My Personal Cancer Journey — A Dose of Reality

My melanoma is gone! At least I hope so. I had ambulatory surgery on Thursday to remove the lesion on my left upper arm. Hopefully, this “additional” cancer is now a dead issue. The surgery went well, although it took a lot longer than I was told it would. I ended up with twelve (12) stitches on the outside (I don’t know how many on the inside). We will be following up to be sure that all of the area was excised.

On the same day, we also had a routine appointment with the oncologist. Even though he said that my progress was “very encouraging,” we also received a dose of reality. He reminded us that the Tarceva pill will only work for so long (recent studies indicate perhaps as long as 18 months), after which time we will have to resort to regular chemotherapy (unless some other magic pill is approved for use). I did understand this, although I’ve found that it’s easy to get lulled into thinking that everything is fine, when things are going very well. Lee was actually shaken by the news; I don’t think she remembered hearing that particular detail.

At any rate, she and I are busy planning several trips. Hopefully they will pan out. We will be going to Florida around April 1st, spending about a week or so between the West Coast and the East Coast, and then taking our time coming. Our return trip will take to Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee and then to Virginia (Charlottesville & Richmond), then to Delaware/New Jersey (in particular New Castle & Cape May).

Then in June, we are considering an 11-day Scandinavian cruise, round trip from Copenhagen with several additional days in Copenhagen. It’s a cruise that I have always wanted to experience. Nothing like a dose of reality to spur a person into action.

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