Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mom says, "Why don't you write a blog?"

Here's what I have learned so far about Melanoma...

It sucks.

I am writing this blog because I really don't know what else to do. When I'm nervous, I write. It might be misspelled. It might be full of errors. It might never be shown to anyone. Or it might be just the thing someone needs to read to make them take a second look at their skin.

Or might allow me to vent and update my family and friends. 

 Here's how it all started: I'm doing my least favorite chore...washing dishes. I have an itch, scratch my back, and notice a rough spot that I have never felt. I stroll over to B, who used to my whining, hardly glances at the spot until I insist. He looks, pulls me down for a closer inspection, and suggests maybe I should have a dermatologist check it out...just to be safe. Three days later I schedule an appointment with a well-known dermatologist. The day before my appointment, the spot has healed. I figure, eh, I must have scratched my back. I will just cancel the appointment and head home for the Christmas holiday a few hours earlier. Beat the traffic. But, good ol' B insists I go to the appointment. What can it hurt? I'm a beach loving girl who happens to be covered in moles. Might be a good idea.

We will call the dermatologist Dr. Cool Guy for lack of a better name. Dr. Cool Guy is in his early 50's. Fun personality. Down to earth. Cool. He checks me out, says he does not believe it is anything serious but let's remove the mole anyway. He lectures me on sunscreen, on melanoma, etc. He does his dermatologists duties. I leave, head back into the office a week later to have the mole removed, head home. No worries.

Then what? I go in for my appointment to have the sutures removed. I'm joking with B, laughing with the nurse, planning my evening. The doctor walks in.  I hear, "What's up? Blah, blah, blah...Malignant Melanoma. No, I wish I was joking."

No? You wish you were joking? Wait. This is serious. Ask doctor to repeat. He does. It is real. It sounds as bad as it did the first time he told me. This time Dr. Cool Guy adds that he is going to have me meet with a general surgeon and an oncologist.

Fast forward 2 weeks. I am on the table, about to go in for surgery. Dr. Pink, my surgeon, confirms he is going to cut me in 4 separate spots to remove lymph nodes, and he will remove a large area of skin from my back. 3 hours later, I'm waking up...pain. pain. pain. But hey, the surgeon keeps making comments on how alert I am. Guess I am a good patient. 

7 days of hell pass...the pain. the waiting. the pain. the waiting. 

Then my phone rings. It's the oncologists office...Dr. Bad Mustache wants to see me tomorrow. "Can I come in today instead?" So, I round up the we go. I have to admit, I almost felt bad for Dr. Bad Mustache; we're an intimidating bunch. He does not waste much time...gets right to the point: there was cancer found in the lymph nodes. 



I would be lying if I said I didn't have an idea that this was what Dr. Bad Mustache was going to tell me. But I would also be lying if I said I didn't think there was a chance he would say, "It's OK, Miss Chelsea. We are going to check you every few months, but right now, no further treatment is necessary."

So what's next? That's every one's question...Mine included. Here's what I do know: I go for a PET CT on Friday. This will show if there is any more cancer in my body. I go for an MRI of my brain Monday to see what's going on up in this big head of mine. And then we will decide on treatment plans. 

I don't know why I'm writing this...I don't even know if I want everyone reading it. But it's midnight...and I have too many thoughts running in my head right now.

Here's what I know tonight:

I'm young.
I'm healthy.
I'm scared.
I have a support team like none other.
I'm realistic.
And I am going to fight like hell.

That's what I know.


Avery O'Hurley said...

I believe that you are a brave young lady for dealing with this.
And I believe that you will fight like hell. I was just wondering to myself if I should let you read my blog from pregnancy. I've been through hell and back girl (although not like your situation, mine was different) and I know if I can keep on fighting so can you.

I know what it's like to not to know if you want family or friends reading your blogs, as I am fiercely private about mine... but I also know that it is extremely cathartic. Don't worry about spelling, or punctuation or grammar or anything.

Just write... write until you don't think you can write anymore. You can make some of your blogs private if you need to... just scream on screen is what I call it...

I am rooting for you, and I'm in your corner. I'm sorry that this is happening, but it's life, and you've got to deal with it. And you are young and strong and a fighter... and you have friends and family that will suppourt you and someone you love to be with you. Things happen to us that we never would have expected... the thing is not to let it define us but to define it instead.

Anyway, I'm done rambling... I just really wish I could give you a hug. I really do...

Shelly said...

I am at work reading this with major tears running down my are so brave in your attitude and your ability to share this blog. Thank you. I am so far away and removed from everyone somewhat and I really appreciate this blog as a way of keeping me in the loop. I have faith that though your journey ahead will be difficult, you will overcome. I love you. I am so sorry this has happened to you...what can I do?

Chelsea said...

You are here supporting me. That is all I need right now. I love you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Chelsea - just started following your blog after your sister sent me the link. I am praying so very hard for you! With an attitude like that, there's no way in the world you can't beat this! Keep your head up! You can do it!

Chelsea said...

Thanks, Kaci. :-) that's what I am hoping for!!!

Al said...

I thought I'd comment on your first posting...but I've been reading them all. What you're sharing is invaluable...informative...and amazing. My thoughts and prayers go towards your do those of many.

Al aka "Black is the New Pink"

Anonymous said...

Dear Chelsea thank you for your blog - my daughter has melanoma and we are all fighting the same battle - we are doing the gerson diet not sure if you have heard of it - its from dr Gerson it has been around for a long time this diet if you want to goggle it - it is very good with melanoma very healthy so your immune system fights the melanoma cells - if you have any questions about it we are here - sending you much love dear soul and i love your attitude -bhuggy

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about your diagnosis.....but glad that you are posting this blog....Melanoma is a very serious disease.....Fight it with all you got heart goes out to you and I pray that everything goes well with you....I lost my son last year to this.....don't mean to scare you or anything like that....but just want you to know that I can relate to what you are going through...stay strong and positive....May God Bless you....I agree with Al up there on Black is the new pink....just wish that more people were aware of this disease.