On June 23 i found out i have cancer. Stage III Metastatic Melanoma to be exact. I found a lump in my groin. After realizing that it wouldn't just go away on it's own i got it checked out and lo and behold...it IS a tumor (in my best Arnold accent). My first reaction was to google all the info i could find. Unfortunately the internet can be dangerous in these situations and needless to say the first few weeks were pretty tough. My online search told me that stage 3 is one stop short of Stage 4 (naturally) which is incurable. Melanoma, despite being “just” skin cancer turns out to be a pretty nasty disease, the survival rates are scary (no need to rehash them here...just take my word for it).
I was torn about whether to write about this or not. On the one hand, it's a private thing and I'm a pretty private person..why broadcast this to the world. But on the other hand, this is going to have drastic impact on the next year of my life...in fact the rest of my life...and writing about it is kind of therapeutic. Even if no-one's reading this any more.
So where am i now on all this? What's the status? Well, after 2 biopsies, 1 colonoscopy (NOT COOL), 1 PET scan, 1 body MRI, 1 Brain MRI, a bone scan and a lymph node dissection i can proudly say that i'm cancer free....maybe. The last one on that list, the lymph node dissection was the culmination of all the other tests and involved cutting out 10 lymph nodes from my groin. I had (as of last tuesday) about 12 inches of stitches and 2 JP drains coming out of my legs. In addition i had to be on crutches and couldn't drive for the last few weeks. Luckily though i had some great pain killers! Not a fun way to spend 4 weeks of summer but they cut out the offending tissue...so i got that goin for me.
Thus far i think the recovery's gone quite well. I've never been under the knife for anything so this was a very new experience for me. The fatigue, pain and overall uncomfortableness (is that a word) were pretty intense in the beginning but it's improved every day to the point where I'm completely off the crutches and painkillers, the stitches are out and both drains are out. I drove my car last friday for the first time in 4 and a half weeks. SWEET FREEDOM!!!
That's the first half of the treatment. Now comes the immunotherapy part. 4 weeks, 5days per week 1 hr per day of IV interferon followed by 1 year of self administered interferon. This might get rough. I won't run through all the boring details but this stuff has a tendency to really knock people on their ass. I'm hoping to work as much as i can through this. In fact i worked last Friday, yesterday and today! albeit partial days, but i need this to get some sanity back in my life.
So that's my story. It's been a tough couple of months but luckily i've had some incredible help and support from my family and of course Mel. I can't imagine trying to do this alone and thankfully...i don't need to. It felt good to write it down and hopefully it wasn't too bad on the reading side. I'm not sure how much i'll write in the next few months, particularly if the interferon (immunotherapy) hits me hard, but i'll try.
On the plus side, here's a few “silver lining's” that i like to focus on
-i'll probably lose some weight
-i get a handicap parking pass
-i didn't drive for a month..i.e i probably wont be over on my lease
-i got a nice boat model to build as a gift
-i didn't have to work for nearly 5 weeks, but still got paid!
Oh, the boat model. Odd thing to throw in there right? Well one of my dive buddy's back home was nice enough to donate a really cool Chris Craft model to the “help occupy corrigan during his boring 4 weeks off” fund. Donations are tax deductible people.
Here are a few pics.
|Chris Craft Model|
It's not done yet, but it's been allot of fun and i'll throw some more pics on as i move forward.