2 years ago I found an oozing spot on Mike’s torso. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that this freckle could equal a stage 3 cancer diagnosis and that our lives would be affected by melanoma: An aggressive cancer that doesn’t have a cure; A cancer that is the number one, fastest growing cancer among young people (25-29); A cancer that can lay dormant for years and suddenly come back with a vengeance.
In those two years we have both changed. We have gotten “somewhat” used to the emotional roller coaster of scans every 6 months. Mike has changed his lifestyle and he is healthier than ever. I have become obsessed with melanoma research. Some think I shouldn’t focus on it so much, and I agree and disagree. It is my way of feeling in control of the uncontrollable. I have to feel prepared so we know what to do if Mike has a recurrence. I choose to read the good stories – and the bad – because that is reality.
In those past 2 years we have seen people lose their battles and we have met some amazing melanoma warriors. A few weeks ago we had dinner with these lovely ladies (the lady on the right end is Mike – haha).
With the exception of Mike, they are all Stage 4 melanoma survivors and patients of Dr David Minor at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. All of them had remarkable results with bio-chemotherapy treatments – a mixture of chemo and immunotherapies and one of the hardest treatments out there as it requires hospitalization. Hanging out with Tina, Suzanne, and Christina was so important to us and we are truly blessed to know them. The next day after our dinner, Christina had her scans to see if Yervoy was working (she had one tumor left after bio-chemo) and she got the wonderful news that she is officially in remission.
Anyone with cancer knows that scans are a form of necessary torture. Mike is due for his scans in August. 2 years later, we still have scanxiety but we also have hope. There are so many survivors.. and Mike is one of them.