Monday, June 4, 2012

I am a member of the Melanoma Army!

This thought occurred to me tonight, I am a warrior in the Melanoma Army. We fight this dark scourge, usually to the death, and we pick up the weapons and tactics taught to isn't our fellow warriors who have fallen. We are not a volunteer army, all of us would prefer that we had never joined. It seems that that too is changing because we have tried to get the word out on how to avoid becoming a member of this fighting force and yet we see more and more young people volunteering (especially young girls). Fortunately they are developing many new weapons for us to test in battle. Some have been affective and some haven't. I spent twenty years working in Air Force Intelligence and I have to say that this is the most ruthless enemy I have ever come up against. I salute the warriors who have gone before me and thank God for their contributions. I pray for all my fellow warriors who are still battling the foe. I pray for all the families and friends who support us and apologize for the pain we sometimes bring to them.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Starting Yervoy

I'm writing this while I am receiving my first treatment of Yervoy! I found it interesting that unlike other treatments I have had intravenously this one doesn't require any premedication like benedryl. I'll let you know about how it affects me later.

We went to the show "Bring It On" last night and had a good time. The reason I bring this up is that about 2 months ago I decided to grow a handlebar mustache and goatee. (since I don't have hair on my head now I figured I might as well grow it where I can) While we were waiting for the show to start the lady next to me asked if she could take my picture! Haha, second time that's happened since I started growing it! Oh and the doctor said that one possible side affect of Yervoy is it could turn my hair white. I think I'm safe! Prayers for all the warriors out there fighting this terrible affliction and for their support teams!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Setback

This has not been a great week! Doctor appointments every day and today was my oncologist. His news was not good...I am no longer in remission! The tumor in my lung has started to grow again and there are two new I'm off the MEK162 and moving to Yervoy! I start next Thursday, waiting now to find out if my insurance will cover it. I am so blessed to have so many prayer warriors praying for me and my family. I told my Facebook friends about 2 hours ago and my phone hasn't stopped beeping with comments letting me know people are praying for me!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why I call this Blog Club Melanoma!

I decided that it is time I explained my reasoning for calling this Blog Club Melanoma. When I sat down and decided to start blogging the first question was what it was going to be called.  Honestly, I hadn't thought about it before that, so I looked at the other blogs that I was following and thought about what there reasoning might have been.  I knew that I wanted to have Melanoma in the title and as I was thinking I remembered when I was first diagnosed that I thought about letting my friends on facebook know by saying that I had been nominated for the cancer survivors club and I hoped I made the cut. OK I admit it I have a warped sense of humor, but that was before I knew much about Melanoma and I also didn't understand that as soon as you are diagnosed you are a survivor.  Needless to say my wife shot that idea down. I thought about that idea and found many applicable things that fit.  I've listed some of the Club Melanoma member rules:

     1. Membership is exclusive, you can't apply for it or be recommended, you have to be diagnosed.
        (Though membership is exclusive you can increase your odds of being a member through
        tanning beds and overexposure to the sun.)

     2.  We don't want new members!  The Club is already entirely too large!

     3.  All memberships are lifetime memberships!  We do have professionals looking for ways to get
        us out of the club and shut it down!  So far no luck.

     4. We have a roller coaster and members are required to ride it.

     5.  Even though we are not a secret club, we are largely underrated and ignored.

     6.  Our members are often involved in experimental drug use.

     7.  We don't have a secret language, but those who hear us talking may think we do because we
         use terms that sometimes sound like a secret language.

     8.  We do have associate memberships, however these are reserved for family and close friends
         and are not always lifetime.

     9.  We do not have a roster of members, a directory, or membership cards and no secret

     10.  Our members are known to hang out in and around oncology clinics.

     11.  We do not require our members to believe in God, however be forewarned that those of
          us who do will pray for all members regardless of their beliefs.

     12. We are fighters and will fight to the death!

God Bless

Should I Be Concerned!

You'll notice that I didn't put a question mark at the end of my title, because for melanoma survivors this is a fact of life!  What brings this to mind is my own situation, for the last three or four days I have had a sore throat, which affects my ear, which was affected by the radical neck dissection and radiation that I had. Yesterday I had a CT scan and this morning they called to schedule me to have the neck portion redone tomorrow.  They didn't know why! I do know that the technician that did it was working his first day and seemed unfamiliar with the equipment, but?  There's always that but in the back of your mind, whether it be a sore throat, a new ache, a pimple or a test that they want to redo, it's always there.  That what if this is a new attack, what if the drug or treatment I'm taking isn't working. We all live with it.  I watched a doctor show the other night where they were giving a patient the option of removing a brain tumor or waiting to see if it started to grow, they cut it out. Then the doctor reveals to his colleague that his father and brother died of a disease that could be genetically tested for, but he had not been tested because if it was negative he would be living under a death sentence.  Just off hand I would prefer either of those scenarios to the one that melanoma gives us.

Sorry, I kinda got off track!  What gets me through this?  Faith in God and the fact that I don't have to understand the whole picture.  Hearing about others facing these same issues on Pages like Melanoma Prayer Center, Stomping out Melanoma, Kick Cancer, Aim at Melanoma, Dodged a Bullet - Fight Against Melanoma, Miles Against Melanoma, The Skin Cancer Foundation, and Black is the New Pink - Fight Melanoma. All great pages!
Please Pray for Me!
I'm Praying for all Melanoma Warriors and their families!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Embracing the Mundane Monotony of Everyday Life

Today when I was in Sunday School we were talking about joy and thankfulness and someone said that they had a tough time being joyful in the mundane every day things.  Wow, have I changed, just over a year ago I would have agreed, but not now, I now find joy in the mundanely monotonous details of each day.   I have learned that it is the journey that is important, not reaching a goal or destination.  I now live my life like I used to live only on vacation. What I'm saying is how many of us book a cruise for instance and then try to figure out shortcuts to get back instead of enjoying the different ports that you pull into. In each port you try to schedule the things that you will most enjoy and usually find that you don't have enough time to do everything.  This is how you should live your life, where ever you find yourself enjoy the moment, the people, the places, the emotions and that you are there. Now I can't speak for everyone whose ever had cancer, heck I can't even speak for everyone whose been diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma, but I can and will speak for myself, I thank God for every day.  When I am in pain I am thankful for the pain.  I still have parts of my neck where I don't feel anything and I can remember one time when I had a staff infection and the doctor was sticking a swab over 2 inches into an abscess on my neck and I was totally unaware of it.  I prefer the pain. 

I don't know if I'll be in remission for one more month or twenty years, but I refuse to waste the time that I have worrying about dieing.  I will spend my time loving, laughing, learning and teaching others about the dangers of skin cancer and melanoma in particular.  I will also continue to pray for all those who are dealing with melanoma and their families.

Peace and Grace

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ode to Lab Techs

Thought I would share a little poem I wrote for the techs in the lab. It seems like I spent a lot of time sitting in their chairs as they try to find a vein.  Sometimes I feel sorry for them because we cancer patients can be a little testy sometimes.

We work and toil but it's all in vein
We strive to help and cause no pain
But alas I fear tis all in vein!
It needles me to hear it said
With all this work we're in the Red!

Not much, but it made them smile, and I like smiles!