In August of 2012, my world was suddenly changed when I was diagnosed with a very rare cancer. I was told that I have ocular melanoma, which is a cancerous tumor of the eye. Due to the large size of my tumor at the time of diagnosis, it was necessary to remove my eye on October 26, 2012. I was educated about my cancer by a wonderful team of doctors who made it known that it is extremely important that my follow up care include imaging tests, such as cat scans or MRI scans every six months to monitor my liver and lungs for possible metastasis, as these are the two most common areas for this cancer to spread first.
On March 10, 2014, I had my routine six-month scans and was in shock to learn that a large mass was found on my ovaries. A follow-up PET scan was ordered and I was scheduled for an immediate hysterectomy on March 18, 2014. The PET scan showed that my appendix was also affected; therefore, it was also removed. Additionally, several small lesions were detected on my bones.
On Thursday, March 27, 2014, I received the news that my biopsy confirmed that this is, indeed, metastatic ocular melanoma. As of this morning, April 1, 2014, I am traveling back to the cancer center, five hours away, where my initial diagnosis was made so that my oncologists and I can develop a plan of attack.
The expense we have incurred to date as a result of my diagnosis have been quite challenging for us. As a one income family, the costs for surgery and hospitalizations, follow up medical scans and other tests, many of which have required several hours of travel each way, and other related bills have, at many times, been very overwhelming. These expenses are now adding up even faster due to my recent hysterectomy and the upcoming treatments, along with a more aggressive scanning schedule to monitor my treatment results.
Due to an outpouring of love and support, I have been encouraged to create this page as a way to allow others to contribute to my medical expenses. Our family is touched and immensely grateful for all of your support. God has blessed us with much love and I will continue to embrace that love and support and use it to fuel my courage to fight with all I've been given.
Ocular Melanoma can be detected with regular dilated eye exams. Please take the time to have your eyes and the eyes of those you love checked!
I pray for a cure to be found for this disease for the entire ocular melanoma patient community as well as all loved ones who are also affected.
God bless you all!
- Cheryl Whitener
- Cheryl Gehrer
- Debbie Bailey
- Grant Allen
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