The Happiest New Year to the Best Photo Forum Anywhere


In memoriam
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Oct 4, 2011
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The Beautiful Hills of East Tennessee
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Those who know me know I am RARELY speechless. But ever since my sister told me about this thread, back when I was still in the hospital, I have been exactly that. I keep coming back and reading and re-reading, and crying at the outpouring of love and support.
To see the well wishes and concern from so many of you--it goes so far beyond just "touching" that I don't even have words for it.

And then there's the photo frame. I know my sister had something to do with that idea, but you all made it happen. You will never know just how much those beautiful photos, and knowing they came from you all have brightened my days!!

So now, as 2015 comes to a close and I find myself still here to greet 2016, it seems like the time to find some words to express how much I appreciate all of you! I've never been so happy to see a new year dawn and I hope to share many more days with all of you in this coming year!

It's been a pretty bizarre couple of months. I thought I'd try to give a brief recap of the journey, as best I can remember. Of course, "brief" for me may mean "go ahead and pour the coffee (or the wine) and get comfortable" for y'all. It's not all good news, except for the fact that so far, I'm still here.

In August, my sister went to the beach in Florida--it was an amazing, relaxing week, enjoying the beach, eating my weight in seafood and just relaxing. With all the medical travails with my mom this year, it was just what we needed to refresh and renew.

September: I started having some pain in my lower abdomen. At one point, the pain was such that I thought I had done something to my sciatic nerve. Then the pain got worse and I decided I had a bad infection. Went to the doctor--just for blood work and urine analysis--and was prescribed an antibiotic. That helped--for about 3 days, then I started hurting again. Finally got an appt. with the doctor. More blood work determined the infection was cleared up. My doctor decided she wanted a CT scan of the area to rule out things like appendicitis.
That's where the fun started.

The scan showed something, a "mass." I ended in the ER--my least favorite place in the world. Eventually they sent me home with instructions to make a followup with an ob/gyn.

October: Appt. with the ob, a Dr Gray. He decides to do a biopsy on the mass. It turns out to be a malignant melanoma.
Fun fact #1: Turns out, pretty much all melanomas are malignant, particulary if they are internal.
Fun fact #2: 97% of all internal melanomas are spread from a primary, external site on the skin. Well, lucky me--such was the not the case. I seem to be one of the 3% who never had an external melanoma yet somehow got this pelvic one anyway.

Discovering the pelvic melanoma was kind of a shock, but to be honest, I wasn't too concerned about it. I figured, you do surgery to remove it, and boom, you're done. Not the worst thing in the world.

Before doing surgery though, the doctors (now plural) want another scan to check and make sure there are no other internal melanomas they need to deal with. So they schedule a--this is where things get fuzzy for me--MRI? CT scan? I don't remember. I do remember we had to reschedule it once because of insurance issues.

The day of the MRI/CT, I ended up going incommunicado. My sister, who was supposed to take me to the hospital, and my son who lives here, were both trying to reach me, as well as my pastor and a friend. I guess they all thought I was ignoring them, but in fact I wasn't even tending to my phone.
Finally, my son came over and found me, still in bed, somewhat dressed but insisting on just needing a "little more sleep."

So, my sister gets me to the hospital and they do the scan. That's when they find a metastatic melanoma in my brain. So at that point, it becomes the priority. That was, I think, Nov. 19 or around then. The doctors ended up doing a 5-hour surgery to remove the brain tumor (a resection).

The hope was that over the next week or two, the area where they had removed the tumor would stop swelling and begin to shrink. Then they'd do 2 or 3 very targeted radiation treatments.
Unfortunately the swelling continued (hence why I kept getting moved from CCU to a reg. room and back to CCU), so that's when they decided on a different radiation treatment.

I had a total of 10 radiation treatments, one every day except weekends.

I now know that the melanoma has also metastized to my liver and spleen, in addition to the one in the brain that was removed and the primary one in the pelvic area.
That is not great news, because from what I understand when it has spread to 3 or more sites, the long-term prognosis is often not too good. However, every day is another step closer to recovery as far as I'm concerned!

What's next? I don't really know. I have an appt. in early January with my "head" oncologist. He'll evidently be laying out the treatment plan, and my guess is that will involve chemotherapy.

Again, thank you all for your warm wishes, prayers, thoughts and other expressions of love. I appreciate every one of them, and every one of YOU.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!
Welcome back. I have confidence that you'll mange to find a way to get through the remaining difficulties. After all, you got through this part so the rest should be easy.
Happy New Year! I did not post on the other thread, but I was praying for you. Speedy recovery.
YAY! Great to see you back :)
And a very Happy New year to you!

Every finger crossed that you battle through this!
I'm so happy to see you posting! I hope you know even though I haven't been terribly active lately, I've been sending lots of healing vibes your way!

I'll keep em coming!

Welcome back; always in our thoughts.
Happy New Year Sharon. Sending you (still) lots of hugs, love and healing vibes. It was soooo good to see you post.
God bless you Sharon wishing you the best new year, Ed

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