Hi my name is Jason Blackwell and my world was recently rocked by the news I received a couple of weeks ago. Before I go into that I want to tell you a little bit about myself.
I am 47 years old and live in Reno, NV with my wonderful wife Julia. I am a father to my five children Ashley, Randy, Loren, Victoria, and Kayleigh. I am blessed to be a Papa to 5 grand kids; Julietta, Dryce, Kayden, Kyle, and little Tucker oh and I can't forget my grand cat Penny. I have lived in Reno for 15 years and am like most people in America, a hard working family man trying to provide for my family. I attend a local church called "Faith Lutheran" where I spend my extra time ushering and serving my local community. I enjoy being with my family in my spare time. Let's face it family is everything. I have always had the support of my four parents (yes I am lucky I have four). My dad Ernie and step-mom Connie and my mom Diane and step-dad Tim along with my little brother Aaron and little sister Kelsie. Though my parents and sister don't live close I know they are always there when I need them.
Before my diagnosis my day to day life was simple. I woke up, went to work, came home did my daily chores, and spent time with my wife and two dogs Missy and my boy Thor. Let's fast forward a little bit. I started to feel pain throughout my body and was getting dizzy spells daily. I knew something was wrong but being a man I brushed it off. I felt a lump in my neck and again I brushed it off thinking it was just a cyst. I thought it would eventually go away. Well, that didn't happen and it started to grow. I talked to Julia about it and my mom Diane and they insisted that I go to the ER. I was still hesitant as the ER is expensive but I went anyway. They ran some tests that then revealed that what I thought was a small cyst was actually a mass the size of a golf ball. I was frustrated that I still didn't have anymore answers than when I came into the hospital. I was sent strait to the ENT to have the golf ball sized mass biopsied. They said they were going to aspirate it but I knew quickly when they were unable to do so that it was more than just a cyst. They took core samples and sent them off to the lab. The results came back within a week but I did not want to miss work because like everyone else who owns a home and has bills to pay I didn't feel I could take the time off to see the doctor at that time. A week later I received the results and all I could hear was "You have malignant melanoma." I just shut down. I could not comprehend anything else the doctor was saying to me at that time. Thank goodness Julia was there and listening. After leaving the doctors I knew I had to tell the people closest to me which broke my heart to do. I called my brother Aaron and told him I was concerned to break the news to our parents due to their own health issues. He offered to break the news for me but I didn't want him to have to do it. Calling my mom and dad was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. No kid wants to tell their parents at any age that they are sick with cancer...there I said it. Cancer. Since then I have woken up daily in disbelief that I am now the statistic. I have seen more doctors in the past two weeks then I have seen my whole life. This is my new reality. Through all of this though my faith in our Lord and Savior has not wavered. In fact I have ran towards him more than ever. I know the road to come is going to be hard, rocky, and full of challenges with pain. I do have faith that with my family, friends, good doctors, and nurses I will get through this.