My Warrior And Her Squad
This is my amazing cancer survivor, Rachael.
On July 14, 2009 I took Rachael to see her doctor because of a mole I started noticing about two months prior. The mole looked very different than anything I had seen before and not knowing anything about melanoma or the ABCDs of Melanoma I certainly was not thinking for a moment that it was dangerous. It just looked strange. It was actually quite symmetrical and had very defined borders – almost like a wart. The surface though was cauliflower-ish and it was growing.
I took her to the doctor, had it removed right there in his office and they sent it to a pathology lab. You can read the whole story here in my first blog post: Spitzoids are not those things you shot out of a straw in the 3rd grade.
Rachael was eventually diagnosed with Stage IIIa Melanoma, which means that it had traveled to between 1 and 3 lymph nodes – in Rachael’s case, 1.
We decided to go to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for treatment where we met her oncologist, Dr. Hughes. Rachael is in love with him and acts like a complete loon in his presence. I digress.
Dr. Hughes explained to her that he is a “lump doctor” and it is his job to teach her about her “spots” so that she could learn the difference between “good spots” and “bad spots”. This is the inspiration behind the name of this website. Not only is this a SPOT where people can read about our family, get information about pediatric melanoma and connect with others but it also refers to the SPOTS that we constantly monitor on our children.
Dr. Hughes explained Rachael’s treatment path, which is very standard. You can learn more about the standard treatment of melanoma in Frequently Asked Questions.
My blog follows Rachael through two surgeries, one nasty Staph infection, a month-long stay at the Ronald McDonald House and Interferon treatments.
I also like to occasionally talk about my son Marc, because as a good friend once said, “If you can’t exploit your children on your blog then where can you exploit them?”
Words to live by.
Marc is nine years old and some days my beloved firstborn’s good looks are the main thing he has going for him. Luckily, he is REALLY good looking.
Here is my husband, Tom.
He is very cool, especially rocking his sun-safe hat. He doesn’t talk much but he lets me have my way most of the time. We’ve been married 13 years and we still like each other.
And this is a cell phone picture that I took of me and the kids.
Don’t talk to me about the quality. When you are the mom you must rely on self-portraits with a cell phone in order to make it into the picture.
Can I get a witness?
As I write this today, Rachael still has more weekly Interferon injections to go. She will have her last shot on November 20, 2010 and you are all invited to the party! We see side effects from the drug on a daily basis but they have been integrated into our “new normal” and don’t usually affect our lives.
Certainly life is different now than it was before “The Beast” thought it could come in and take up residence in my daughter’s body but when you are living with a WARRIOR, different can actually mean amazing.
Please visit the other amazing families I have had the privilege of knowing on the More Little Warriors page. If you are the parent/family member/friend of a Little Warrior you may find comfort in their stories, someone who can relate to you, or even a treatment facility or doctor near you.
Thank you for your well wishes and prayers. Please come back often and tell me you were here!