Mar 31, 2003 - 3:02 am
I am a 32 yr. woman with Metastatic Melanoma. I never had a surface lesion. The first tumor in my abdomen was removed on Aug. 31, 2002. 6 sentinel lymph nodes were removed from my leg and they were clean. I was confident that I would stay free of cancer. I then started Interferon 2 months after surgery and was a real trooper, continuing to work part time and take care of my 8 year old daughter. Now 7 months after surgery my new CT and PET scans show a new larger tumor in stage 4 in my abdomen. It is still contained in the area and has not spread to other parts of my body, however the doctors say it's inoperable because of size and location. Even Dr. Marten at the John Wayne Cancer Institute who saw my report says that he dosn't think he can do it, and he is famous for being able to operate when other surgens won't or can't. The tumor is very close to or attached to the bladder, colon and uterus. They want to try Bio-Chemotherapy to try to shrink the tumor which has approximatly 40% chance of shrinking. Then if there is shrinkage, they will possibly be able to operate, or maybe not. If surgery is successful, I will again have a 50% chance of recurrence again after surgery. They would then give me maintenence treatments of immunotherapy. I would also have to have frequent scans and blood tests for the rest of my life.
I am scared of the effects of the Bio-Chemotherapy which is a 3 month treatment. I would have to be in the hospital for 5 days of treatment, then go home for 2 weeks and then go back in the hospital for 5 days, then home, etc. The side-effects are extreme fatigue, hair loss, possible kidney, liver and heart damage. No fresh fruit or vegetablew are allowed during the treatment due to possible bacteria. I need to find out if these organ damages are temporary or possibly permanent.
I am worried about losing what strength and health I still have, becuase right now I feel pretty good. I have been eating only raw fruit and vegetables, raw nuts(no peanuts)fresh juice, vitamins, herbs and minerals. I will try chiropratic and acupunture treatments, meditation, yoga, and coffee enemas(sounds wierd I know). All of these alternative treatments are known to fight and prevent cancer. I just don't know if they will be strong enough to shrink my tumor. I have heard of miracle cases where people heal themselves. Book are writtne in miracle healing. Can I trust it, or go with the conventional treatment? I already went with the conventional treatment before and it did not work for me. Do I keep trying to fight my illness with toxic drugs? I wish there were some way they could give me more gaurantees. I want to be able to enjoy my life as fully as possible with out the ruined health from chemo if the chances are not good. I want the doctors to tell me the truth if they don't think there will be success. It is a gamble for me, the hardest choice I've ever made.
I still have hope, but I would like to hear about someone in my predicament who has survived. If I knew that the treatment had more cons than pros, I might not want to do it and I would take my daughter to Disney Land and Hawaii to spend time with her while I still have strength. I would continue to do the alternative treatments in hope that they will improve and prolong my life. I need to make a decision very soon.