My metastatic melanoma brain tumor and me-Year 1

So, if you pay attention to statistics, I shouldn’t be here. Depending on which stats you read, the metastatic brain tumor I have should already have done me in anywhere between 4 and 9 months after they found it. I don’t mean that to sound trite. It’s very serious shit.

One year ago today, I sat in my oncologist’s office babbling away about how unfair it was that I had to have a breast biopsy…as if melanoma wasn’t enough to deal with. And then I realized he wasn’t saying anything. He was…just…looking at me. That’s when he said the words no melanoma patient ever wants to hear. It had spread to my brain. Holy shit. Of course that was the one day I didn’t have anybody with me at a scan “results” appointment.  That will never happen again. There was crying, and swearing, and more crying. It was six weeks before my daughter’s wedding for God’s sake! Sigh.

Anyway, once my pity party was over and I stopped crying, I said, “Okay, what do we do about it.” He had already made an appointment for me with a neuro-oncologist for the next day. He showed me the scan, and that ugly tumor. Thankfully, it was in a good spot and wouldn’t be difficult to treat, as far as brain tumors go.

The next days and weeks were a whirlwind of tears, and research, and talking, and decisions. I can’t begin to tell you how hard it is to tell your family that your cancer is back…again.  Anyway, we decided that stereotactic radio surgery would be best, so that’s what we planned.

I’ve had my ups and downs over the last year.  Ended up on steroids for a few weeks because the damn tumor was swelling. Good Lord, do those steroids make you eat! Just 2 months ago a scan and problems with my vision caused my neuro-oncologist to refer me to a neurosurgeon.  There was a chance there was a new second tumor and the first was swelling again. We met with him and talked surgery, but we would wait for a second scan a month later. It was a good thing we did.  The scan was beautiful.  My doc said he’d never seen anything like it.  He even said it must have been divine intervention. Whatever it was, I’ll take it.

So, 365 days later, I’m here, and extremely grateful. I truly believe every day is a gift. Even the last four months living in Chi-beria have been a gift. Why? I live with no illusions. I know this disease could get ferocious any time it wants. I know how brutal it can be. But I have melanoma, it does NOT have me.
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Filed under: Brain tumor, Melanoma

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