May 23, 2011 - 12:44 pm
I've just hit my third birthday cancer free.
Just last fall I had a strange weakness and slight numbness in my left arm. After seeing the doctor, thinking I would get a referral to an orthopod or PT for a pinched nerve, once the exam was over he said "Your symptoms are classic of melanoma that has spread to the brain." I spent the next two days in the MRI tube being scanned. Then waiting for "the call."
It came the next day and the verdict was "Your MRI's are boringly normal. However..." there's always a "however." "However, we did see several tumors buried deep in your neck, about an inch around. We'll get a biopsy first before sending you to the surgeon." Whomever named that thing a "Fine Needle Biopsy" has never had one -- it should be called a "Knitting Needle Biopsy!" It came back "inconclusive" so it was off to the head/neck surgeon.
Long story short, I had surgery soon thereafter, and was lucky enough to still be in the hospital when the surgeon came in and gave me the news the tumors were benign and not related to the melanoma. Through a Dilaudid and Morphine haze, I remember calling my mom to give her the news. I can't imagine what it must have been like for her to have one of her children in the hospital waiting for that news. The tumors were removed, as well as most of my thyroid, and some other parts, but I can chalk that up as one for MY side!
It's getting easier over time to say "I'm a Survivor" -- though I haven't been as sick as some. When I stood in front of the huge crowd at an ACS Relay for Life last month, as the Survivor Speaker, with my mom crying on the front row, it dawned on me then that no matter what our stage is, or treatment phase, we ARE Survivors, no matter what.
I'm celebrating my birthday in style this year, and the birthdays just keep getting bigger and better every year!