Today marks the first day of the diagnosis of my melanoma cancer in 2008. It also marks the one-year long of three surgeries, six months of bio-chemo therapy and six weeks of radiation that ended today in 2009.
My gynecologist recommended me to have a hysterectomy. It was done on July 31st, 2008.
At 10:00 p.m. on the day of the surgery, my gynecologist came to the hospital room. “The surgery went well,” he said, “and I wanted to share the pathology results with you.” I was apprehensive but nodded and kept smiling. “The pathology results show that you have melanoma. Melanoma is the most aggressive, invasive, and dangerous cancer. I have lined up all the referrals for you to be treated by a specialist outside of our medical group,” he added.
I was speechless, eyes filled with tears. “Call my cell phone if you have any questions. I will start my vacation tomorrow,” he said.
“But, you will be on vacation,” I was searching for words to say.
“That’s what a cell phone is for,” he smiled, “I am glad God put you in my care.” His visit left me with a whole world of unknown.
The next day, I had no pain, so I was discharged from the hospital. When I got home, within a couple hours of research, I familiarized myself with the stages of melanoma, the implications and survivability of different stages. The research put me in stage II, and it was curable.
I started a year long treatment journey down to the deepest valley where I found closest to God in my life.
I had the first surgery in October, 2008 to remove the cancer cells in the intra-vaginal area, the area connecting to the uterus. The surgeon successfully removed all cancer cells except the cancer in one lymph node in the right hip join area. He referred me back to my primary medical group for chemotherapy. During the very first appointment, the oncologist wanted to refer me to a melanoma specialist. By the time I receive the treatment from the melanoma specialist in January, 2009, the cancer had spread to all the lymph nodes on my left hip joint area.
The melanoma specialist had a six months aggressive treatment plan using heavy multiple chemotherapy drugs. It was a one week on, two weeks off plan for four to six cycles. Each cycle required me to stay in the hospital receiving the bio-chemo drugs twenty-four hour a day for five days. I then go home to recuperate for two weeks.
The bio-chemo drugs burned my bad cells as well as good cells. By the end of the five-day treatment, I retained 16 pounds of fluid from the hydration. I looked like a purple plum from the burning of the bio-chemo drugs. When the fluid was excreted from my body, I had only skin and bone left.
During the two weeks break, I ate as much as I could to gain energy, eating steaks and ice cream! I exercised by walking back and forth on the street, talking to God. The physically weakest point during the treatment was when I had an infection with 103 degree of fever for ten days. I was bed ridden and could not fight off the fever. Eventually I had a 650 cc blood transfusion. The next day, I was walking on the street again! I finally concluded the treatment in August, 2009.
There must be a reason in the sudden, irregular growth of the fibroid that brought the doctor’s discovery of the melanoma. The early discovery of the cancer impressed upon me that God was watching over me and gave me a second chance to live. I was not afraid to die, but I want to live to enjoy my husband and my daughter.
I passed through the test of fire. It burned my body but did not burn my faith and trust in God. I am grateful that God shows his mercy and grace to me. “Make me a blessing, God,” I pray.