Home Forums Melanoma Diagnosis: Stages I &II adjuvant therapy

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  • #21285
    cohanja
    Participant

    Nearly every other cancer gives you something after surgery to clean up stray cells – why does melanoma not (even if it would only benefit a small number of stage 1A patients, it would be worth it for those who did benefit)? We’re just supposed to roll the dice and hope we aren’t the ones with cells that broke off and got in the bloodstream or lymph system, and drifted off?

    #60798
    washoegal
    Participant

    Hey I’m stage 3a and in the same position as you! Yes, at least I was given the option of Interferon (for what it was worth) but declined. And are we really that different? I agree; Melanoma is one nasty, tricky cancer. But I have a girl friend with stage 2 Breast Cancer, lost both Breasts, her option was a very nasty Chemo which she in the end declined (benefit was just not there) Then there is pancreatic cancer…. I could go on and on(mostly from personal experience).

    There is no sense dwelling on these things. Our therapy is eating well, keeping a good attitude, taking care in the sun, doing our follow-ups and most of all loving life and loving those around us.

    Make you own Luck,

    Mary

    #60799
    cohanja
    Participant

    Which of these statements is the most accurate?

    1) Once you have melanoma it is always in yoru system, and it’s up to your immune system to keep it in check (some people’s immune systems allow the disease to move forward, while others keep it in check)

    2) Most early lesions are cured with surgery, the surgery has removed all cancer cells and the person is cancer-free

    Which of these is actually more true? If #1, then I don’t understand why we’re not offered additional therapy after surgery.

    #60800
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    I think you have this discussion going over on MPIP. Nothing in medicine is perfect or exact. But dwelling on “what ifs” and worrying constantly does wear down your immune system, making you vulnerable to disease. I think you need to move on Cohanja and try to enjoy the moments in your life.

    #60801
    cohanja
    Participant

    I appreciate that type of advice, I really do. But, when other people post things such as their Dr telling them once you have melanoma you always have the cells in your system (such as was posted), I want to get to the bottom of what is really scientifically & medically accurate – is such a statement as that really true? If not, why is someone’s Dr telling them that? If so, then I had never heard that before, but it’s good to know I guess.

    #60802
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    No one knows the answer. I have seen where doctors say all of us have cancer cells (all types) floating in our systems just waiting for our immune systems to let us down and take hold. Not just melanoma cells mind you. Also, keep in mind as you age, your immune system becomes tired. And stress (such as what you put yourself through) lowers your immune system. So we could all sit around and dwell on this and the fact that we all grow older and die and we were only put on this earth to reproduce and then die. Or we could enjoy our lives and dwell on what is good in our lives.

    #60803
    cohanja
    Participant

    “we were only put on this earth to reproduce and then die”

    I certainly hope we are meant to do more than that.

    #60804
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    Not biologically, that is what all creatures are on this earth to do. Of course we can do much more than that and certainly not waste our precious time worrying about “what if.”

    #60805
    HoolieB
    Participant

    cohanja wrote:

    (edit) I want to get to the bottom of what is really scientifically & medically accurate (edit)

    Although an admirable wish, it is one that cannot help but disappoint. What is proven as medical or scientific “fact” today may be disproved in further research down the road.

    We all have to decide what we’ll accept and what we won’t, and try to live our lives the best way we can. Although I completely understand your quest for knowledge and understanding about our disease, please please take care that you don’t allow it to turn into an obsession.

    :hugs:

    #60806
    casey188
    Participant

    I know this behavior very well. If I just had the answers, it would put everything in a context I could manage. Then I could move on. Whether you mean to or not Cohanja, or whether or not you even realize it, that is what you seem to be doing. I put myself into a panic trying to seek out the answers that would help me feel better and move on. When that didn’t work, I got really caught up in the “glass half empty” view of things you seem to be taking. Here is what helped me be at peace with Melanoma. Letting go. Letting go and getting on with life. I checked this site daily for awhile. Then one day I realized I hadn’t been here in a week. Next thing I knew, I was only checking in every couple of weeks. The only answer is that there is no answer. No guarantees, no definitive medical answers. Just time and a life to live. I look at it like a fork in the road. Once I wore myself out but good, I decided to change direction and take the other road. It wasn’t easy, but It is the best way I know to move on. And it’s all good.

    #60807
    Emoe18
    Participant

    I know how you feel about the lack of answers. I refer to this disease as the “let’s wait and see” cancer because that’s what every doctor keeps telling me…Let’s wait it out. Although that’s really hard to accept I feel like I like this option better than dumping poisonous chemo into my body for no real reason. The fact is only this: I or you or any of these people may wake up one day with mets in our brain or liver or intestines but until that happens we can’t hang every moment of our life on that crap. Every time I am enjoying something I have to fight to feeling that I may not have enough time to enjoy that same thing in the future but living like that isn’t REALLY living. And what good is being lucky enough to be only a stage 1 or 2 if we are living like we are terminal?

    #60808
    cohanja
    Participant

    I get what you’re saying. But, I don’t feel lucky, even with Stage I. I think it was wpatterson who said first thing they think when they wake up each day is melanoma, and I’m the same; so, I don’t feel lucky. I guess it’s relative. Relative to advanced stage, I guess I feel lucky for now. Relative to every other person I know my age that isn’t dealing with this crap, I feel very unlucky.

    #60809
    cohanja
    Participant

    I know things could always be worse; I could have had a thicker Breslow, or a higher mitotic rate, or a positive lymph node result, etc. . . but I won’t know if I should feel lucky or not until 40 years pass and it doesn’t metastasize.

    #60810
    7spider
    Participant

    When they say that things like stress and over worry weaken the immune system and cause other problems I for one believe that high BP, heart attacks and strokes are something ya gotta keep in focus too. Also the roads scare me on a daily basis as well, gotta drive though. Point is you must be ready for the fastball, but also be ready for the curve ball. Play the game and live life.

    #60811
    cohanja
    Participant

    Someone compared it to having a rattle snake in your hand that you can’t put down. . .and being told that he probably won’t bite you, but maybe

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