On 24 February 2014 I was given another chance at life when almost all our hope had disappeared. Almost a month earlier, we had found out that I was not responding to my initial treatment as a Stage 4 Melanoma patient – Debrafenib and Trametinib. The cancer had spread so far and so quickly that I was given just 3 months to live.
I was given one last glimmer of hope; hope that I would gain access to a clinical trial that was about to close. The clinical trial was for an immunotherapy treatment now known as Keytruda. Read More
Last night I found out some amazing news, my dear friend Kathy was told she is NED (no evidence of disease) – she has had a complete response to Keytruda, the drug that I am on. I am so genuinely happy for Kathy, her husband Ant, and the rest of her family.
Let me tell you a little about Kathy and I. Lets just say we are mutual stalkers with a love for hairy men.
My first encounter with Kathy was at one of my first treatments of Keytruda. I was sitting with Serge having my treatment and I told him to look over to the other side of the room – I pointed out a young woman and a bearded man and said, ‘look Serge, she still has hair and she likes bearded men too!’ Kathy’s husband is pretty much the blonde version of Serge.
That was it. No contact was made – just an observation. Read More
I have decided to share with you what would have been my first ever blog post on Dear Melanoma… but I chickened out! Here it is a year and one day on!
Tomorrow we celebrate Mother’s Day, a day that has always been low-key in my family home, but still a day that never goes without some kind of token to celebrate or treat my mum. I want to write about some of my own feelings that have been with me for some months now. Feelings that I have not openly shared.
I have always thought that I was born to be a mum. When I was at school, especially in high school, I was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up; I never really had an answer. Most of my peers would list endless careers, but I couldn’t. I just knew I wanted to be a mum. My career would simply have to fit around me being a mum. Read More
For those of you that follow the Dear Melanoma Facebook Page, you would know that I do not like using the terms ‘fighter’ and ‘warrior’ when referring to my journey with melanoma and terminal cancer, nor will you ever hear me refer to another person using these terms. This is purely personal, as I know many gain strength from such terms.
A few days ago, I was discussing this with a friend and it prompted me to write a blog about why I do not find strength in these words, but instead frustration. I am not asking people to stop using these terms, but it is important for people following my blog to understand why I may hesitate to be part of awareness activities or conversations that use these labels.
However, most importantly, I want people to leave this blog understanding that everyone’s journey is different. Everyone responds to their diagnosis, or their loved ones diagnosis, in different ways. Everyone has a different way of coping. Read More