I have been encouraged by some beautiful friends to set up this page to ask for help.
Its not something easily done, putting our selves out there and telling the world what is going on at the moment, and then asking for support in getting through it.
In October 2017, following several years of chronic debilitating back pain following injuries, which had taken both Dave and myself out of the workforce, we were stopped in our tracks with the sudden appearance and diagnosis of an aggressive melanoma on Dave’s back.
Melanoma is an ugly word at the best of times. Even uglier when it crosses the threshold and decides to enter uninvited. Somehow you find your mind travelling at the speed of lightening to places you never gave it permission to go. To the end, before the journey has even been established. Fear tries to creep in, icy cold, scenario building, but our faith is strong and our trust is in God for this current journey.
Being out of the workforce, we have been living off savings while developing a plan to regenerate our income and sustainably cover our mortgage and costs of living. Consequently this diagnosis came at great personal cost, depleting our resources as none of the tests and treatments could be bulkbilled or were covered by Private Insurance. These included the initial biopsy, wide excision surgery, lymphoscintigram ( lymphatic mapping ) and 4 monthly ultra sound scans of the three lymphatic areas to which the melanoma had been proven to drain, followed each time by a consultation with Dave's specialist.
The Melanoma Institute of Australia (MIA) caring for Dave is based in Sydney but our home is in Adelaide.
It was our hope that the melanoma had been caught in time before having time to spread elsewhere, however two weeks ago, during a routine 4 monthly follow up scan, some suspicious looking lymph nodes and lesions were noted. The ensuing biopsies revealed that the melanoma has returned and has infiltrated the lymph nodes which was devastating news to say the least.
The plan now: To return to Sydney again in two days time for more tests, more biopsies, a PET scan and brain MRI to ascertain wether it is contained in the lymph or has metastasised elsewhere, followed, at the moment, by extensive surgery (axillary lymph node clearance) and ongoing treatment. Being with the MIA we are hopeful this will be immunotherepy rather than the traditional chemo and radiotherepy.
As our Specialist said “We are going for the cure, not a fix”.
If you feel you have the desire and capacity to help us in this journey, we would be truly grateful. Any amount will be appreciated more than you will ever know, no matter how small.