"We have an issue here..."
Not what you want to hear from your doctor. A few months ago, Al noticed a new growth on his right arm. It looked like a big pimple, but it wasn't going away and it started changing colors. That's when we knew it was time to see the doctor. A week later, we got the call. "Very aggressive" nodular melanoma. Not basil cell carcinoma, not squamous cell carcinoma, but a nasty, dangerous kind of melanoma. If you are so inclined, here's a link to a good overview of what it is and how to look for it: https://www.webmd.com/melanoma-skin-cancer/nodular-melanoma-overview#1
Fast forward to today. After another surgery about 2 weeks ago, we've learned the cancer made it's way to at least one lymph node. In terms of staging, that puts him in Stage III. There are many levels of staging melanoma, and we don't know his stage precisely, but we do know it's somewhere in the Stage III range. We are awaiting an appointment with an oncologist specializing in melanoma, which hopefully happens very soon. We have been told the next treatment is likely to be some sort of medication/chemotherapy, as there is nothing more to be done from a surgical perspective.
I tend to look at things in terms of Pros/Cons, Upside/Downside. The downside seems pretty obvious here. His tumor was a stage 4 - big and carried a very high risk of spreading. But there are a lot of entries in the upside column:
1. He's in great shape otherwise. Coming at this from a starting point of strength is huge. Al versus this cancer is like the 2004 Patriots versus the 2008 Lions. The cancer really doesn't stand a chance against Brady and Belichick.
2. Al is the king of positive energy. This is just as important as a strong body in combating any disease.
3. We have decent health insurance.
4. We both have very supportive and flexible employers who value us not just as employees but as human beings who are going through something difficult.
5. When I'm not traveling, I work from home so I can be there for day-to-day needs.
6 When I am traveling, we have all of you to call on to help us out!
7. We have each other.
Thank you for stopping by this site. I will do my best to keep things up-to-date and you should get notified whenever there is an updated post. Please feel free to drop Al a note and let him know you are tracking his progress. A lot of friends and family have asked how they can help. For now, just reaching out with a quick note letting him know you care will help tremendously. Thank you also for all the love and support expressed so far.
Go Pats! (Full disclosure - Al is a Giants fan and I did not get permission to use the Patriots analogy. But I think, at least for this year, he'll be ok with it)