- August 29, 2010 at 5:03 pm
Our journey started back in May of 2006. Kind of sounds oddly much like your situation. Daranda was having her yearly Dermatology exam and he found what he called was a suspicious looking mole. He said the same thing, "didn't expect anything…" 3 days past and we got the call that she needed to come in right away. He cut it out and sent it off then called us and said that the margins were good and that everything should be fine and go on with life as normal.
4 years later, she noticed that she was abnormally sore under her arm on her side. Thinking really nothing of it she went and saw her OB-GYN Dr. which we are friends with. Dr. Henderson sent her to get a cat scan just to rule out anything simply because of her melanoma episode some 4 years ago. Like you, we got a call that the tenderness was nothing, however, "we found a spot on your right lung that looks suspicious." Thank God she sent her for a routine cat scan to rule things out.
June 1st of this year Daranda had a thoracotomy and removed the nodule on her lung. It was indeed tested and confirmed to be Stage IV Metastic Melanoma.
The local Oncologist suggested a year of Interferon treatments(the standard protocol). But once we started contacting Melanoma specialists, we quickly figured out that there was more up-to-date treatments and that there really isn't any data to support that interferon helps with long-term survival.
MD Anderson is known for the being the best Cancer Treatment Hospital in the world . So this is where we came.
Now for the some news you need to understand and maybe think about:
Once we got to MD Anderson we quickly learned that getting the nodule out wasn't the "Cancer Expert" thing to do. Common sense would tell you that " I've got a cancerous tumor in my lung..get it out and all will be fine, right?…WRONG. We learned that because they removed the tumor the Docs down here couldn't figure out if the treatments were actually working against the cancer or not. They would rather leave it in the body and experiment with several different cancer fighting agents to determine which medicine would react with her tumor most effectively. They had no baseline to go off of.
Because of all the factors and that surrounds Daranda(34), age, early detection, etc..the Dr. Bedikian told us that if we did nothing at all there wasis a 20% chance that the cancer will never return to her body. With four cycles of very aggressive Bio-chemo therapy he said it her chances would increase to 60% that she would have long term survival.
Keep in mind I'm not a Health-Care expert by any means but I would highly suggest that you get a PET Scan. This will tell if there is any metabolic activity going on anywhere inside you if you haven't already.
Keep your head up and take your time and weigh your options. Melanoma is a tricky little disease that needs the proper attention and sometimes a "outside-the-box" Doctor that understands that Melanoma is different than other cancers and needs to be treated as such.
Go to her facebook page and add her as a friend as we'll keep up each other. "Daranda Golden"
Have a blessed day,