Thursday, October 29, 2009

Twenty four years ago Dad had cancer!

Melanoma 101: Symptoms, Signs, Diagnosis, Treatment, Types and Prevention on

Twenty-four years ago this week I went with my dad to the hospital to view the results of his liver scan. Anxiety, worries, and fears abounded as Faith, my mom, and I stood in front of doctor's viewer as he placed each scanned image, slice by slice on the white surface.

Four years earlier my dad had a mole removed from the back of his scalp. The doctor sliced it off and told mom that is was a carcinoma, malignant melanoma. And with that news, he sent dad home, and we, not knowing any better, resumed living with little or no worry. Our doctor did not seem worried and neither were we.

Fast forward to that day twenty-four years ago. We had just moved to Louisville, Kentucky, purchase our starter home, was in the process of adopting our first son, when mom said that dad was not feeling well. At age 63, he was planning to retire and he and mom were to spend the next few years camping. "The truck" had been purchased and a Coleman 'pop-up' camper was bought...they were planning to go in style. Mom, 10 years dad's junior, was going to work for a few more years and then they were going to enjoy 'retirement.'

We did not know that cancer was circulating through my dad's body and the untreated melanoma of four years earlier had come back. I will never forget anxiously looking down the scanned images, not really sure of what I was looking for, but saw 'gray', 'gray', 'gray', 'gray'...each of the slides were 'gray.' But on the fourth row, some twenty-eight or thirty images down, there was on that had a black dot, and the next had a larger black dot, and finally there were several with several black dots. We knew, dad had cancer in his liver. The next day we stayed for 'the bone scan.' The doctor came in and said, "His bones look like is all over his bones."

The next seven weeks were filled with pain and pleasure...Nathan Wesley came home, dad slowly died. Christmas morning at 6:40 he died. Less than eight weeks after the 'diagnosis', once again, of malignant melanoma.

You need to know, this cancer can be 'cured' if it is caught and treated agressively and adequately! Lisa M. (a very dear friend) is living proof...some ten years after her 'mole' and surrounding skin was cut away in surgery. If you have a history (family or other wise) of skin 'issues' be sure you get checked yearly...let your doctor's look you over. Had dad's first doctor has treated him properly, he would have lived several more years...what might have been but never was.

Click the link associated with this blog and learn a bit more about the savage cancer that took dad's life...of course, the camper was not used, the truck was not driven, and retirement was not enjoyed and Christmas has never quite been the same.

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