It all began when my father was diagnosed with melanoma long before I was born. He was diagnosed at 24, after he found a lesion on his foot that he let go way too long. When it started bleeding he decided to have it checked, and sure enough it was Melanoma. All the doctors in Michigan said he should have his leg amputated, and that if he was lucky he would have 6 months to a year to live. Not a week later my mother found out she was pregnant with my older sister. He decided not to have his leg amputated, since they didnt give him much time as it was. He found a doctor to try some experimental treatment, and thank God he did. Those treatments gave us so many loving years with him. He went into remission for over 20 years. In the mean time I came along :) and my parents due to his history had me checked from a very young age. In the mean time, my grandfather on my mothers side of the family got checked, in light of everything that was going on, and found melanoma already spread to the lymph nodes ( he is still alive after treatment and doing wonderful)!!!! I have now had 10 pre melanoma insitus/ very early melamona insitus ( starting from age 16, now 26), as well as multiple dysplastic nevi that I have had removed. Thank you to my father I have some pretty crazy scars, but most importantly I have my life. Also, I have had 6 cousins as well as an aunt and Uncle that have been diagnosed wtih melanoma. My father has saved all of us because we caught them in such early stages and I am so thankful every day that I had so many loving years with him. My father is my idol, and I am the most blessed girl to have had him in my life for so many years. My fathers cancer spread to his lymph nodes when I was 13, and he went through so many treatments to fight for his life, and once again went into remission for 4 more years!!!! When I was a senior in highschool is when things started to really go down hill. It spread to his brain, he had brain surgery and was back to work a week later, amazing!!!!!!!!! He continued chemo and interfueron, he was so sick, such a strong man, it was so hard to watch. But, he never let it get him down...he took us on trips and enjoyed every moment of life. After it spread to his brain, it slowly went to his liver, lungs, bones, and he even got tumors in the soft flesh of his skin. He spent so many days in a hospital room, but eventually when it came down to it we brought him home with hospice. He died 10 days after we brought him home. But what he would want is for everyone to know the risks of melanoma, and how it can be prevented. Obviously if you are reading this you or someone you know has had melanoma, so please for my father spread awarness...get yourself and your family and friends checked. This is such a terrible illness but it can be prevented and treated when caught early!!! I watched the strongest man I've ever known go through a terrible fight, but he did it, and went to work up until two weeks before he passed, he didn't let melanoma control his life. So spread the word and spread on the sunscreen!!! Do it for him, and me and your family!!! Nobody should ever die from melanoma...catch it early...check yourself...make regular dermatology appointments, and make someone aware!!!! Together we can stop Melanoma from killing those we love!
A family that doesn't give up...but takes our loss as our inspiration!
Melanoma Quick Facts
Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S. and worldwide. Consider:
- One in 50 Americans has a lifetime risk of developing melanoma
People under 30 are developing melanoma at an alarming rate – the incidence soaring by 50% in young women since 1980
- Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults aged 25-29 & the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults aged 15-29
- In 2009, nearly 63,000 people were diagnosed with melanoma in the U.S., resulting in about 8,650 deaths
- The American Cancer Society projects that nearly 77,000 will be diagnosed and 10,000 will die from melanoma this year
- Every eight minutes, someone in the U.S. will be diagnosed with melanoma
- Every hour of every day, someone will die from the disease