I love to share stories of melanoma survivors on my blog because it's my way of bringing hope to the other melanoma warriors out there, amidst their fight. I connect with so many fellow survivors, mostly on Facebook, and the story below written by Mark Williams, is just further proof that there are other "melanoma miracles" out there!
Don't Stop Believin'!
The doctor was sure that the cancer had spread, as he had detected a tumor on my lung in the scan report. He then told me that NO ONE lives more than a year or two because melanoma is very aggressive and ruthless. I was frightened beyond belief. It was then that I met with my first oncologist who ordered a PET scan. I foolishly told him to call me Monday with the results, which was my 50th birthday. He did and then told me that he had some VERY bad news. I now had 14 tumors! Nine in my lungs, one LARGE one on my esophagus and 4 more in my chest cavity. I couldn’t believe it!
The oncologist then told me that he couldn't do anything for me. Fortunately, he referred me to a GREAT melanoma specialist, Dr. Curti, that was practically in our own backyard in
From there, I passed all the stress tests and was slated to start treatment on November 5th, 2007. Now we had to call my daughter in
Having success with IL-2, meant that I qualified for another cycle in 2 weeks. At this point, I was ready because I was on a mission to kill the "Beast"! I completed the second 2 weeks and even re-carpeted my house, all while waiting to see if the drug was working. It was!! I went back in for the final cycle of 2 weeks, but wasn’t able to do as many doses this time because you start to build up toxicity. Upon completion of IL-2 therapy, I had 6 months of clean scans. In Dec of 2008, I had a ‘hot spot’ show up in my chest, but Dr. Curti assured me it was just a bump in the road. I then had 50 lymph nodes removed (for clean margins) and one node had melanoma cells in it, while the rest were clear. I then did 25 rounds of radiation as a precaution.
It has now been 4 full years since surgery and in remission! It was over 5 years ago that I was told that I only had a year to live. I am fortunate to have been able to see my son grow from boy to man and witness my daughter graduate from high school and college. I was even there to witness the birth of my first grandchild, Cashton, who is my best little buddy.
There are three things I never forget that I learned throughout my experience with cancer:
1. Every day is a gift.
2. Go one day at a time
3. DON'T STOP BELIEVIN!!!
Written by: Mark Williams, Stage 4 Melanoma survivor, Oregon