Melanoma Can't Have Me!

My first melanoma was fall of 2000. I had a small little dark spot on left forearm. It looked weird. I am a freckly and fair skinned person so having spots is not unusual. This one looked suspicious.

Testing for spread

I went to the clinic at the university and had it removed. It came back melanoma, Clark level 4. The doctor recommended a sentinel node biopsy.

I had 3 or 4 lymph nodes removed from my left armpit and the results came back that there was no cancer in them! I was scared and happy. I followed up with x-rays and blood work for 10 years.

A lump growing

It was almost 10 years exactly when I felt a lump growing in my left armpit. It kept growing and growing. I had a needle biopsy that did not diagnose it. I had a mammogram and ultrasound and we still did not know what it was.

After a CAT scan, it was determined that the melanoma was back. I had a doctor who tried to remove the tumor in my left armpit and all he found was a large mass inside of me.

We didn't give up

I was stage 4 melanoma by the time I made it to the John Wayne Cancer Center, Christmas time, 2010. The cancer had spread to my lungs and bones and the tumor was 16 cm. I was dying.

I was led to Dr. Hamid at the Angeles Clinic where they tried an experimental treatment called biochemotherapy. I endured 5 rounds of this treatment that is chemotherapy and immunotherapy (interferon and IL-2).

I finished treatment in 2011. I have been NED for 7 1/2 years. I am grateful for the very supportive melanoma support communities I am a part of and beyond grateful for the doctors that do not give up on people like me! I was a hopeless case and I am still alive!

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