Monday, February 4, 2013

I Stand For Julie

I am completely out of ink & my printer has not even been plugged in since we've moved so I am missing the opportunity to hold up my Stand Up To Cancer sign! Please know that I stand for anyone who has ever been touched by the big C in one way or another. I stand for my Grand Daddy who died from lung cancer. I stand for the precious children who are learning new types of chemo instead of new playground games. I stand for the beautiful girl who dances around the oncology suite singing Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger."  I stand for my male melanoma warriors who wear tutus to 5K's.
I stand for us all.

Tonight I wish to honor a special friend. Tonight, and every other night, I stand for Julie.

 Summer 2011

Julie and I met in the Spring of 2011 when our mutual surgeon--our beautiful Dr. Charlotte Ariyan emailed me and asked if I would mind if she gave one of her other patients my email and blog address. Julie had recently been diagnosed with stage III malignant melanoma and was terrified. Knowing that Julie and I are close in age, both struggling to emotionally handle our new cancer diagnosis,  Dr. Ariyan felt like we could be great resources to one another. She was right.

Julie and I have been enrolled in the same clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for the last year and a half. We compare experiences, we joke about the vampires who steal our blood, we cheer one another on.

Just 2 weeks ago I was cheering on Julie from Virginia as she married her best friend.

 (Both photos legally stolen from Julie's Facebook.
Thanks, Julie!)


On Wednesday while I was washing dishes I received the text I never wanted: "Chels, not good news at all. I have spots in my liver, spleen, and lymph node in lungs."

Shit.

My melanoma twin, my melanoma friend, the girl who just got back from her honeymoon has advanced to stage IV melanoma.

 How could it be, we wondered? She just had scans 2 and a half months ago where she showed no evidence of  disease. Now, not even 3 months later, melanoma has spread to her internal organs.

They tell us that it can happen. They warn us that it is likely to happen. Melanoma is a silent beast, they claim. Yet, even when we're prepared, we don't expect it. Then it happens. 

Tonight--on World Cancer Day--I felt it is important for you to hear Julie's story. A young girl, a former tanner, a brand new bride is beginning the battle of her life against Melanoma. Yes,Melanoma...that thing that people still believe is just skin cancer.



 I stand for you, Julie. It's time to fight, girlfriend, and we're all holding your hand.




*I received Julie's permission to share her news days prior to writing this post.




8 comments:

Respect the Rays said...

Thank you for sharing this story! I'm so f*ucking MAD at melanoma. This is a terrifying disease :(

Jonathan said...

Thanks for sharing this Chelsea!

Anonymous said...

Praying hard for Julie and all the Melanoma Warriors!

Denise Wolder said...

Standing up for Julie in New York!!

Strong Steph said...

A frightening and important reminder to stay ever vigilant against melanoma!!

Strong Steph said...

A reminder to stay ever vigilant against melanoma, it is a scary foe....bless Julie and let her know there are many of us praying for her!

Steve said...

What a strong story. Im waiting right now to find out if its moved to my lymp. Stay positive im praying for you

Terry Arcuri said...

I've been praying hard for Julie and now I will pray hard for you too. Thanks for sharing your story and making everyone alert to this horrible disease.