This morning as I was being lazy in bed, chit chatting with Mr. Spots about our NYE plans, and browsing Facebook, I saw my friend Al had posted that yet another one of our melanoma friends had recently passed away. When I saw it was Randi, the tears immediately began to flow. How could it be Randi? I just talked to her a few weeks ago. She sounded good, strong, sending me more advice about how to deal with this disease and what questions to ask my doctor....
Randi was a beautiful wife, a loving mother, and a dedicated fighter. I only knew her from the blogging and Facebook world but boy, she loved the men in her life. She fought because of them. She would tell you so.
Randi's story is a bit different than others that I have shared with you. Randi was diagnosed with stage III melanoma in 2005. She had all of her lymph nodes removed in one particular area, and then went on to living five years with No Evidence of Disease. Unfortunately, melanoma showed his ugly face in April 2011 by reappearing in her brain and then spreading to other parts of her body.
Yes, you read that correctly. For five years, Randi was healthy. She passed away on December 29, 2011.
When people question why I must go for scans every 3 months and why I am participating in a clinical trial even though I am "fine" now, this is why. There is no cure for melanoma. For many, I don't want to say most because that is far too negative and depressing, melanoma hides for a period of time and then reappears when you least expect it. It does not simply go away. I live in 3 month spans. If my scans are clear this next time, I will go another 3 months. If not, we will fight.
As you head out to celebrate the end of 2011 (good riddance) and the beginning of 2012, consider adding "Protect My Skin" to your resolution list. You may think you look prettier with a tan, but I am sure you would agree that you look prettier alive than dead. You may think that mole is nothing to worry about but it may be the same type of mole that began my stay in Hotel Melanoma. Consider it.
And please, as you celebrate, send a prayer to Randi's family. They have lost a beautiful wife, a loving mother, and their toughest fighter...
Rest now, Mrs. Randi. We will never be able to dance on the tables in Vegas now, sweet friend, but I promise to continue to educate, educate, educate. I know that is what you would want.