Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Face of Stage IV Melanoma Cancer- The Beast Lurking Within


Now that I’m all grown up, and have finally figured out what I want to be, my thoughts are constantly on the prize. That prize for me is to raise Melanoma Cancer Awareness so high, that Melanoma becomes a household word. That’s my desire. I want to see black ribbons on my garbage cans. I want there to be a line of beautiful North Face jackets with that same black ribbon. I want to see Burton snowboards carry the ribbon. I want it displayed on all things young and fun. I want Melanoma Cancer to be so well known, that the current upswing in melanoma is drastically reduced. I want our beautiful young people to RUN from tanning beds. You can roll your eyes if you want to, I can do what I want. After all, I’m fifty now.

Yesterday we spent the day at U of M while Jillian had a CT scan, and a brain MRI. We will travel back again tomorrow to go over the results with our Dr., and possibly begin another round of Yervoy in combination with the drug Zelboraf, which she has been on the last four months. We were talking about this combination of drugs in the car during our drive to U of M. I mentioned that she would be one of three patients currently on this combined treatment. “Go Jill”!!, I said. She replies, “Yea, me”.

 Damn. “yea, me” indeed. I turn to my daughter sitting in the back seat. Looking at her, you would have no idea she has cancer. She looks healthy. She IS healthy, and young. Except for this one thing. Melanoma Cancer. It was a fluke that her Dr. ordered a PET scan one year after the mole on her back came back positive for melanoma. That area around the mole that had been excised, along with two lymph nodes, came back showing clear margins. We had NO idea that she had a tumor on her liver, two on her lungs, and several on her brain. This is how Melanoma Cancer works. It is the beast lurking within. You may not even know you have it. The doctor’s decision to order that scan has most likely saved Jillian’s life.

Our lives have become one with cancer. This drive to U of M every 4 weeks, or whatever the current treatment plan is, is just part of it. In the meantime, Jillian continues to plow through her life as she goes through her day to day activities. She runs every day. And you won’t hear her complain.

So this month, during Melanoma Cancer Awareness Month, while college graduation parties are being planned, while teenagers go to their proms, while seniors plan their graduation open houses,  while brides- to- be plan their weddings..while Jillian fights her battle….I’ll be planning the next way in which I can raise awareness to the Beast that Lurks within. I can do that. I WILL do that. 

Love and hugs, and ton’s of blessings!
Sue 

17 comments:

  1. Sue- I am with you 150%%%%%%!! We WILL continue to spread awareness. We Will talk about all of the wonderful Melanoma SURVIVORS!!! We WILL
    wake up America! We Will make a difference.

    Your Mother's Story is so well written- from your heart. Thank you for all that you do. You are a blessing. Hugs, Pam

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    1. Pam, you are the very first real person who reached out to us, showing the face of a true warrior. Thank YOU for all you do. Hugs and tons of love to you my friend. :)

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  2. No Mom should have to write those words Susan. You will not be silenced, not even after the beast is slayed.
    With you and Jillian in spirit.
    Valerie

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  3. Thank you Valerie. I feel your spirit with us. <3 And your right...there will be no silencing me. Not Ever. :)

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  4. Susan I loved reading your blog keep writing!! And as a daughter I know that Jillian is just as proud of you as you are of her : )

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    1. Thank you Julie. If you keep reading, I'll keep writing. :) And how sweet of you as a daughter to tell me this. You've made my day!

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  5. Sue, You are a true warrior and you are a new hope for all those who continue to fight melanoma:) Lots of prayers are going out tonight for some great results tomorrow. HUGS

    Karen

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    1. Thank you Karen. We can feel your prayers. Hugs right back at you!

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  6. Oh goodness. This one made me grab the tissues, Susan. Sending prayers and love to you and Jillian.

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    1. Prayers and TONS of love right back at you Chelsea!

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  7. Hi Sue,
    I'm a stage 2 melanoma warrior. I'm curious. Did the doc order her scan because she was having some symptoms or was it out of the clear blue sky? I had clear margins and clean lymph nodes, but stories like your daughter's scare me. My doc won't order scans just because.
    Carolyn

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    1. The surgeon who removed half of her liver wanted to know if the Dr who ordered the scan was Yoda, the Star Wars character.Jillian's Dr wasn't going to order the scan because he didn't think our insurance would cover it since it wasn't warranted. No symptoms. Nothing.Just the Beast lurking within.

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    2. Terrifying. My margins were clear, too. I've never had any more testing done. Unbelievably story--I'll definitely be sharing it.

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    3. Thank you for sharing Katie. Hugs to you. :)

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  8. Thank you Jimmy! Yes, Jillian is on BRAF currently, and just had her first infusion of Yervoy last Wednesday. This is the second round of infusion's for her. The response was mixed the last time. We are hoping that the combined therapy will be her ticket. Congrats on your 5 year mark! :)

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  9. Susan- your passion is amazing, truly inspiring. With enough fighters, melanoma awareness will reach the point you are striving for. I'm with you, and following you!

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  10. You're amazing! Keep fighting. My mom is one doing the combination treatment as well. Check out my foundation and let me know what you think. WWW.thefightagainstmelanoma.org.

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