7 years of Stage 4

Sometimes I feel like time just keeps speeding up! A memory from today was from my VAT’s surgery done March 1, 2011.  

Yep, this was my awesome picture after getting an epidural in and trying to stay calm! 

This was done to take 2 wedge dissections of my left lung to find out if melanoma had moved on to my lungs.  Only a short few months after my initial diagnosis of melanoma.  November 2010, after several testing I had been given a stage 3 diagnosis.  I remember sitting with a medical oncologist at UNC-Chapel Hill who said they had very little to treat stage 3, and within 2 years she almost guaranteed I’d advance to stage 4 and then they and nothing to help me.  

Well, she was right. It didn’t even take 2 years to advance. When trying to get in to a clinical trial at Sloan, my CT scan showed possible lung tumors:

A few weeks later I’d have the VAT’s procedure that would confirm the worst - Stage 4. 

Now after consulting Dr Google - it would tell you that stage 4 patients had a 50% chance of surviving 1 year and a 10% chance of 5 year survival.  Luckily some new drug treatments came along while going thru all this.  7 years later still here.  With 5 or so years with nothing new or growing.  I still go in for very frequent check ups. Because cancer is a sneaky beast! 

Protect the skin you’re in!  

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