Surgery Round 2....
When Dr. W sat down next to me to go over my pathology reports from the first surgery I knew this was not a "We got it all! Your good to go" kind of a chat.
Instead it was a "Michelle I'm so sorry, this really sucks, this was not the news we were hoping for" kind of chat.
So according to the report all of my lymph-nodes were full of cancer, and based on the size, depth, rate of growth etc. of my tumor I was given the official Diagnosis of Nodular Metastatic Melanoma Stage 3C. I was going to have to go back in for surgery. She wanted to book the OR for that Monday, but still being in shock and not understanding the seriousness of the situation I asked to post pone it to the end of the week. My Mom was coming in town, we had Halloween plans for the kids, I needed to line up Dance Subs..... She was not happy about it but also agreed that waiting 4 more days was not going to risk my life. So the second surgery date was set.
I was sent in for more testing and met with my Oncologist Dr. Michelle Ashworth. She laid out all of my treatment options and we formed a plan. After I recovered from the 2nd surgery I would go into a trial for a new Cancer drug to fight Melanoma. The trial was a 3arm study meaning there were 3 different drugs I could be given. one of the drugs is a form of Chemo that only has a 11% success rate with Melanoma. Thankfully due to the stage of my cancer my doctors were able to automatically withdraw me from that option. So I would get 1 of the 2 new drugs. I would find out after surgery which drug I would be getting.
This also meant it was time to let people know what was going on. A gathering of the troops if you will. I really didn't have time to process who I wanted to tell and what I wanted to keep private. Being a dance instructor at the same studio where my children dance meant everyone was going to find out. So it was best to stay ahead of any rumors and put the information out there ourselves. Thankfully I had a very dear friend that jumped in took care of that for us. She started a facebook page that my husband and I could both post any updates too. She also started a care calendar to set up meals for my family. My Church family also reached out to see how they could be of service to me and my family. There was so much love and support coming from so many different directions it was a little overwhelming at times. One piece of advice of would give to someone going through something like this is to have a main point of contact for people. Someone who will take all of the offers of help and service and organize them in a manner that will benefit you and not become too much! HUGE Shout out to the Best Cancer team organizer out there, the magical Unicorn Kate Karren!
Surgery Day arrived and I was again donning the "Happy Socks" It's the little things in life...
When I awoke this time I could immediately tell things were different. I was in so much pain and everything was spinning out of control. I was told that the surgery took much longer than expected and that some of my lymph nodes were really hard to get to. Once at home it was made clear what those wedding vows are really all about!
True love is cleaning out your wife's surgery drains when your whole life you have not been a fan of anything medical. True love is washing your wife's ridiculously thick and long hair...it was pretty entertaining to say the least. And all that while running the household, taking care of 4 kiddos with crazy schedules and still working your full time job.... All the while I laid in bed and thanked God for blessing me with my perfect Eternal companion!
And now for your 30 Second Dance Party....
My name is Michelle Kaley but I have many other names.....Daughter, Sister, Wife of 20 years to my High School Sweetheart, Mom to my 4 Beautiful Children, Ms. Michelle to my hundreds of Students, and as of 2016 Cancer Patient was added to the list.