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How do I help?

chuckiecheese
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2005

Hi everyone,
I am new to this website and hoping to gather some information and support. I myself do not have cancer but just recently found out a good friend of mine does. She said she is in Stage 3 of Malignant Melanoma, and has had it for 6 years. She goes in every six months for checkups and has a great attitude on life. When she told me recently my heart dropped and I started to cry, I tried to hold it together but it was hard, all I have ever known about cancer is that my grandfather died from it. I am very ignorant on the subject and would love to know more. I have trying to do some research and learn more, but there is little information on how to deal with those who have cancer. I find myself asking her how she is feeling all the time, is that ok, or am I obsessing over it too much? And how serious is stage 3, because from what I understand it is very serious, but she always tells me she is fine and not to worry. I guess I would just like to know what I can do to help, I hate feeling so helpless, and if anyone can provide me with any information about this it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again and God Bless!

betsymv
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2003

There are so many sites...start at the NIH.gov and link to the NCI...having been diagnosed with stage 4 metastic melanoma 4 and a half years ago this is the place I went to for treatment (experimental vaccine and high dose interlukin treatments for 10 months ) and where I go to read about all aspects of the disease. This should be helpful for you and there is a chat room where patients and their families frequent. Don't treat her like she is sick....6 years out is super, I know from my own experience that sympathy and hovering get a wall up pretty quick...I look at it like I went through a little skirmish.... (and I guess it really was a gigantic battle) and now I have to figure out how to survive survival. We all live for cancer to become a chromic disease....these experimental treatments and the research they are doing at the NIH are getting at least the melanoma patients there faster......and I choose to see mine that way
I hope this helps.....

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1563
Joined: May 2006

WHAT A SWEETHEART YOU ARE, I AM THE WIFE OF A MELANOMA HUSBAND AND FEEL LIKE I RUN A CLOSE SECOND TO FIGHTING THE WAR IN IRAQ ALL THE TIME, BEING PROACTIVE IS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO AND THE BEST MEDICINE YOUR FRIEND COULD POSSIBLE RECEIVE TO HAVE A FRIEND LIKE YOU. BE PREPARED, IT IS TRUE, IT IS WORSE ON US THAN ON THEM....
WE STARTED OUT WITH A TINY WHITE MOLE ON THE SHOULDER, CENTENAL LYMPHNODE TRACKING WAS DONE, THEY TOOK OUT A CHAIN OF FOUR LYMPS, THEY WERE NEGATIVE SHOWING NO SPREAD TO THE NECK.. 14 MONTHS LATER, A TUMOR, THE SIZE OF A LEMON WITH 10 MALIGNANT LYMPHODES WAS LIFTED FROM BEHIND THE COLLAR BONE, THE VERY PLACE NO KNOW CANCERR WAS PRESENT. THUS WE WERE STAGE 3. WE BEGAN THE FLORIDA MELANOMA TRAIL, PATTERNED AFTER THE M.D. ANDERSON TRAIL OUT OF TEXAS. 5 LARGE DOSES OF RADIATION TO THE HEAD AND NECK, LARGE DOSAGES OF INTERFERON FOR ONE YEAR. THUS, YEILDING A REMISSION OF 5 YEARS AND 8 MONTHS OF NO CANCER. DURING REHAB OF THE LEFT ARM DUE TO THE DAMAGE FROM THE RADIATION, A PHYSICAL THERAPIST/MASSAGE THERAPIST FOUUND A TINY ENGLISH PEA UNDER THE SKIN OF THE FOREARM, THUS A DISTANT METASTASIS, MAKING HIM A STAGE 4 CANDIDAte, spread by the blood supply. still not in the vital organs. he is healthy, but, yes, it is serious, yes, it does require constantfollowing, constant tests of followup both interNAL AND EXTRRENAL AND TO THINK OTHERWISE IS TO BE IN COMPLETE DEINAL......IF I WAS IN STAGE THREE, I WOLD SIGN UP FOR THE CANVAXIN, CANCERVACCINE , STAGE 3 TRAIL SO FAST, CALL THE LAKELAND CANCER CENTER, DR. DOUG REINTGEN AS THEY ARE BEGINING NEW ENROLLMENT OF THE NEW STAGE 3 PATIENTS SOON. IT IS AB OUT THE ONLY CURE, STAGE 4 IS ROUGH STUFF... GOOD LUCK.

ninja
Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi,
I read your story and I could not help relating to you. My husband was diagnosed with stage III melanoma last June. He is 8 months into the 12-month interferon therapy. In the meantime I have been reading a lot about experimental terapies available in the US. I was particulartly hopeful that canvaxin could make it and I was very disappointed to read the bad news, last week. Why did they stop the trial for stage IV???!!! You said that your husband was doing great. Does it mean that his tumor was shrinking?
Thanks.

MAYA

Kabluie
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2005

Email: mrf@melanoma.org I a also new to this site. I was the care giver to my wife. For you, be a friend, it is hard to watch. Don't hover, she is alive and active, treat her that way but be sensetive. There may be a time when she needs help getting to the Dr., cooking, and cleaning, for now be her friend, share her great attitude on life.

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