StrongSteph's Journey with Skin Cancer - Melanoma

Survivor: Skin Cancer - Melanoma

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 6 years ago, Female, Age: 47, Stage IV, BRAF mutation positive: Yes, c-kit positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    over 4 years ago
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    Cancer is back/Recurred

    Oh No

    I had an orginal melanoma taken off my left forearm, in 2010 it came back with avengence! I was scared to death and had a very hard time getting an official diagnosis.

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  2. 2
    over 4 years ago
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    Where do get treatment

    Decision Point

    I lived in a very isolated part of the sierra nevada mountains in California. I had to leave my home for treatment. My choices were to go to San Francisco, but I did not have anywhere to live there, or go to Southern California and seek help and live with my Mom. Leaving home was heart breaking!!

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  3. 3
    over 4 years ago
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    My Life

    Loss

    My life as someone without cancer was over...I had to leave my family, my job, and everything I knew and essentially run away, praying someone would save my life.

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  4. 4
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy and immunotherapy combined (biochemotherapy)

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Biochemotherapy is extremely hard and completely dilapitated me. I lost all my hair, lost about 40 pounds, and could hardly walk for the majority of the treatment cycle. I still get sick at the thought of going to the hospital.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
    2 Comments
  5. 5
    over 4 years ago
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    Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)

    Side Effects

    the side effects are too numerous to list...the pages handed to me at the hospital of the side effects was 14 pages long! I was so very sick.....lots of pain and suffering.

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  6. 6
    over 4 years ago
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    Cancer is shrinking

    Celebration

    The cancer had shrunk and was no longer active on the pet scans.... time to heal for sugery.

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  7. 7
    over 4 years ago
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    Full lymph node dissection

    Procedure or Surgery

    I was lucky that my surgery was done by Dr. Morton and his fellow from the John Wayne Cancer Center. Without these two I probably would not be able to use my left arm. They did a complete resection of the left auxiallary area, and took the dead tumor plus a margin, which included a part of my brachial plexus nerve.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  8. 8
    over 4 years ago
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    Hair is back

    Celebration

    My hair began growing back...indicating my health was improving. It took me about 12 months to really feel "normal" again, and I know I am physically different, but I am alive!

    1 Comment
  9. 9
    about 2 years ago
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    Remission

    Celebration

    I am 3 1/2 years NED from stage IV melanoma!! YAY!!!

    6 Comments
  10. 10
    over 1 year ago
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    Celebration

    I am at once a year appointments with my oncologist! I am nervous to switch to less than twice a year... but also grateful! Sometimes it is surreal I beat the beast! Having a bit of survivor guilt.... we've lost too many people lately. I will keep spreading a message of HOPE!

    1 Comment