Martha and I had the pleasure of participating in a Melanoma Town Hall meeting in Phoenix a couple months ago. Just before the meeting started, Martha sat down with the host, Andrew Schorr, to tell her story and give hopeful advice for other cancer patients out there. I’m terribly biased, of course, but I think she did an amazing job!
Martha Bishop, melanoma survivor and patient advocate, pushed to have a bump removed after her daughter pointed it out. Even after her doctor dismissed it, she persisted. Days later, she received a phone call with a diagnosis of a malignant tumor.
Source: Connecting with a Specialist When You Have Melanoma
Truth be told, we’re all dying.
It just happens to be that my wife has been dying faster than I have for the past several years. In some ways, after speaking with doctors and nurses in those first horribly confusing and frightening weeks, it felt like she suddenly had a “best if used by” sticker on her. And yet, Martha recently hit the five year anniversary of her melanoma diagnosis.
She’s done an excellent job taking a glance back while continuing to move forward. Here’s a tidbit from her post:
It’s been five years, seven surgeries, six biopsies, ten treatment approaches, nine chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs, tumors come and gone through treatment and surgery and two years of dealing with brain tumors and their aftermath. We’ve come a long way, baby! – M
We have come a long way. Long enough to joke that she’s «past her expiration date». Thankfully, with her incredibly fortunate access to a clinical trial (the recently approved Keytruda) a little over a year ago, things are looking really, really promising for her at this point. She’s still got tumor load, but most of it is stable or even shrinking. Most importantly, she hasn’t had any new growth in over a year — and she’s survived longer than she was supposed to.
It’s an interesting stage. There is a lot of talk in the cancer world about survivorship and dealing with life after cancer. It’s a wonderful problem to have. But the flames of cancer have left us dirty and reshaped. Rebuilding is going to be a new kind of work. It’s daunting. We don’t have a blueprint yet. We are interrupted by the work of the embers still smoldering. We are weary. We are hopeful. We have survived. Five years.
I can’t wait to do the next five years with this woman.
May 6th is «Melanoma Monday». It’s part of Skin Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a perfect opportunity to get a free skin check that could very well save your life.
Check yourself; Protect yourself
I wear black for my wife, Martha . She and I urge you to take the risk of melanoma seriously and use this day or this month to take action and get a full body skin check. We pray you don’t find any signs of melanoma but if you do, find it early! In addition, wear sunscreen… and be smart about how you wear it. Martha’s got some tips for you.
Join us in shouting ¡Mela-NO-MAS!
Today is my first day back at work since my wife had her second surgery post discovery of melanoma. Thankfully, reports are showing that the melanoma should be gone, but … it’s been tough today. It was tough leaving her behind at home, alone. It was tough leaving the kids at preschool. And it was tough driving away from all of them and toward ‘work’.