-examinations, ask their physicians about melanoma, and attend melanoma screenings, whereas other men with similar risk factors are less prevention conscious. Issues of health literacy and understandability of our messages must be further explored.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:59 am

  5. Laura Morris

    oops that just sent without the rest of my message…The above conclusion is from Dr Swetter’s publication and this is the Doctor I want to work for. Your obession is motivation for me. I want to be involved in this fight as well. Watch out beast the McAuliffe’s are ready to fight.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:04 am

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