I have shared with you how my friend of 35 years who I met when we were 7 years old has stage 4 melanoma. She has shared some photos of new tumors. I have never seen anything like it. It made me think that if someone were to see these photos, they might decide to quit using tanning beds and always use sunscreen. Maybe this post can save a life.
When we were growing up, I went with her and her family for many many long lake trips. Moms didn’t think about sunscreen back then. It was until we got blisters on our shoulders and noses, that anyone thought to cover us up or make us wear sunscreen. Tanning beds became popular when we were in high school. No one worried about cancer then like we do now. The warnings weren’t as prevalent and to tell you the truth, even if they were I am sure we had the attitude that melanoma would never happen to us. But it did.
My friend first discovered her melanoma about 2 years ago. When she showed the doctor he didn’t seem very concerned, but because she was he removed and biopsied it. It was stage 1 melanoma. It was finally removed, but then discovered they needed to remove more than they thought and she went back and was left with an indention in the back of her arm. It was gone, she was glad and life went on.
In May, she noticed a lymph node under her arm that was tender and swollen. She feared the worst and her fear was correct. The melanoma was back. Of course insurance didn’t want to help her right away with a PET scan. So finally she was able to get a CT scan which confirmed the cancer and then they got to pay for a PET scan too. Dumb insurance. She had the lymph node under her arm, a few other smaller ones and a few spots in her lungs. She was told if she didn’t get accepted into the trial in Maryland, then her chances of survival were slim to none.
Thank goodness she was accepted. They tried to remove the lymph node tumor and harvest cells that would later help fight her cancer, but they were unable to remove all of it. While waiting to get the PET scan and get into the trial, it grew. They got what the could and left the parts connected to nerves, muscle, blood vessels, etc.
She went home and about a week later growths appeared under her arm.
You can see the incision area where they tried to remove the lymph node/tumor.
Of course she is very concerned. She returns back to Maryland and they do more tests and she qualifies for another trial. She starts to take Zelboraf. It can help shrink the tumors. We are thinking great. She needs some relief and they need to shrink.
A few days later her underarm looks like this.
Then the next day this happens.
She is worried and goes to the ER. They tell her it is the medicine working. We hope that is the case because a week after taking the meds her underarm looks like this now.
Yes it hurts. She is on morphine. The above pic looks like she has grown another breast. She can’t put her arm down.
She goes next week to start her chemo which only kills good cells, not cancer cells, but it will make room for the TIL treatment. She will be gone for the month of August.
Please pray for my friend Rosa that she has healing and comfort. And please avoid tanning and make your children aware of the dangers of tanning. And if you have a suspicious mole get it checked NOW.