Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chemo Update

So update everybody:
The insurance approved dad's Yervoy!! He gets his first treatment May 7th at 1p. It will take 30 minutes for the infusion, then he comes back for a 2nd treatment 3 wks later. He'll continue to have treatments every 3 weeks for a total of 4 treatments...if he develops serious side effects (other than skin rash) he will have to stop the treatment altogether. There is a 50/50 chance as to whether this treatment will extend his life 10 months or not. 10 months is the longest anybody has survived with this treatment, and right now that's looking a lot better than the 3 months he has right now! Thank you all for your continued love and support!!! His oncologist said side effects won't show up until after his 2nd treatment, so it will be a while before we know if he has to stop it or not. I'm just hoping and praying it will shrink his tumor and work! If not, he is literally out of options. This is his only chance at an extended life.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Friendships and Feelings

There isn't much to report on tonight! My dad hasn't heard back from his oncologist's office about when he starts the Yervoy treatments, but we are hoping tomorrow we will hear something! Time isn't exactly on our side here, so the sooner we can get him started on the treatment, the better.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about hardships and struggles that we face as humans. There's an old saying that states you should never judge another person because you don't know what struggles they are enduring. That's a very botched paraphrasing of the quote, haha. Every single person on earth at least once in their lives experiences some form of heartbreak, trauma, or pain. I have several diseases that are debilitating, my father is dying, and I have financial stress right now. I have friends who have been dumped by other friends, lovers, friends who are sick with colds, cystic fibrosis, and friends who are just stressed out by school.

I will ALWAYS let my friends and loved ones come to me when they are hurting, physically or emotionally. Just because I am carrying a lot on my shoulders doesn't mean my friends' problems are less significant than mine. I don't know how their grief and stress is effecting them. Nothing I have going on in my life is more important or more stressful than any of my friends' issues. I will always be there for them no matter what. "Do unto others as you would have done unto you". The Golden Rule is an amazing philosophy to live and work by. I try to live by it every day of my life. I'm not perfect, and there are times when I get self-absorbed in my problems and forget that other people have issues as well, but when I do get out of that funk, I make sure to ask my friends and family how they are, and I truly mean it.

I hope all of you know that when I do ask you how you are doing, you don't have to sugarcoat it or lie to me. If you are feeling down and depressed, please don't tell me you are "fine". You can tell me exactly how you feel. I had a friend tell me the other day that she doesn't like to tell me about her everyday problems because my dad is dying and it makes her issues look like small shit. I told her that is absolute bullshit and if I felt that way about other peoples' problems versus mine I wouldn't bother asking how they are doing, what they are up to, etc.

My ears and heart are always open to all of you, regardless of what you have going on, big or small. It doesn't matter. I am always here for you anytime you need me. I am so blessed to have such amazing people in my life. You all make me smile and feel so loved every day! Thank you for being the kind of friends that I am proud to gloat about. Lifetime friends.

The rest of the week I encourage all of you to follow the Golden Rule at least once in your day-I can promise you that you will notice a change in your moods! You all deserve happiness and love and I truly hope you receive all you can handle from here on out.

Love Always,

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lack of updates..sorry!

Sorry I haven't updated at all in the last few days! Things have been bad regarding my health lately. I'm seeing my Crohn's specialist on May 2nd, which feels like an eternity from now. I'm going to get real with you guys lol. Basically when you start losing blood and blood clots every time you go to the bathroom, something isn't right. There's also mucus and pus as well. Lovely, right? I tend to think so. Not really. I'm just so frustrated. The surgery was supposed to fix everything. I just don't understand why things are better in some ways, but still the same if not worse in others. I really want to try Remicade, but I'm so scared of it. It seems like it could work miracles on me, but the side effects are so dangerous and I tend to get all of the rare adverse effects.

I hope all of you are having a good weekend/week! Take it easy, wear sunscreen, and have fun!!!! Hopefully I'll be feeling up to posting regularly later on in the week!!

Love, Melissa

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rundown of his appointment today.

So my dad had his appointment today! First off, his doctor is AMAZING. I mean, he's so kind, caring, and you can genuinely tell his heart is in it.

Overall the appointment went well! My dad was tested for something called the BRAF mutation, which would open us up to clinical trials/more chemo options. He does not have the BRAF mutation. Instead, he has one called the NRAS mutation. It's a genetic mutation that is only in his tumors-it's not something that has been passed down to my sister and I. The NRAS mutation is rare and is what makes his melanoma extremely fast growing and aggressive. Unfortunately, it also extremely limits the treatments available to him.

So the bad news: because of the NRAS mutation and the fact the melanoma has spread to his brain, he only has one chemo option available to him. It's called Yervoy and it's just under 2 years old. It's used in patients with the NRAS mutation and who has brain metastises (sp?). When it works, it can extend the life of a patient up to a couple years. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work. It's not like a typical chemo where you lose hair, get sick, etc. It boosts your immune system, so his side effects could be hepatitis (that goes away when the chemo is stopped), pancreatitis, neurological issues, colitis, skin rashes, diarrhea. Some patients don't have any side effects, and some get all of them. If he gets any of the more severe side effects, the chemo must be stopped. He will be doing the chemo once every three weeks for a total of 12 weeks, and a total of four treatments. It's pretty much a toss-up with whether it will help shrink the tumors. It either will, or it won't, and we'll know after the 2nd or 3rd treatment if it is effective. He won't lose any hair, so that is a definite plus.

The leg tumor is inoperable and the oncologist explained to us why. Basically, because it's fused to the bone, an operation in this scenario is only done if it is going to cause the bone to break. Since it causes my dad minimal pain, and it isn't compromsing the bone's integrity, they are going to leave it and hope the Yervoy shrinks the tumor.

My dad is very optimistic and the dr said "You are in for a very hard and long fight" and my dad said he's ready for it. So he's going in with the right attitude! 

The Yervoy costs $120,000.00 total for all four treatments, so we have to wait for insurance to do their thing. Whatever they won't cover the Yervoy company will cover the rest, so that is definitely reassuring.

Thank you for the continued prayers and support. Let's just pray together that this new drug will help  him, that he'll be able to tolerate it, and that it will shrink the cancer! If all of the above fails, he is literally out of options. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tomorrow is the big day....

"At the end of the day, there are some things you just can't help but talk about. Some things we just don't want to hear, and some things we say because we can't be silent any longer. Some things are more than what you say, they're what you do. Some things you say cause there's no other choice. Some things you keep to yourself. And not too often, but every now and then, some things simply speak for themselves."

Tomorrow is the big has his long-awaited appointment with his oncologist. I'm nervous about it, as any person in this situation would be. We are going to be discussing dad's treatment plan, and what's next. He still has the tumor on his right calf (fused to his fibula), and since it's inoperable his options are limited. I'm very worried. This melanoma he has is very aggressive and fast-growing. He is still suffering from extreme exhaustion and migraines. I looked at his post-radiation paperwork that explains what the side effects are, and it said he shouldn't experience headaches for more than 24 hours after the treatment. I don't know what this means...whether it means he has more brain tumors, or if the cancer is spreading elsewhere. It could mean nothing. I don't know. I don't know if I want to know. I mean, I have to know. Get what I"m saying? Probably not.

I wish I could do more to help him. I wish I could just wave a magic wand and have everything be the way it was before he fell at work. If I could just go back in time to when he first started having leg problems, and urge his doctor to give him an ultrasound, we wouldn't be in this mess. He would have found the tumor before it reached his brain. The brain tumors had only been there for around 6 months, but the leg tumor had been there a year or more. If we had caught it earlier, he may not be at stage 4. We could get another year, or  more, with him. Now our time together is going to be measured in months, if we're lucky.

If there is one thing I can urge each and everyone of you to do, that would be to please please PLEASE get your skin checked. Whether you have moles or not, it doesn't matter. Your life is worth more than a tan, people. Please protect yourselves and get checked. You only have one life! Why cut it short? I care about you and I want nothing but the best for each of you. 

Tomorrow is going to be very very hard. I know that I have some amazing friends by my side to support me and encourage me and stand by my side through this difficult journey. I will never take any of you for granted, I promise. Everything you do for me, big and small, means the world to me. Thank you for being here for me. For those of you who have been supportive since day 1, thank you. Thank you for all that you do. And to the ones who haven't bothered to email, call, text, comment on facebook, or even return messages from me? It's your loss. I know you won't be reading this because you can't be bothered by any of it. I don't expect you to be. I don't post anything of this stuff on facebook so if you're curious you can ask me yourself. But again, you aren't reading this. Only my true friends are, and I love you all for it. Whether we've known each other for 10 years or 10 days, you're all wonderful and I am so blessed to have you all in my life. Thank you.

Tonight I am thinking about what it truly means to be happy. I know it's the little things that matter. We all know that. Today I am thankful for the following:

-Having dinner with my dad, even if it did make me sick. He was still able to cook for my sister and I.
-Joking with my dad about hockey and Law and Order: SVU. 
-Being able to have one more memory with him. Memories of laughter, love, and happiness.
-Having an amazing boyfriend who loves me despite my terrible puns (purrito, anyone?).
-My amazing friends and family who keep me strong.
-My faith in a Higher Power...because we can't be struggling through life all alone, right?

I hope all of you find something to be grateful for today, big or small. Hug your loved ones. Enjoy every moment you have with them because you never know when it could be your last.

"Maybe we're not supposed to be happy. Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Maybe we're thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we're thankful for the things we'll never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate."

Monday, April 16, 2012

I am bored again so you all get another survey. I'm sorry?

1. State your name: Melissa
2. State the name that your parents almost named you: Chloe
3. Which of your relatives do you get along with the most? Most of them!
4. What was your first job? Waitressing for my dad's restaurant business
6. Did anything embarassing happen this week? Not yet
7. Do you miss your ex? HELL NO
8. Do people praise you for your looks? Somtimes...
9. What is your favorite color of clothing to wear? Green or purple.
10. How do you wear your makeup? It depends on my mood.
11. What are some of your nicknames? Mel, Missy, baby, lil mel mel, sis
12. How many bedrooms are in your house? 3
13. How many bathrooms? 2
14. Do you have a job? yes
15. Do you have a car? yes
16. Do you work out every week? No
17. Did you brush your teeth this morning? Yes
18. Have you ever kissed someone you never saw again? Yes
19. Have you ever sang in front of a crowd?  No
20. What kind of bathing suit do you wear? Tankini
21. Do you like your eyes? Yes
22. Do you think you are pretty? Yes
23. Who was the last person you talked to in person? My mom
24. How much money is in your checking account? Hahahahahahaha
25. Are you single? Nope :D
26. Do you want kids? Yes, someday!
27. Tell me what your back pack looks like: I do not own a backpack.
28. What celebrity do you think is hot? Too many to name.
29. Last movie you saw in theatre: The Cabin in the Woods-A MUST SEE
30. Are you dating the same person you dated last year? Yes!
31. Has someone you were dating ever cheated on you? Yes
32. Have you ever cheated? Absolutely not
33: Have you kissed someone whose name starts with a ‘J’? Ugh yes
34: What do you like to do in your spare time? Sleep haha
35: Do you have a facebook? Yes
36: What’s the cutest thing someone’s ever done for you? Write me love letters
37: Who was the last person you texted? RJ
38: How many boyfriends/girlfriends did you have? You mean, like, ever? I don't know
39: How do you look right now? Lazy
40: Who’s the person who first comes to your mind when someone mentions “love”? RJ :D

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Help me raise money for a plane ticket AND to donate to AIM!

As some of you may have seen, I am registered to walk in a 5k being held by Aim at Melanoma. AIM is a cancer research organization committed to increasing support for melanoma research; promoting prevention and education; and providing comprehensive resources for patients, survivors, and caregivers. We aren't required to do any fundraising for the event, but what good is just walking in the 5k going to do? That's where you all come in. Half of my Mary Kay sales will be donated to this wonderful organization. 

My goal is to raise $600 and donate half. If 10 of you, right now, decide to purchase $60 worth of product, I'd be at my goal! That's as easy as purchasing a couple Mother's Day sets, or buying the Timewise Miracle Set. If 20 of you purchase $30 worth of product, I'll be at my goal as well! You can get a couple lip glosses, mascaras, the Satin Hands set (PERFECT for Mother's Day), some foundation/powder, a TON of beautiful eye shadows, lip liners, etc. It's super easy, and it not only benefits you but it benefits a wonderful organization as well. 

And what will the second half of that $600 I am trying to earn go toward? It will help buy a plane ticket for me to fly out with my dad to Pennsylvania to visit his brothers and sisters (my uncles and aunts) since he can't afford to buy my plane ticket himself. Please consider making a purchase and if you do, let me know what it is you'd like! Thank you SO much and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!! My personal site is:

And if you are interested in joining the walk on May 12th in Portland, here is the walk page with all of the information you could possibly want and need!!! Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I don't really have much to say right now, but here are some amazing quotes I want to share with you all! 

We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future.  It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance.  ~Marcel Proust

Love is much like a wild rose, beautiful and calm, but willing to draw blood in its defense.  ~Mark Overby

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.  The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.  ~Henri Nouwen

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tonight has been pretty hard.

I've been letting my mind wander tonight, and generally that can be a good thing, but tonight it most definitely is NOT a good thing. There's so much my father is going to miss out on. I'm 25 but I still need him in my life, ya know? Most people don't lose their parents until they are 40+. I still need my dad for advice, love, help with my math, funny stories, and on occasion money, as dumb as that sounds.

Here is a list of the things I am most sad my father will miss out on after he passes:
1. RJ propsing to me. I mean, obviously I can't predict when RJ will do this, but I have a pretty good feeling it's not going to be anytime soon since we are still strapped for cash and everything. I want to be able to call my dad up and tell him the whole story, and I want RJ to be able to meet with him beforehand and ask his permission to marry me. I'm traditional like that. It would feel weird if my dad never had a chance to shake RJ's hand and welcome him to the family.

2. My wedding. I need my dad there to walk me down the aisle, to give me away, to dance with me at the reception and to make a toast. It's going to be so hard not having him there in person. Obviously he will be there in spirit, but it isn't the same thing as having him there in person.

3. The day I find out I'm pregnant, and the day I give birth. I want him to meet his grand babies and buy them Christmas gifts and spoil them rotten. My kids will know all about Grandpa Scott, but it breaks my heart knowing they'll never get to hold his hand, go to the beach with him, or go Walking In The Woods...a Stewart tradition.

I know he will be there for me in spirit and in my heart, always, and through everything both good and bad. It's just not as good as the real thing, ya know? Anyways, I'll stop being mopey tonight haha. Have a good night, everybody! I just needed to get emotional for a moment!
This is quite possibly one of my all-time favorite movie quotes. It's so inspiring and refreshing, isn't it? I mean, it's so true! You can ALWAYS change your life, regardless of how old you are or where you're at. The beauty in free-will is we get the option to do with our lives whatever we please. We aren't forced to stay on a one-way road for all of eternity. We, as humans, have millions of options laid out before us. Some of us simply choose an easy path; college, career, marriage, kids, retirement. But what if that isn't enough? Who says we have to go to college, have the traditional 9-5 career, and work until age 65? I want to travel with RJ, get married, have a beautiful family, work as a massage therapist, and travel the world some more. Never let anybody tell you what to do with your life, or how to do it. You are the only thing that matters in your life. Why let other people dictate your future? 

My father went to college and got a Master's degree in teaching mathematics. He taught math for a couple years but it didn't fulfill him. So what did he do? He moved to Oregon from Pennsylvania-not knowing anybody out here-got a job as a cook, and never turned back. He's worked as a cook/chef for just over 30 years! My dad is a literal genius, and he did what was expected of him, but it didn't satisfy him. He told society to figuratively fuck off and moved away from everything to start fresh. He told me once that one of the reasons he moved out here is because he hated being confined to a big city like Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. He wanted to be able to look out into the horizon and see trees and hills and mountains-not tall buildings and skyscrapers. 

He chose to satisfy his own soul. I can guarantee you, now that he's reaching the end of his life, he has no regrets. My dad changed what he was unhappy about, and chose a simpler life. Sure there were challenges, but there was also love and happiness. It has been a very long time since I've heard of anybody changing their lives the way he did to satisfy his own needs and wants. My challenge to you all is this: find what makes you happy and pursue it. Forget what your family, friends, or society says. What makes you satisfied? What fulfills your soul? If I can leave you with one thing, that's it. Pursue your happiness. Use my father's life as an example of such. He is dying at age 57, but I can promise you when he looks back on his life, he will not be disappointed or ashamed. That's what I wish for all of you.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Random Survey Just Because I'm Bored.

1. Name, please:
Melissa S.

2. Approximate Age?
I am exactly 25 years old.

3. Are you happy in your life?
I am happy with most of my life! I think there are things I'd, my dad's health, my own health.

4. Do you feel like anything is missing? If so, what do you want?
Haha I think my bank account is missing some digits ;) I just want more time with my father. I want him to be healthy and to live a very long, full life. My dad is almost 58...that's very young. I want him to die of old age when he's 80 or 90, not from melanoma when he's not even 58 yet. It just isn't fair.

5. Do you plan on being a musician/artist/writer?
Nope! I mean, I do write, but it's nothing I want to do professionally. I do it privately and personally. Nobody would read any books I'd come up with lol.

6. Do you think you are artistic?
I think everybody is artistic in their own ways! I write, and sometimes draw, but not very well. My artistic abilities lie deep in my imagination where nobody else can see.

7. Have you ever tried hard drugs?

8. If so, have they changed your life?

9. What age would you like to die?
I have no idea. When I'm old and sleeping.

10. Would you let your kids smoke weed?
I wouldn't "let" them meaning give them the weed, and I wouldn't want them to be stoners or think it's okay to do recreationally, but I certainly won't get angry if they do it a few times here and there.

11. Are you an angry person?
I can be!

12. Do you laugh a lot, but don’t really mean it?
No, I always mean it when I laugh!

13. Do you like to think you are popular?
Um...yes and no. I don't have a lot of friends but a lot of people know me!

14. Describe your most terrifying dream.
I'd rather not.

15. What band would you die to see live?
The Ataris again...Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac

16. How would you like to die?
Old and in my sleep, thanks.

17. What’s your opinion on self-mutilation?
I think it's an unhealthy way for people to deal with pain or depression.

18. Do you believe in capitalism?
Um....what do you mean by 'believe'?

19. Communism?
I believe it that what you mean?

20. Libertarianism?
These are dumb.

21. Would you rather be an anarchist or a socialite?
Socialite for sure! I can still be myself and be a socialite!

22. Freedom of speech or controlled society?
Freedom of speech, of course!

23. Obama or Bush?
Obama, duh!

24. Would you consider yourself intelligent?
In some ways, yes.

25. When was the last time you cried?
Today. Everyday.

26. When was the last time you laughed?
Earlier today.

27. Who is your last text from?

28. What did it say?
Just that she is going to a Timbers game tonight!

29. Ever had your ass kicked?

30. What’s your middle name?

31. Single or taken?
Taken, and very happy :)

32. If taken, do you love this person?
Yes! We are very much in love!

33. If single, what are you looking for in someone?

34. Sex or love?

35. Who is your best friend?
Danielle and RJ :)

36. Why is this person your best friend?
Danielle has been there for me through thick and thin. She always has the most amazing advice and has such a huge heart. RJ I've known for 8 years and have loved him for just as long. He's just the greatest man I know.

37. Are you moody?

38. Are you depressed?
Not really depressed in a clinical way.

39. What do you think of abortion?
I believe it is a woman's right to choose.

40. Are you in a good mood today?
I'm not in a necessarily bad mood....

41. If not, why are you not?
Lots of reasons.

42. Are you afraid of the swine flu?

43. Are you afraid to be yourself?

44. What would you label yourself?
Totally awesome.

45. Do you live with your parents?
I do, but it's not too bad.

46. How many siblings do you have?
2 sisters and 1 step brother

47. Do you wear skinny jeans?
Yes, sometimes

48. Are you emo?

49. Are you aware that all emo kids look exactly the same?

50.Are you a hater?
I can be haha

51. Are you anti-racist?
I am against racism, yes.

52. Explain your personality in 3 words.
Deep, funny, lovely

53. What do you wish your name was?
I like my name

54. How old do you want to be when you get married?
Heh...well...hopefully by the time I'm 30!

55. What do you want to name your kids?
Delilah for a girl and probably something with the middle name 'Scott' or 'William' after my dad.

56. What kind of hairstyle do you want?
I can have any hairstyle I want...I wear wigs lol

57. When was the last time you brushed your teeth?

58. What are you wearing right now?
Yoga pants and a t-shirt

59. Say something random.
Parking Wars is a great show.

60. What do you wear to bed?

61. What color is your underwear?

62. Am I getting too personal?

63. What’s your view on nihilism?
Life always has meaning!

64. Pacifism?
I believe in peace, always.

65. Do you think the drug culture is misunderstood?

66. Are you a fan of Hunter S Thompson?
He's alright.

67. Do you read literature?

68. Do you love horror movies?
Horror is my favorite genre!

69. What’s your favourite one?
Hmm...I have so many!

70. Do you like comedies?

71. Are you a smoker?
On occasion

72. Do you smoke cigars/cigarillos?

73. Do you have anger problems?

74. Do you know someone who has a mental illness?
Yes, several.

75. Have you had someone close to you die of cancer?
Yes, too many unfortunately. My father is currently dying from melanoma.

76. What do you want to be next Halloween?
I want RJ and I to do our Friday the 13th idea! He'll go as Jason and I'll go as a slutty camp counselor lol

77. What grade are you in?
I'm not

78. When do you graduate?
2005 lol

79. Do you talk to yourself?
All the time!

80. What color are your toenails?

81. Has anyone ever told you you have a nice smile?

82. Nice eyes?

83. Ever broken a bone?
Not yet!

84. Got a black eye?

85. Nose bleed?

86. Ever been so mad you cried?
Many many times

87. What’s your favourite quote?
"Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same"-Emily Bronte.

88. Are you listening to anything right now?
Just the tv

89. What are you addicted to?
Texting, facebook, soda.

90. Do you like silver hair?

91. Would you ever fight a famous boxer?

92. Could you take on kimbo slice?

93.Can you even fist fight?
Not really

94. Do you work out?
I do yoga and pilates

95. Are you in good physical condition?
Um....yes and no

96. Do you get creeped out by puppets?

97. If you could be any celebrity by one day, who would you be?
Britney Spears or Demi Lovato

98. Do you have any phobias?
Spiders, the dark, ivy, pencils.

99. Ever been mauled by a wild animal?
Yes, a kangaroo. Seriously

100. Do you think you could be a Suicide Girl?

101. What about a playboy bunni?

102. Are you an insomniac?
I can be

103. Do you take birth control?
Yes, implanon-the best birth control in the entire world!

104. Are these questions pointless?
Some of them, but I'm bored so it's all good.

105. Favourite color?
Purple, green, yellow

Honorary first post!

I have  a lot of shit going on in my life, and if I can save another family or friend the pain that mine is going through, then I will be happy. I just need to tell you all what's been going on, and implore you to be safe in the sun, and your family as well. I know, it's probably none of my business to tell you all what to do, but right now I am making sure everybody in my life knows the risk factors and the facts of Melanoma. 

On Feb 26th I was going to my dad's work (he's a caterer) to get ready to clock in. When I pulled in there was an ambulance and fire truck. I instantly knew it had to do with my dad. I ran in and sure enough 6 or 7 EMTs were strapping him down to a gurney and he was screaming and it was awful. He was cooking and then he just collapsed. He was taken to Albany General Hospital and they did a CT scan to see what it showed. The dr saw 3 brain tumors. They then rushed him to OHSU. 

They did a CT scan and MRI to see what else was there. The 3 tumors on his brain were bleeding tumors and that's why he passed out. So he got the first brain surgery on Feb 28th and they removed the largest tumor to do a biopsy on it so we knew what kind of cancer we were dealing with. A week later the biopsy results came back and he has Stage 4  Metastatic Melanoma. Melanoma runs in my family on his side. So they set him up with a 2nd brain surgery to remove the last 2 tumors. All the surgeries were successful. The doctor's and oncologists searched his whole body for the primary source of the melanoma, but no moles were found. It turns out Melanoma can occur in the eyes (his eyes were negative for any cancer), anus, penis, intestines, stomach, throat, mouth, nose, mucus membranes, and vagina. It isn't solely a skin cancer, but it's often misrepresented as just a skin cancer.

He got a PET scan done while he was at OHSU, which just searches for melanoma 'hot spots' where other tumors may be. We found a very large tumor on his right calf that has fused into the bone, it is inoperable and he may have to have the leg amputated if they decide chemo and radiation won't work on it. He got his first and only dose of radiation done on his brain, and because the cavities where the tumors were are so small, he won't need any more brain radiation. 

The doctor's say he has months left, maybe 6 at the most. It's all happened so fast I can't really comprehend it. I mean, just spending time with him you can't even tell he's sick, really. I am just a mess. None of my friends know what to say or do to make it better or to help, and I have nobody in my life who has lost a parent at such a young age. I've just been a wreck. I'm helping him write out advanced directives and getting a living will notorized. It just seems like so much. I turned 25 and a week later I find out my dad is dying. I just don't know what to do.

I'm not trying to be a downer, but I want you all to be careful when you are out in the sun this spring and summer. I am beginning this year to organize a 5k in Salem for the Melanoma Research Foundation for 2013. There's so much to organize so I have to start now in order to have it all finished by summer next year. It will be in honor of my father. 

Please read these links and pass them around...I mean, you don't HAVE to, but I don't want your family and loved ones to go through what mine is right now. I'm 25...I still need my dad. He's always been diligent about sunscreen and hats and what-not, and now he's dying. If I can spread the message and keep one person from dying, then I will be happy and his death will not be in vain.