Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting! CANCER! A word that no one wants to hear, no one expects to hear, no one prepares to hear… On 06/20/2017 at 8:30 PM Sharon received the call from her family physician that her biopsy results from on her left upper lip were NOT a "sun spot, aka "liver spot" aka "old age spot"… it was MALIGNANT MELANOMA! Sharon’s life changed forever! Now, to many, this is "just skin cancer". NO! One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 54 minutes). An estimated 87,110 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017. An estimated 9,730 people will die of melanoma in 2017. Melanoma accounts for less than one percent of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.
Sharon’s oncologist said this WILL return, we just don’t know where or when or how often! A call was made to University of Colorado Hospital to get in ASAP to UCHealth – Anschutz Cancer Pavilion for surgical removal. Hurry up and wait… UCHealth – Anschutz Cancer Pavilion could not get Sharon in until 07/06/2017. 16 days… Normally a short amount of time, but when you have a cancer diagnosis, it can feel like eternity! 16 days of praying, research, soul searching and re-thinking where you’ve been, what you’ve done, choices made… And your future! 07/06/2017 11:00AM: Sharon’s first visit to UCHealth – Anschutz Cancer Pavilion for surgical removal of the malignant melanoma on her upper lip. Done under local anesthetic, a fairly simple procedure we thought. Snip-snip, re-construction, and we’d be done! NOPE! Removal of the area plus surrounding tissue, and leave the wound gaping open, cleansing and dressing changes twice daily until biopsy results are received! 07/10/2017 10:00 AM: Sharon’s heart sank as she received the call from her surgeon that they did not get all the cancer. Again, praying, research, soul searching and re-thinking where you’ve been, what you’ve done, choices made… And your future! 07/12/2017: Visit to UCHealth – Anschutz Cancer Pavilion, second surgery in 6 days to remove more surrounding tissue and leave the wound open again. This time the tissue borders were clear of melanoma! 07/17/2017: UCHealth – Anschutz Cancer Pavilion, third surgery in 11 days, this time under general anesthetic to do reconstructive surgery. Alright! We’ve got this! It’s totally removed! Reconstruct and heal… Nope, not so simple. The surgery was supposed to be 2 ½ hours. When it reached 3 hours, there was some concern. When it reached 4 hours, we were worried! Then finally the call came to go to the pharmacy to pick up Sharon’s prescriptions and then she could have visitors while in outpatient recovery. After her prescriptions were picked up a call came again… Sharon was being admitted and would not be going home. “Complications”: After administering the general anesthetic they were attempting to intubate Sharon through her nose as she was having surgery on her lip/mouth. They were not able to intubate her through her left nostril so attempted through her right nostril. This entire time they were using and ambu bag (bagging her) to “breathe” for her as your lungs do not function when under general anesthetic. While intubating her they caused 3 lacerations in Sharon’s esophagus. Bagging her forced air into the lacerations causing air to go into the tissue in her right neck area (subcutaneous crepitis)… Extremely painful! Sharon’s pulse oximetry levels were dropping to 85% on 15 liters of oxygen (normal is 90% or above). They were concerned with the possibility that fluid was forced in to her lungs, esophageal puncture… Honestly, the surgeon said they just were not sure. At this time Sharon was awake and in immense pain in her throat and right neck area. They decide to scope her through her right nostril. That is how they discovered the lacerations. Due to the pulse oximetry levels being unstable and other possible complications a chest x-ray was ordered and the decision to keep her over-night to stabilize her. 07/18/2017: Sharon is discharged from the hospital to home. Plan… Heal, rest, pray, think positive thoughts, take it easy… (resting and taking it easy are not in Sharon’s vocabulary!) Follow-up appointment scheduled 07/26/2017 with the surgeon. 07/20/2017 11:15 AM: While doing her best at resting, relaxing, keeping positive thoughts and healing, Sharon received a call from her family physician’s office. They informed her that the x-ray taken in the hospital showed a nodule in the lung and they need to set up a CT scan with contrast ASAP. At this point Sharon is feeling numb. Understandably. SO much to go through in literally one month! CT scan is scheduled for 07/24/2017 2:00 PM.