This is an actual quote,"If you have to have cancer, skin cancer is the kind to get," I would prefer to not have cancer but this is what I thought too. I suppose there is some truth to this statement. There are skin cancers that can be cut out that don't spread below the skin. However, I have nodular Melanoma which is very aggressive and does spread to other places in your body.
In January I noticed something on my back. It was roughly the size of a penny. It was located on my lower back and I couldn't really get a good look at it. My first thought was that I had a bug on my back. I called Ryanne in to investigate. Her response was, "That's disgusting. Get it taken off." I called my Dr's office and the Dermatologist. The Dr's office had an appointment first so I took it and wanted a dermatologist to do a full body skin check.
As soon as I showed our Doctor he knew it was a Melanoma and said it had to be removed that day. I was leaving for Hawaii and asked if it could be done when I got back. The answer was no and I was told to be back for the procedure that afternoon. This was on a Tuesday. The Dr. called Friday. It was cancer. Dr. Corry looked at me and said, "Kari, its serious." I was thinking, "Okay, just cut it out." Tim and I left for Hawaii Saturday and tried to enjoy our trip. It was fun but I had cancer looming over my head. From there, life got a little crazy.
Dr. Corry got me into a great Doctor up at the Huntsman Center.
The next week they took larger margins on my back and removed a few lymph nodes.
The next day they called to tell me that unfortunately it was in a lymph node.
The next week they removed all the lymph nodes from my left arm pit.
We did find out that it hadn't spread to more lymph nodes which was really good news.
During this time I also had full body CT scans and a brain MRI. No apparent cancer. Again, good news.
I started immunotherapy two weeks ago and will continue it for 2 years. I won't lie its not fun but I feel okay. Mostly tired and achey. What neither Tim or I understood is that there really isn't a cure for Melanoma. We sat across from a Doctor that said, "If it comes back we will keep her comfortable but that is a totally different conversation." So I guess my point is GO GET YOUR SKIN CHECKED. Melanoma is serious and if it spreads it is bad news!!
I have a little side note I would like to go off on for just a second.
All the support, prayers, love, and happy thoughts I have received have made me feel more grateful then I can put in to words. Although I am living with cancer, my entire life is not cancer. I still have a beautiful four year old who has swim and dance lessons. Two wonderful girls in junior high and high school who have everyday events. A husband who is still my very best friend. A daughter home from college who loves to stay busy, and another daughter busier than ever working in Las Vegas. And finally my sweet boy just got married. I am not listing all these things in my crazy life in order to silently scream a cry for help. My goal while stating my every day life activities is to inform friends and family alike that while the concern for my health is beyond appreciated, it is not the only important subject. Asking my high schooler how cheer is going is just as important as asking her about my treatment. We adore your concern, but sometimes (speaking for each family member) we would like to run to the nearby Walmart real quick without have to explain the gory details of my cancer. Simply just saying hi with a quick, "always thinking about you guys," is the sweetest of ways to comfort us in this time. Without sounding inconsiderate of everyones love, from the Hellbusch family, we would like to say we love you all and we love talking to family and friends about not just cancer, but our everyday lives as well.