My sister Ashley is my best friend and we have been joined at the hip since before I can remember. She has been a mentor, a confidante, and she is someone that I can always count on to be there for me. She always seems to know the perfect thing to say at the perfect time. She is to all who know her, a shining example of all things good in a person. She is kind, considerate, positive thinking, non-judgmental, and an all-round beautiful person, in and out.
Ashley and Luke decided in May 2017 to go on a Northern adventure to Inuvik, NWT. They both found jobs, rented out their home in Avonport, NS, and went North with a little trepidation and a whole lot of excitement. Their two loyal canine friends, Dexter and Sage, made the trip also. Ashley’s life in a large part revolves around animals and their welfare.
In late September 2017, a mere 3 months after arriving in Inuvik, Ashley started to experience blurring of vision in her left eye.
This is where the difficult part of what was to have been a beautiful, yet frigid adventure, started. A visit to the local emergency room provided no diagnosis or relief from the symptoms.
The condition continued and forced her back to the ER a short few days later. On this visit, she requested a referral to see a specialist, the nearest one being in Yellowknife. This appointment saw her leave with no answers or relief of symptoms. She was sent her back to Inuvik without answers, but with another referral to another ophthalmologist in Edmonton for a later date.
After various types of testing in Edmonton, it was determined that there was a lesion attached to her retina. She again was sent back to Inuvik, again with a referral to a third specialist at a later date back in Edmonton.
Her third trip out of Inuvik to a specialist confirmed the existence of a lesion sitting directly on her retina. Again, she was sent back home unsure of the situation with her eye, and with another follow up appointment, giving the specialist time to consult with other experts, as he knew what he was looking at was exceedingly rare and confusing to even him, one of the leading ocular surgeons in the Country.
Her fourth trip back to the specialist resulted in yet more testing and imaging, but still no diagnosis. She was told to expect a call within a week, before the Christmas holiday.
The call, and diagnosis, came on December 28th, 2017. Ashley was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma (OM), specifically Choroidal Melanoma, a type of melanoma which occurs at a rate of approximately 6 in 1 million individuals per year. The initial treatment will require the surgical placement of a radioactive plaque (metal plate) on her eye. The plaque will stay attached, releasing radiation, for a period of 5 days.
Last week, Ashley took her fifth flight out of Inuvik, both her and Luke, to Edmonton for a series of appointments spread over days.
She will undergo surgery on January 29th, and again on February 2nd, in Edmonton. She will be required to be in the city for nearly two weeks. This will be her 6th trip to Edmonton. Many subsequent follow-up appointments and treatments will be required.
We are hoping that through the kindness of friends and anyone else that may feel inclined, to help Ashley offset the huge costs associated with fighting this horrible diagnosis. What I would like is to help her focus on fighting this battle, rather than having to worry about the financial aspects of paying for past and future airline tickets, countless hotel room charges, car rentals, and many, many weeks of lost wages due to her being unable to work.
Please share with others and thank you so much for reading. I will update her progress regularly on my page.