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.