Tag Archives: neck
So I’ve been pretty absent from photography lately and it’s because I’ve been dealing with cancer.
I felt a lump in my neck in December of 2011, figuring it was just an enlarged lymph node from the start of a cold or something, I let it go for another month. When it didn’t go away and I hadn’t actually been sick at all, I decided to go get it checked out. In early February I got a call that my biopsy results were in. It was cancer. They knew it was cancer, but they couldn’t tell me what kind. They needed more info. Fast forward through CT/PET/MRI scans, two more biopsies and lots of waiting, I was finally diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in mid April 2012.
I then had all of the lymph nodes on the right side of my neck removed and most of my parotid gland taken out as well. I’m still recovering from that extensive surgery and willhave a sweet scar down that side of my neck forever. The good news is that of the 50+ nodes that were removed from my neck only the two we already knew about had any sign of melanoma in them. We still don’t know where it came from, I don’t have any suspicious moles or anything. I’m told that melanoma can occasionally just manifest itself inside a lymph node. It’s likely that I’ll never know.
So, the problem with melanoma is that it’s a pesky sonofabitch and you can never be sure it won’t come back. In order to limit those odds I’m doing everything I can to stop it or push off a recurrence until there’s a cure (fingers crossed!). That treatment involves 4 weeks of radiation to my surgery site and then 12 months of high dose interferon. Interferon is an immunostimulant that kicks your immune system into high gear to hopefully kill any microscopic melanoma left after the surgery and radiation. It makes you feel like you’ve got the flu and it makes you feel really tired as well. So it’s going to be a tough year, no doubt about that. The worst part by far is that I had to shave my beard! Ugh, I don’t recognize that guy in the mirror yet.
The good news is that I’m getting my treatment done at Stanford University’s Cancer Center so I’m in really good hands. And the best news of all is that I have a fabulous fiance who will be here supporting me every step of the way. (We actually got engaged while I was recording the image at the top of this post. :) We took a long weekend in Lone Pine just before my surgery. I’d been planning it all along, but cancer wasn’t a part of that plan. I’m really glad I was able to go on with my plan amidst these circumstances.)
I’m planning on using this blog as a place to post updates and hopefully some images if my body allows. I’m not sure I’ll be able to shoot as actively as I have been able to do over the past year, but I definitely need a creative outlet and sure I’ll find something to shoot.