My name Steven, please call me Nudge.
I’ve been diagnosed with malignant melanoma and will be undergoing facial resection/reconstruction surgery in Toronto on July 26.
Here’s snapshot of my cancer journey.
I have lived with the affects of a vascular tumour growing in the right side of my face under the skin for most of my life. Note: I have never had typical skin cancer. As the mass became more disfiguring (noticeably enlarged right cheek), an attempt was made to chemically shrink the tumour in 2012, but that effort failed. By 2017 the growing mass was seriously impacting my quality of life, with nerve pain and daily migraines.
In early 2018, I agreed to have the tumour surgically removed, which worked, but it left me with a very noticeable facial scar, (so much for vanity). Only a short six months later, a new more aggressive tumour grew back in the same area. In late 2018, that tumour was scheduled for removal. At no time during this long road was the word cancer ever uttered, not one test result ever even hinted at it.
During the last surgery to remove the new vascular tumour, (again not cancer), standard cancer resection margins were not taken or even possible. The mass was sent for testing, but this time it returned a shocking pathology report. It declared the mass was a vascular tumour with a malignant melanoma tumour hidden inside it. My surgeon was stunned by this rare anomaly. Sadly, she informed me that because the resection margins were so small, well below the standard 2cm area around the mass, I would need to undergo chemotherapy and radiation. I was now officially a cancer patient.
We immediately started meeting with the oncology team and I was poked, prodded and scanned every which way possible. There was a strong chance of cancerous cells still in my head, but we were soon told that standard chemotherapy doesn‘t work on melanoma. Enter a trial of Immunotherapy, not yet approved in Canada. Feeling like I had no choice, in early 2019 I submitted to a plan of 26 Opdivo injections. By the 15th session, I experienced dangerous side effects and was forced to stop treatment.
After a few months break, I started 20 sessions of radiation to my face in Jan 2020. As soon as the sessions were completed, along comes a world-wide pandemic. Give me an f’n break!
After almost exactly one year, my cancer came back again in the same area. With multiple months of new testing and consultations, I have arrived at the sad fact that my life is now in very real jeopardy. The cancer professionals say it has not spread to anywhere else in my body, but again it is so aggressive, if it does start to spread; only palliative care would be available to me. Since current cancer treatment options, of any kind, do not apply to me; drastic resection surgery and facial reconstruction are now my one and only option. At age 55, doing nothing feels like giving up…to me. I love my life with my wife and will do anything to stay with her, even if it means more suffering for me.
So that’s me, a cancer patient once again.
Want to say firstly you are a great writer.
That is a horrible cancer. I can't imagine. And very aggressive again in the same spot. You running out of room there.
I too will be thinking of you and rooting on your team July 26.
Your life sounds lovely and I wish you many more good years with that wife you hold dear.
Thank you for sharing your story with us. So many years and procedures and the goal posts keep shifting and I can only imagine the stress you have had to deal with.
You and your specialists certainly seem to be actively exploring all of the available options.
I wish that I could say something to heal the cancer but please know that we are always here for you to listen, rant to if necessary and to care and support.
Yes, you are “a cancer patient again” but you are so much more - someone who loves your life and loves your wife and I am sure is loved back.
Thinking of you on the 26th.
Hello and welcome. I am so sorry that you have been going through this. I am glad that you found this support site. The people here are very supportive and have a wide range of experience that can help offer ideas & information.
My own cancer story is much different than yours, but I can relate with the emotions that go through the diagnosis, especially at a time where you are clearly in love with the life that you have.
Somebody on the forum said recently something like ‘It may get me one day, but NOT TODAY’. It does help me remember that when my mind starts to take me downhill. I strongly believe in the mind-body connection, although not everyone does.
Have you connected with a support person at the cancer clinic?
All the best.
Thank you for taking the time to comment on my story. I also find strength in little phrases. I believe in the power of language. I have a favourite saying that helps me get through the day, ‘When you do things, things get done’. This quirky phrase helps me simplify the chaos in my mind and redirects my focus.
When I read your story this morning I was all but in tears as I was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and having never known anyone with cancer I felt I knew you somehow. My friend I pray for us both that we continue the FIGHT the fight !
@Nudge , your story is strikingly both alarming and a relief. You have done everything to stop the tumors, to go thru treatments and to accept facial scarring and yet, you maintain such a down-to-earth attitude of fight and acceptance. Your wife must be fabulous as you seem completely devoted to her.
You have heard every opinion and medical test result from physicians, so, for your peace of mind I hope the upcoming procedures kick what is now identified as cancer out into the recycled universe. Hugs to you and your wife.
@Hanley72 Thank you for reaching out. Keep up the good fight. In my moments of despair, I do ask…why…why me? Then I realize the truth; it doesn’t matter, what matters is what can I do about it, what do I want to do with my time today, who do I want to share today with. Hold on tight to the things you can control, my friend. I wish you love and peace today.
I wish I could be in the same space as “why me”? I have gone thru too many horrible things and events cause not by me but by people who should of protected me but in fact they did the opposite. So yes I ask WHY ME. I know I will never get an answer but I am allowed to ask. And I believe your allowed to ask anyone and anything. We are fighting a big battle that I hope we all can win but we need to use every tool and asset available to us so we will win.
I thought this video might be helpful when dealing with the ‘Why me’ question