While the appearance of another metastasis always comes as a shock it doesn’t come as a surprise—to either one of us, it seems. We’ve been married for almost 27 years and can read each other pretty well. Ellen claims to know without being told when I’ve discovered a new met. She says my countenance changes. It amazes and humbles me to think she picks up on this stuff. My poker face is apparently no match for her intuition.
I will add that there are others in my life, most notably my son and daughter, who have also extended their love and concern when I’ve needed it most. Anyone who has been seriously ill knows how crucial it is to have a strong support network, even when the illness is a slow-motion train wreck like indolent melanoma. Ellen is merely the first among many to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. At this time of repose, let me just say to you all that I love you and appreciate your kindness more than you know. Thanks for being with me in both sickness and in health. I hope I can be as generous of spirit should you need my support some day.
As for that met—it’s actually two. They’re small and located side-by-side near my navel, which is a first. Every other subcutaneous nodule I’ve found has either been on an extremity or my neck. I’m not especially worried, as I’ve kept a close watch on them and they seem to be very slow-growing. They’re also a little unusual in that they’re only lightly pigmented. Every other sub-q met I’ve had has been blackish. This pair is palpable, but they’re not visible to the eye.Of course, if I’ve learned anything about melanoma it’s that there is no such thing as a typical presentation. Every person I’ve known with mel has a story to tell about some oddball aspect of the disease. This is all endlessly fascinating to me, but I will understand if you don’t share my morbid interest in melanoma. Tracking all aspects of this disease is a hobby of mine. There is no end to its extraordinary complexity.
I intend to see my oncologist soon to ask his opinion, and will likely have the mets removed sometime this summer; you know the drill if you’ve followed The Ogler for a while. Occasional outpatient surgery is a simpler, easier form of treatment than what many patients endure. I also want to catch up with Dr. Curti on the latest in systemic therapies for advanced melanoma. He’s an investigator for a couple of new immunotherapy agents in clinical trials at Providence Cancer Center, so he’s sure to have opinions on where things are headed.
It takes more than the love of a good woman and the care of a good doctor to survive melanoma, but they make for a very good start. I’m blessed to have both.