Aug 28, 2018 Latest post:
Nov 12, 2018
Ron's journey actually began in December 2013. He was in for a physical before losing his health insurance due to a lay-off and subsequent new job starting. He pointed out a pencil eraser sized mole/cyst/growth thing in the back of his neck. He was advised that he should get it removed to be safe, although his primary doctor believed it to be a routine cyst thing and waiting for several months when he obtained insurance again "should" be okay. The 90 days with no insurance went slowly as the thing continued to grow and travel for his new job was continuous.
In May 2014 Ron made the difficult decision to end the new job as it was nothing as explained to him during the hiring process. He was not feeling well but related it to ongoing stress and overall depression. He made his way back to the doctor to get that "thing" removed from his neck before losing insurance yet again. He was called back to the clinic to get his results in person. We knew then that it may not be good, but remained optimistic. After all, skin cancer can be removed and you can be back to normal in no time, right? Or very wrong in Ron's case. He was initially diagnosed with Stage IIIB Melanoma of the neck. On May 29, 2014 he had his 1st surgical procedure being a wide local excision. It did show uptake to other lymph nodes but given the challenge of bilateral cervical dissection, no further were surgeries were discussed or attempted at that time.
In September 2014 Ron had his 1st appointment at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He completed several biopsies of suspicious lymph nodes and October - November 2014 were filled with more surgeries to remove lymph nodes on both sides of his neck and both armpits.
In December 2014 - January 2015 he had 5 rounds of radiation to his neck. He began on adjuvant self-injected "Leukine" shots. He was very brave and endured 2 weeks of daily shots then two weeks off, and repeat. This schedule continued through October 2016 when he could no longer tolerate the side effects of Leukine. It was a very difficult decision to make but he began to believe that quality time is more important than quantity given his serious reactions. The Leukine did seem to help, but in April 2016 the cancer was back, again in his neck and lymph nodes - so more surgeries and lymph nodes removed followed by 5 more rounds of radiation. After stopping the Leukine in October 2016, Ron felt so much better but routine PetScans remained at 3 month intervals for quite some time. He never did attain every six month intervals which was our goal.
2017 turned out to be a wonderful year for us. Ron's neck continues to have no feeling, but he was upbeat again and beginning to feel back to normal. The new normal, that is.
On May 31, 2018 Ron was diagnosed again with Melanoma. This time, Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma with his primary tumor currently in his upper left leg. And with this news ..... we are beginning this new CaringBridge Site to keep everyone informed. We will continue to provide updates. Thank-you for your interest and visit to our new site. We hope you will visit often. All kind words, prayers, positive vibes, etc are very welcomed. Silent, or shared with us to help keep us encouraged and spirits up.