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Tiki Central Forums Beyond Tiki Melanoma Awareness Month
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Melanoma Awareness Month
MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7073
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2009-05-15 12:40 pm   Permalink

So it turns out that "healthy tan" is an oxymoron. May is Melanoma Awareness Month and someone close to me is battling melanoma. It started as a mole, spread to the lymph nodes and then to the brain. Treatment has been rough - surgery, gamma knife radiation, 30 rounds of IV chemotherapy and bottles of chemo pills, but God is good and we are hopeful.

Fortunately for you, prevention is much easier than treatment. Use sunscreen and make sure your kids use it too. They say that the few blistering sunburns you get as a kid are as likely to cause melanoma as moderate long-term exposure. Get checked by a dermatologist frequently, especially if you have moles. If you do find skin melanoma, treat it aggressively from the start! OK, I'll get off my soapbox now


[ This Message was edited by: MadDogMike 2010-05-01 07:15 ]


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7073
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2010-05-01 07:02 am   Permalink

It's Melanoma Awareness Month again so let me tell you about the whole sordid affair;
In January of 2006, my wife noticed a mole on her abdomen was looking ugly. It biopsied and the results came back as cutaneous melanoma. A month later, it was removed using the Mohs procedure. We were told it was gone, no further treatment needed.
Almost 2 years later in December 2007, Leslie found a lump in her armpit. Turned out the melanoma had returned and had spread to her lymph nodes. Our Oncologist told us that the FDA approved treatment for metastatic melanoma has a 30% five-year survival rate, but there was a clinical trial that was having a 60% success rate - not great but still much better. So she had surgery to remove the lymph nodes and months of grueling experimental chemotherapy ending in May 2008, it looked like the cancer might be gone.
Leslie recuperated, gaining strength and regrowing her hair. Then in December 2008, a routine scan showed 11 tumors in her brain - one tumor was the size of a tangerine. She underwent Gamma Knife radiation and 8 months of weekly chemotherapy, ending in August 2009.
Since then, scans have come back clear and Leslie is participating in an experimental melanoma vaccine study that is showing some promise. I think equally important in Leslie's recovery has been great support from our family and friends as well as our faith in God.
The point of my story is not for your sympathy or pity. My point is that it is SO MUCH EASIER to prevent melanoma than it is to treat it. Melanoma is caused almost exclusively by excessive sun exposure, please protect yourself by using sunscreen and protective clothing. There is some evidence that the times we fried ourselves as kids may cause more damage than the daily cumulative effect - BE SURE TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN. Melanoma is an aggressive cancer - if you do end up with a melanoma skin cancer, seek out a melanoma specialist (not just a dermatologist) and treat it aggressively.

[ This Message was edited by: MadDogMike 2010-05-01 07:17 ]


 
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bamalamalu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 20, 2006
Posts: 500
Posted: 2010-05-07 10:43 am   Permalink

Wow. Good luck with everything in the future, I hope the clear scans keep coming.

A very good reminder to be extra careful all the time.


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7073
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2011-05-01 2:00 pm   Permalink

It's Melanoma Awareness Month, time for an update and a little preaching. Leslie had Gamma Knife radiation in January for 3 tiny tumors in her brain and this week it is Cyber Knife radiation for 2 tumors in her chest. She is strong and feeling well, we still hope to beat this cancer.

Again, melanoma is so much easier to prevent than it is to treat - please! PLEASE! PLEASE! take precautions to prevent excessive sun exposure with suncreen, hats, and protective clothing. Get a dermatologist check-up every year and report any unusual spots. Most of all, teach your children that the sun is not your friend!

Thanks
Mike


 
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EdsGoneTiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 03, 2006
Posts: 53
From: Tucson, Arizona
Posted: 2011-05-02 12:16 am   Permalink

Thanks for the update, reminder, and very good advice! Its appreciated.

I know better and I know the dangers, yet I still got a sunburn this weekend while working in the yard.
The southern Arizona sun is quite intense! I'll be covering up from now on, though!

Continued wishes for a speedy and total recovery for your wife. She'll be in my prayers tonight.


 
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gabbahey
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 10, 2011
Posts: 230
From: Denver, CO
Posted: 2011-05-02 10:02 am   Permalink

Thanks Maddog.

gabbahey


 
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bamalamalu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 20, 2006
Posts: 500
Posted: 2011-05-03 8:48 pm   Permalink

Still wishing the best for you; I hope the current surgery goes well.

Just replenished my sunscreen stash the other day, but can always use the reminder to faithfully use it.


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7073
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2011-05-04 5:03 pm   Permalink

Purely as a public service, I proposed setting up a Sunscreen Application Station at the beach during the month of May but my beautiful wife vetoed the idea
_________________
When you hurry through life, you just get to the end faster.
Pirate Ship Tree House

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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7073
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2011-08-21 9:27 pm   Permalink

After 3 1/2 good and happy years since her metastatic melanoma diagnosis, Leslie has finally ended her fight and gone to be with her Lord.

The purpose of this thread has always been about educating people of the dangers of melanoma, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE TO POST CONDOLENCES. If you want to know a little more about Leslie and the kind of woman she was, you can explore the Blog of her journey that has had a quarter of a million hits in the last 3 1/2 years.
http://apps.mgilbert.net/Blog/

_________________
When you hurry through life, you just get to the end faster.
Pirate Ship Tree House


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Chuck Tatum is Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2011
Posts: 1674
From: Southern Cailifornia
Posted: 2011-08-21 9:37 pm   Permalink

I am so sorry to hear this news Mike, Leslie was a real sweatheart & was glad to have met her
I hope you and the kids the best & I am thinking of you!


 
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pwest71
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 04, 2007
Posts: 80
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Posted: 2011-08-22 04:28 am   Permalink

So sorry to hear this Mike. My sister is going in for surgery for breast cancer tomorrow, she's gone religiously for mammograms every year since I can remember, and was clean and clear last year, this year they found a "tiny" spot in one, went back to do more testing and found it in both...All the technology and we still haven't beaten this stupid stuff.

Thoughts and prayers with you and your family.

Paul


 
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VampiressRN
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 5506
From: Sin City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2011-08-22 06:10 am   Permalink

Melanoma is indeed an ugly evil. My Mom has fought skin cancer for years and just had surgery for removal of a melanoma. Bless your wife for fighting the monster. I wish you peace in your time of need.

Since the goal is to educate, here is another link with general information.
http://www.skincancer.org/Melanoma/

The sun is not your friend...protect yourself, and like Mike said, get any suspicious skin issue examined. Prevention is key and early detection is critical.

[ This Message was edited by: VampiressRN 2011-08-22 06:17 ]


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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7073
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2012-05-01 11:28 am   Permalink

It's May again, Melanoma Awareness month. As many of you know, my beautiful wife lost her battle to Melanoma last August so this issue is close to my heart.


Preventing Melanoma has a 100% success rate - avoid excessive sun exposure with shade, clothing (long sleeves and hats), and sunscreen. Teach your children to do the same.

Treating Melanoma as a skin cancer has a 95% success rate - educate yourself and watch for any suspicious skin lesions, especially moles or large freckles. Get regular (annual) checks by your dermatologist, especially for those with fair skin or family history of Melanoma.

Treating Melanoma as a metastatic disease has a 30% success rate - great strides are being made in the treatment of Melanoma. But until that "silver bullet" is found, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation just seem to slow the disease down in most cases.

100% vs 95% vs 30% ~ it's your choice!

Mike


 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 5464
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2012-05-01 11:44 am   Permalink

Still have you and your family in our thoughts Mike! Great picture of Leslie.
Keep up the good fight.


 
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scispy
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 28, 2005
Posts: 33
From: LA/Texas
Posted: 2012-05-08 2:50 pm   Permalink

Your wife is beautiful.... Sorry for your loss

My mom passed away almost 2 years ago from metastatic melanoma.


Yes I agree with MAdog....... slather on the sun protection, even on your scalp
don't let this ugly stuff ruin your life.


 
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