Education, prevention and support for the most serious form of skin cancer.

Michael P. McMahon

I was diagnosed with melanoma in July of 2007. It was found in a cyst in my right armpit. Obviously this was not the point of origin. In fact, it was never found. Since it traveled from somewhere it was strongly suggested that my lymph nodes be removed even though the CT scan, PET scan, and MRIs were all negative.

I started high dosage interferon in November, every day, five days per week, four weeks. The doctor did not have to do the final two days because my white blood cell count was so low. This time period was difficult. My oncologist gave me a prescription for depression but I decided not to use it. What pulled me through were my family, co-workers, and a diary. I would even go into the chemo room and count the number of drip bags other patients had. I had two every day.
Some had three, four, and five bags of stuff. I thought, maybe I’m not as bad off as I thought I was. I then began the low dosage, three days per week for a year. I decided to stop after six weeks because I wanted to get back to my fifth graders and the lymph nodes came back negative. Finally, the recovery from the interferon was just as tough, it seemed like I was merely surviving one day at a time. It’s been five months since I stopped the treatments. There doesn’t seem to be any signs of the cancer, but I’m not holding my breath. I look at life differently now. Whether it was the doctor telling me I have melanoma or the treatments or both it has been a life changing experience.

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