Surgery, Again

April 29th, 2009

Hey all,

Thanks to everyone for messages of support this past week, I appreciate them very much.

I am recovering well from my surgery.  I had my tumor, Gus, removed as well as all the lymph nodes on the left side of my neck.   Gus is gone!  But, boy did he leave his mark.  I have what I can only describe as a dent on the back of my head where Gus was.  The skin and tissue on the back of our heads and necks are very dense and therefore when they removed it along with Gus, left is a pretty sizable impression.  The skin they grafted from my leg was put in place and seems to be doing well.  They say it will get better with time.  I will never be able to grow hair there, so it looks like a longer hair dew may be in the works to cover the dent.  I am just happy Gus is no longer with us.

While I was in recovery, my doctors gave me some unfortunate news.  My stay in Houston will be a bit longer than we had originally hoped for. They have discovered cancer back on the right side of my neck.  This was shocking to me because a few months ago in Cincinnati, I had a Right Radical Neck Dissection to remove all the lymph nodes on the right side of my neck.  Unfortunately, there were some nodes that may have been left behind or were out of the scope of the surgery.  Either way, my doctors found some malignant cells and I will be back in the operating room tomorrow for more surgery.

My surgeon, Dr. Myers, will open up my old incision in order to get the cancerous nodes out.  I will not have any new scars, which is a good thing. But I imagine I will be quite sore for a bit, which is something I am used to, this being my fifth surgical procedure in six months.  But, I am hoping it is the last.  I am not upset about this surgery, rather I am happy that we discovered it now and I can heal from both surgeries together.

I will begin radiation therapy and the vaccination treatments soon after I heal up from these surgeries.

I will head back to Cincinnati after this next surgery.  I can’t wait to spend time with my family there, especially my niece and nephew, Molly and Max!

I want to take this brief opportunity to remind everyone, that as spring is here and summer approaching….please remember to wear sunscreen.  Parents, protect your children.  I would not wish what I am/have gone through on anyone.

On a brighter note.  My friend and fellow melanoma warrior, Karie successfully completed the Boston Marathon last weekend. Way to go Karie!  She ran to raise melanoma awareness. She is an inspiration to me and others.  Congrats Karie!  One day soon, Karie and I are going to change the world with melanoma awareness!  Also, congrats to my friend and other melanoma warrior, Jennifer.  She just came through surgery to remove part of her lung.  She and I met during round one of our IL-2 chemo treatments. She too is a marathon runner, and we both agreed one day soon we will run together for melanoma awareness.   Way to go Karie and Jennifer. God Bless you both.

Goodnight everyone.

Love,
Andy

Posted by andy in His Own Words