Colleen's fight against cancer!

Well here's my story! 2013 I found out that I had a melanoma on my hand from a freckle that became larger and looked abnormal. I was referred to a surgeon and he removed the melanoma, telling me it wasn't that deep and I didn't need to see an oncologist. At that time I was just relieved to hear I had a small cancer scare and it was now over. The doctor said I had nothing to worry about and when the doctor says your ok then you think. . . I'm ok it's over, right? Well 4 years later it's now 2017 and I noticed the side of my chest wall and breasts hurt. I had a vacation coming at the end of the summer to spend with my kids so I made an appointment with my doctor on that vacation to have it checked. Two weeks before my appointment and before my vacation started my side hurt near my arm pit and so after the kids went to bed I layed in my bed and thought man why is it hurting so much and then I felt it. . . A lump! I felt that lump and my heart sank to the pit of my stomach! I knew it wasn't good! Little did I know that was the beginning of never feeling the same again. I moved my drs appointment up 2 weeks early not caring how much time I had or in my case didn't have at work. Nothing mattered except finding out what was in my arm.
I went to my primary dr. She said before we start, cancer doesn't move, so relax! It was yet again the dr telling me it wasn't going to be as bad as it is. It's just an infection in your lymph node.In the mean time see the surgeon who did the surgery for your melanoma. Five days later it didn't go away and the original surgeon had no idea. He too said I don't think it's cancer because it moves so I was a little more relaxed. I was then sent to a breast surgeon and the process began. For the first month every week it was 1-3 tests a week with drs appointments at $40.00 every visit. My time I saved at work came to nothing and at this point I worked as much as I could and didn't get paid for any appointments or tests I had to do. Pet scans, MRI, mammograms, biopsy, radiation test, a month seemed like a lifetime of tests. Then the call came and the breast surgeon confirmed it was stage 3 melanoma cancer in my lymph nodes. Another month went by blood work, clearance from my primary dr and now oncology appointments. I kept thinking how did I get here why is this happening to me? Everyday coming home after all these appointments and having to be strong for my children wondering if I will see them become teens or adults. Every child needs their mom! At this point we are starting to struggle financially. The cable was gone, enjoying a fun night at Dave and busters or anywhere that cost for that matter was done. Explaining to a 6 yr old that I am sick and we have no money due to all the drs appointments I have isn't easy when they have no idea of the concept of money.
Now it's finally time for surgery. . . Scared out of my mind, wondering how many years I have left, crying every single time I try to talk about it and think about my babies. I have my surgery and out of work for 2 weeks still no pay from work and bills are piling high. Surgery went well and they told me they took the 2 lymph nodes that had cancer. . . I'm free, free from cancer and I'm good again right! Wrong! This past week I had an oncology appointment wondering if I will have to do chemo, he tells me no chemo but another treatment for melanoma to keep the cancer from coming back called Ipilimumab. It may cause swelling in the brain, the thyroid and the lungs he says but if u don't want to do the treatment it's very likely the melanoma will be back and it could go anywhere and be at any stage. Not sure yet if my insurance will cover it, it is a $2,000,000 treatment so if the insurance doesn't cover it I sit and wait and get scans to hopefully catch anymore cancer that comes my way. I'm asking for help not just for me but for my children. I'm asking to help us get back on our feet after all the co-pays and hospital bill and tests that added up to almost $10,000. I will be hopefully doing these treatments for the next 3-4 years with the oncologists quote " your chances of this cancer coming back are significant". I can't let that happen. I have so much more of life to live, but most importantly, I have my 2 small children to live for! So please,any help you can give will be greatly appreciated to our family!!!
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Colleen Beaudoin 
Watervliet, NY
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