Sunday, June 03, 2007
For some reason making it to June 2007 seems like a landmark of sorts, almost more than hitting the two year mark after my melanoma diagnosis which was in February. During June of 2005, which was 3 months after my groin LND, I started feeling worse and worse when I was assuming I'd feel better and better. I had elected not to do the interferon year because I felt like my best bet was to get stronger and healthier after surgery. If the stats had been better in terms of how much interferon would have improved my chances, or if I'd been much younger, then I probably would have thought about it longer but as it was I chose to fight back by getting back into fighting form. All very well and good except I didn't get back into what I saw as my fighting form. I pushed myself to resume long walks and after the surgical drain was finally out for good (9 weeks after surgery) I managed to start jogging again but that didn't last long. By the end of June of 2005, I feared that the cancer had spread to my brain because my balance was severely impaired, my hands and feet were tingling constantly when they weren't numb (not just the side where I had the dissection), I was in a lot of pain, and I had a period where I could barely get my words out. To make a long story short, an MRI of my brain was normal, a PET scan showed a mass near where my surgery was which was initially worrisome for a recurrence but in time got smaller until it was assumed to be an artifact from surgery. Some things got better, some worse, some I got used to but in general at this point my "issues" are managed with meds. I no longer feel like something is being missed or that I need to keep searching for answers which in and of its self is a relief. I accept that a combination of factors are probably involved with what happened to me and I think part of it is that I tried to white knuckle it too long when things first started going south which probably contributed to an overload of some kind. I also know I'm having some kind of autoimmune response because my CRP has stayed high for 10 months but that's so non specific, I'm assuming the best at this point. It's funny how when I first found out how bad things might be back in February of 2005 when they thought I might have stage IV melanoma, I was sure at some deep place that everything would be okay. When it was determined that I was Stage III after scans and the LND, I was still pretty optimistic. I decided not to do interferon but to start running again as soon as possible instead. It wasn't until that plan went south and the chronic pain began that I felt somewhere deep down like my chances weren't very good. I still have to fight that deep down voice but the more time that elapses the more convinced I am that what I have to fight is a chronic condition not a life threatening one. I am reaching a point where I can live with that. I guess that's what it's all about. Living. I know there's something else I want to say here but I can't find the words. I am in awe of so many of my fellow melanoma survivors who have a courage that I have to believe in some way extends beyond life its self. People I will probably never meet in person who have shared there journey in some cases to the very end of life itself that have left me and so many others with so much that is good and brave and true. I feel like if I had a tiny portion of their courage I would be doing well indeed. This isn't a put down of myself. I do okay. I do pretty well some days and comparisons are odious. I felt the need to express how enriched I feel by so many brave people that share their journeys.