Allison Fleming

Jersey Girl

I had a spot on the top of my right foot for a while, and it began changing over time, getting dark and raised.  It would trouble me to look at it, but I'd move on and not do anything.  I now call this my "blissful ignorance."  This past summer there was a flyer hanging in the coffee station at work for a 5K run in memory of a colleague's brother who passed from melanoma, leaving behind two young sons.  Every time I walked passed the flyer I had a nagging feeling that I need to get it checked out, for my children, if nothing else. 

On Sept. 23, 2013 I went to a local dermatologist and she indicated that rather than biopsy a piece she'd like the surgeon to remove it entirely the next day. On Sept 24 it was removed and sent for biopsy.  The following Monday, Sept. 30, at 8:30 am I had just arrived at my office in NYC and my cell rang.  It was my dermatologist who asked if I were driving and could talk. "The results are back and you have melanoma.  Get a pen, and take this information."  She proceeded to refer me to Memorial Sloan Kettering.  I spent the rest of the day in a complete fog.  The definition of torture is telling someone they have melanoma and not being able to schedule them for TWO WEEKS.  On October 16, my husband and I went to see two doctors at MSK, one of which was a surgical oncologist. His plan was reincision of the foot that would require a skin graft from my left thigh, in addition to Sentinel Nobe Biopsy in the groin.  Fortunately, we were able to schedule this just a week out, and on Oct. 22 I had the surgery.  We returned to NYC for follow up last week and were blind-sided by two things,  First was the appearance of my foot, a giant horrifying crater.  The second was the biopsy results and the lymph node was positive. He then informed us that we have a decision to make - whether to remove ALL of the lymph nodes, but indicated that there is not enough data available to clearly say that doing so truly affects outcomes, and then discussed the side effects of lymphedema.  I'm scheduled for CAT and PET scans on Nov. 12 and 13. 

I'm an Irish Catholic, blue-eyed blonde who grew up spending summers at the NJ Shore.  Young and dumb as many of us were in the 70s and 80s, but as a Mom I chase my children with sunscreen all day long and slather myself in nothing less than 30 SPF.  But the damage was done, and this is now my battle.

I am new to this journey and still trying to have a night where I don't cry myself to sleep. The support of friends and family has been overwhelming and truly lifting me up.  Putting the gloves on for the fight ahead, and very interested in taking on some fundraising and awareness efforts.

Mon, 2013-11-04

Comments

shanemcdonald99 - (1/24/2014 - 11:58am)

hi

How are you doing now ? Is everything going ok ?

 

hope you are well

 

shane