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Welcome to my CaringBridge site. It has been created to keep family and friends updated.
My left eye is where the melanoma tumor is located. We treated it with radiation from March 6th through March 10th of 2006. All reports and tests have shown that the melanoma was confined to the eye, which is great news. The support from family and friends has been tremendous!
January 25, 2006 is the day that my life changed. I went to my Optometrist for a routine eye exam at 1:30 in the afternoon and by the end of that day, I had been told by an Ophthalmologist that I had Choroidal Melanoma, a cancerous tumor, in my left eye. That evening I called my family and told them of the fight I was in for. The next day, a Thursday, I spent the afternoon at Meritcare with my Internal Medicine doctor and they ran a full set of tests to check to see if the cancer had spread to the lungs or liver - or anyplace else, for that matter - as it usually does. On Friday, I had a CT scan and continued with tests to see if the cancer was only in the eye or had spread. The test results were read and it was a clean report - it had not spread, up to this point. On Tuesday, January 31st, we headed down to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and met Dr. Pulido, a specialist in eye tumors, and he ran a full day of tests and ultra sound measurements to determine the size of the tumor and to discuss treatment options. All of my children were there with Sheila and me so we discussed the treatment option - remove the eye to remove the tumor or treat the eye with radiation in an attempt to save the eye. I chose to go with the Radiation Treatment. We went back to West Fargo and waited for the radiation disk to be built and on March 6th, I was admitted to Methodist Hospital in Rochester and they did surgery to attach the radiation disk to my eye. I remained inpatient for the week as the disk radiated the tumor and they removed the disk that Friday, March 10th. I had an appointment on April 12th at Mayo to check to see how the eye had healed from the surgery - it healed up nicely. I have gone back to Mayo on July 26th and October 25th in 2006 and now April 26th here in 2007 to continue the testing to see if the tumor did shrink and the cancer eliminated. We will also continue to check to make sure that the cancer doesn’t start up in other parts of my body as it normally does. There is a 20% chance that I will get that cancer within the next 5 years.
July 31, 2013 Update - Today was my checkup at Mayo Clinic. I have seen Dr. Pulido every year since we found the cancer in January of 2006 - not this year. He has so many patients - new patients that require the surgery - and he is doing more reseach on this form of cancer so has given his longer-term patients to one of his associates. My new Dr. is Dr. Wendy Smith. I thought she was very good - thorough and explained the situations very well. Started the day at 7am with a full CT scan and then the blood work. There were five more appointments from 11am to when I met with Dr. Smith at 3pm. Everything went very well. The CT scan continues to monitor the spot in the lung but it has been pretty stable for the past few years so not a major concern at this time - still will continue to watch it closely. The tumor in the eye has continued to shrink and is now down to about 2.7mm which is very good. I have a cataract in my bad left eye and that is limiting some of the checkup and monitoring due to not being able to see around it to check the health of the eye. Dr Smith will confer with Dr Pulido and we may need to remove the cataract this year. Everything is very good at this time - seven years down, five to go. It is always a long hard day and very stressful on the eyes but so worth it when there is such a good report, again. Thanks to everyone who have been so thoughtful and offering support during this past year. Couldn't do this without my special friends and family. Thanks so much for your thoughts - Take Care.