Ocular Melanoma

My name is Tara. I'm 31 years old. I’ve always believed in God and know his miraculous works. I love my family and watching my children laugh. I was blessed to marry my soulmate in October 2015. We have the sweetest one year old son together and I have the most amazing nine year old daughter.

My Faith testing story begins on Saturday, October 14th 2017 when I woke up with blurry vision in my left eye. I went to work that day like any other day just ignoring the blurriness. Monday morning the blurriness was accompanied by sharp pain. I tried to ignore it, I really needed to work. On my way in I called a local optometrist and luckily the he was able to see me right away. After taking some images and running tests he sent me to the ER with what he thought was a detached retina.

After seeing a specialist at the ER he confirmed it was not a detached retina but a person's worst nightmare. It was a tumor! You can imagine how horrified we were to hear this. We're a family of Faith, and through all the fear, confusion and tears we began praying for a miracle.

After several weeks of driving back and forth to Atlanta for testing, images, blood work, etc Doctors diagnosed me with Ocular Melanoma (no relation to skin Melanoma). Yes, it's cancer in the eye (in my case the back part of the eye). I had never even heard of this, which is not surprising since it occurs only in 6 out of 1 million people and rarely in people under the age of 60.

The doctors tell me my best option at this point is to remove the eye (Enucleation). Moving forward, I went in for the Enucleation on Wednesday, November 22nd. Doctors successfully removed the tumor and I'm healing well. Unfortunately, this journey has just begun.

About 50% of Ocular Melanoma primaries eventually metastasize to other places in the body even after Enucleation. When that happens the outlook is grim. Not only is there no cure, there is no accepted treatment. With that, I'm required to have quarterly scans and remain closely monitored. I've received a positive prognosis thus far. My Faith and family help get me through each day. Some days are more challenging than others, but God works miracles!

I'm learning to adjust with using one eye. I have no sense of depth perception and can't drive as of now. I'm praying to get a prosthetic eye soon, unfortunately our insurance isn't accepted and the cost is about $3,000. We’re also struggling to pay over $8,000 in unpaid medical bills. Not only has this been physically challenging, but you can imagine the emotional and financial challenges. Any donation is greatly appreciated.

I hope my Faith testing story will touch lives and bring a sense of Hope where there doesn't seem to be any.
  • Anonymous 
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    • $100 
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  • Elaine Thomas 
    • $100 
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  • Pamela Menard 
    • $20 
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See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Melissa Apel 
Organizer
Hoschton, GA
Tara Panek 
Beneficiary
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