Home Forums Melanoma Diagnosis: Stage IV Bite-Size Decision Time

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  • #21383
    buffcody
    Participant

    In the next few days, I will decide whether to compete or not this year in the biannual National Senior Games (Olympics) held in Cleveland last year. I qualified for it a few days after my diagnosis of Stage IV melanoma last June in our Michigan championship meet with small hope that I would even be around to swim in it given the projections I was reading of median survival time and my still recovering from the pneumonia that had serendipitously brought me to the discovery of the lung lesion. But I figured if I could just get to the other side of the meet for the state meet, qualifying would not be too hard and I’d won six medals two years before in Houston at the nationals. But I had ruled out Cleveland a few weeks ago with my brain seizures resulting from what was then believed to be a new (3rd since October) melanoma met. Now they’re telling me that I am NED overall and that the reading of a new brain met was not accurate. My oncologist told me that while swimming was not only o.k. but good, no competition. Now he’s backed off and said if I can keep myself under wraps in the swims and just go to have fun and socialize and not try to win all the races–two a day for three days, I wouldn’t win any even at my best–he’d give me a green light. One of my considerations about whether to go or not has more to do with whether doing so would provide a boost and hope for other Stage IV folks like myself and their loved ones that there can be pretty full life not only after but living through this stuff. I might even pick up some medals like 6th or 8th place, not the usual top three I swim for ordinarily, but it ain’t about the bling. Again, I have been very blessed till now despite three surgeries and 12 weeks of ipi along with detours such as the one I am experiencing with MRSA right now.But that does not force me out of the pool. On a more positive note, I am pain free in the rest of my body from many orthhopaedic pains that had been plaguing me for more than a year, a freedom which I attribute to the positive side effects on it from Decadron. One very strong motivation, is that my traveling companion who occasionally needs some assistance but is a great man to go to a meet with is competing as he turns 90. In many events, he is in the top three in the world and will, I am sure, break a national record in any event he swims in Cleveland. But traveling that far on his own and handling all arrangements himself is a big stress. Any thoughts about my soon to be made decision and whether it would be a positive statement for others than yours truly?

    Frank

    #61394
    Brendan
    Participant

    Hi frank,

    Great news and good luck. It’s 4am and I am back in the hospital due to a bleeding brain met, and i am wide awake after a decadron injection [and reading your post was the first good news of the day-thanks]. Your story (prior to the nationals opportunity) has already inspired me; and others. Personally, it’s amazing that you think of others at a time like this. Everyone on the board knows how much swimming means to you and I think if you were to swim in the nationals it would certainly further inspire everyone who reads your posts. But most of all, I think it would inspire your true friends (especially the 90 year old), your family,your wife and, of course, yourself. Plus, it will simply be fun. I know that you will continue to consider all angles and in the end to you will make the right choice.

    Brendan

    #61395
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    You both inspire me! Brendan you have great words of wisdom for Frank. I hope you heal soon and will be back home.

    #61396
    kylez
    Participant

    Hi Frank,

    I’m simpatico with your doctor’s advice, “…if I can keep myself under wraps in the swims and just go to have fun and socialize and not try to win all the races,” i.e. within relaxed comfortable limits. To pick one very extreme end of things, people competing in marathons and ironman, etc. take a huge wallop to the immune system afterwards. On the other hand, moderate exercise is, of course, naturally beneficial.

    Brendan — wishing you speed and the best treatment for your situation. Your fight is an inspiration as well, and for sure.

    #61397
    rochelle
    Participant

    Since I was diagnosed in Jan 2009, I have worked up to putting 70 miles at a ride on my bike, backpacked into Bryce Canyon with a 50 lb pack on my back, trained for and ran a 1/2 marathon and just (finally) graduated with a 2 year degree with some fun ziplining and tree top adventures sprinkled in …and did I mention I am not a jock? All this with the blessing and encouragement of my oncology team…they love hearing about these adventures, so our activities are not only inspiring to others with melanoma, they are inspiring to those that treat us. And believe me I do realize not everyone can enjoy the same activities…but thriving is about living with melanoma, and pursuing our passions in whatever way we can…if not now, then when?

    Martha

    #61398
    buffcody
    Participant

    Thanks to all you folks! Unless things go south in a hurry for me between now and the end of July, Bob and I are taking a very slow bus ride from Battle Creek, Michigan to Cleveland for three days of competition. He thought I was definitely out of it, so was thrilled that I had decided to go, since he was just about to cancel out. He’s not too old to set new national records, but he is too old to handle that kind of major voyage on his own. Even if I just “swim through” my two events a day, it should be fun.Turns out my neurological surgeon is also a masters swimmer, and he returned a message I had sent him and gave me a very personal green light yesterday. He’s written an article on the advantage of good performance status, on metastatic melanoma outcomes. His take is, as long as everyone knows to keep a very good eye on you in the pool with a history of seizure, and I am very explicit with and close to the lifeguard on duty, not to worry. Seizures are probably as likely to happen sitting in an easy chair as churning up and down the pool. So I have about 5 weeks to get in a little better shape to go for that bronze. 😆

    Frank

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