Last Wednesday, I received the anxiously awaited phone call from my doctor. She called to share the news that it was time to take the gloves off and fight, because the melanoma had spread to my lymph nodes and I was now classified as at least a Stage III (of four) patient. I say at least Stage III because I had yet to undergo further scans to determine if the cancer had metastasized at a distant site elsewhere in the body; which would then classify me as Stage IV.
Today, The Big Man upstairs proved once again he is good all of the time, and gave us the results we've been praying for. The PET Scan and Brain MRI showed no visible signs of malignant growth elsewhere in the body and for the first time, we celebrated Stage III. While we still have a major battle and the road before us is bound to be bumpy and unpaved - I'm gonna agree with Mr. Abraham Lincoln and focus on the roses of this thorn bush.
diagnosis and the surgical staging surgery and then we rounded the corner to more scans.
We went to bed Thursday night anxious and uncertain of what to expect from the following day. I was scheduled to be in the hospital for my first set of scans, PET Scan, Friday at 2:00 and I was due to check in an hour early. My favorite teammate accompanied me per usual, and we waited (waiting is a thorn on our rose bush, but our rose is ha! we get to wait and hang kid free for a while!).
Next they called us back and we began. First up was the PET Scan (which was scanning the entire body), my IV was started and I was injected with glucose that contained radioactive tracers. Once it was injected I had to sit for an hour to allow my body to absorb everything and then I was taken to the scan. When I was explaining everything to my parents my dad asked me what it was like to be a super hero for a couple of hours, since I had radioactive matter coursing through my veins, and I assured him it didn't feel much different because I've been a super hero my entire life, HA!this new little number to read, so I was entertained while I waited.
It was the first time throughout this entire process I've felt like this cancer deal is bigger than me and I truly am a patient. It wasn't something I took lightly and being completely transparent, it really rattled me to my core. I broke down after the scan and was completely frazzled. Luckily, soon after we got an update that the kiddos had just purchased some new cowboy boots and were having a ball.
We're removing the remaining lymph nodes in effort to get clean margins in the local nodes. Determining if the disease has spread to more than the sentinel node previously removed, along with the results from pathology + my scans will determine our future treatment options. We will meet with a medical oncologist May 9th at our post-op visit to discuss whether or not we will be moving forward with immunotherapy. And that is where we stand today.
Thank you for sticking with us through this difficult time and continuing to lift us up in prayer. It means so much to all of us to hear from you and know we are in your thoughts. And for now, we're going to continue to celebrate Stage III and keep finding the roses. The Derby might bring a tear to my eye this year, for reasons far beyond choosing uncomfortable shoes. And if you have a hard time understanding that one ... it's probably time you visit our hometown, Louisville, KY during the month of May.