Cassie Beisel

Stage 3b - Primary Unknown

January 2011 - Diagnosis - Cancer.  Ouch!  Talk about reality hitting hard at 32. After a month of tests, biopsies and scans for what they thought was breast cancer, the verdict came in...Melanoma!  "Interesting" I thought.  I wasn't a sun worshiper or had many blistering sunburns as a child, no family history and no funny looking moles or freckles.  All I had was a swollen lymph node under my right arm.  This is what they called "Occult" Melanoma or Melanoma of unknown primary origin. AKA no primary tumor.  A year, many pet scans and theories later; I still don't know if it was a regressed melanoma that somehow slipped passed un-noticed or if I have remnants lurking in my body somewhere waiting to surprise me.  I guess that is part of the mystery of cancer;  did they get it all? 

Coming into 2012, I just celebrated my one year cancer free on March 7th - the day that about one year ago I had a full lymph node dissection in my right arm where they discovered 3 lymph nodes were infected with cancer.  In two weeks I will be finishing up my Interferon treatments.  A year long series of injecting myself with toxins, and for good reason.  I am not going to sugar coat my experiences in the past year, it was hard.  The hardest thing I have ever done, in fact.  The first six months I was just out right sick.  There is something to be said for having the feeling of full blown flu everyday for six months.  On top of that there was depression, uncertainty and tears. With that being said and I am sure I have frightened you away from interferon just enough; I will say that looking back on it all now with my head on straight and more of a tolerance for my situation, I have no regrets.  I can rest a little easier knowing I fought it out and did what I could to better my chances and in the end improve my quality of life.  The appreciation that I feel for my life, my friends, my family and all the little, simple things have all blossomed over this past year. For that, I can say that I am truly grateful and that this is one time where so much good came out of something so bad. 

So what's next?  The next five years are what they call the "watch" years right?  Ok, so I watch.  I wait.  Maybe a little nail biting...probably.  I live.  I live my life everyday with fulfillment and passion, laughter and emotion.

Thu, 2012-03-01

Comments

connieb62 - (4/23/2012 - 5:53pm)

I found out April 20, 2011 I had melanoma.  It was also under my right arm.  I found a lump doing a breast exam the end of March, the doctor had me do an ultrasound then a biopsy on the lymph nodes and it came back melanoma.  On April 29th I had surgery to remove the tumor-which was so big it covered a smaller tumor underneath it.  They  removed all the lymph nodes on my right side to make sure it had not spread to them also.   After the surgery they sent me to Los Angeles to see a top melanoma specialist, who wanted to put me in a trial- but my tumors didnt test positive for what they were looking for, so I went thru the daily interferon infusions for a month.  Mine was stage 3B, with unknown source.   So many people have no idea what melanoma really is, they dont realize it can start on the inside.  It is so frustrating to hear people talk about their moles or tanning and make it sound like imelanoma is no big deal.   Its scary waiting for those pet scans every 3 months, but your so right about  appreciation for family and friends, and the little things in life that we used to take for granted are what matter the most now.
Our stories are so similiar, yet reading yours its hard to believe I went through it too.  I dont think it will ever really sink in.

jjm77777 - (8/18/2012 - 3:44pm)

Hello,

Thank You for your story, I am at the point were the go back in and will do a Full dissection of the lymph node area, and I will be on interferon within 10 days from now. I would be lying, if I were to tell you I am not scared.Thanks Your story has helped me. John

Live til You Die!

Wolverine - (10/22/2012 - 2:20pm)

Hello Fellow Fighter,

I have just joined MRF as I found out just a few months ago that I am stage IIIc.  Interestingly enough, when I read your case, it was almost identical.  I am signed up for a clinical trial to see if Yervoy low or high dose has a prenventative value for Stage III patients.  Unfortunately, one of the three options is Interferon.  How are you doing with that?

I am very inspired by your story and all that you have accomplished.

Everyday is a Gift so Fight Strong, Live Long

jatbrown - (11/4/2012 - 6:48pm)

11 Interferon Shots left to go, Nov 28th last shot....what a year!  I am truely greatful to Interferon and the Grace of God........hang in there everyone you can do this!  

kattyp - (6/19/2013 - 3:25am)

hey Cassie Beisel Thanks For you Wonderful inforation on cancer..

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Talita - (12/17/2013 - 4:14am)

Thank you for sharing your story, it means a lot . May compassion, fulfilment, joy and love surround you and those around you for the rest of your life.

 

Keep well, take care and all the best,

Regards

Talita

I have all the same unknown primary..left leg node though...did interferon and well worth the misery...seems we all got diagnosed in April for me 2010...scans are very scary..all of this is but family and friends are awesome and they are working on a cure for us...have hope and keep fighting... Stage IIIB ned 4 yrs

Remember what's important and make everyday count