Next month, it will be 3 years since I was diagnosed. I was having problems with the vision in my left eye…seeing spots, flashing lights …and I noticed one morning that I couldn’t see out of the top half of my eye. The Dr’s office got me right in when I called. After a dilating my eye, an ultrasound and a few photos, the Dr called me back in to his office and explained it all to me. I just sat there looking at the pictures.
Then he said the words “Tina. Do you understand what I’m saying? You have cancer.”
My cancer is called Choroidal Melanoma. It’s a form of skin cancer and has attached itself to the back of my left eye. Normally the cancer is caught about the size of a match stick head…mine was bigger than a penny but smaller than a nickel. My eye doctor did not dilate my eyes two years in a row. He just checked my vision for new contacts. If he had of, the tumor could have been caught much smaller that it was. So, when you see your eye Dr., please be sure he dilates your eyes so he can look behind them.
The treatment for my cancer was radiation. If… not when…but IF it spreads, I will take chemo.
He then scheduled an appointment for me to see an Opthalmic Oncologist in Memphis. .
I had to stay at the Cancer Center in Memphis for nine days…I came home the day before Christmas Eve. A radiation implant was surgically attached to the back of my eye and then surgically removed 8 days later. You’d think it would be uncomfortable wearing that thing, but it wasn’t. If I lowered my bottom lid, I could see part of the implant. Other than that, I just had to wear a shield over my eye to keep others from being subjected to the radiation. The radiation kills the tumor over time.
I’m going to spare you the photos…no sense in showing you how awful I looked at the time. But I will tell you this…..I got a lot of stares and I scared small children…the stares I could deal with…scaring the children made me sad. So, I made a point to wear a patch if I went out. My eye was inflamed and very blood shot.
I see two different Oncologists, (one for my eye, and one to run CT and bone scans to see if the cancer has spread) a Retina Specialist (who gives steroid injections in my eye to help the retina heal….and YES…OUCH!) and a Dermatologist ( to check my skin, since it is Melonoma)…They will be my doctors for the rest of my life…They are all very caring, loving, awesome doctors!
To sum it up…I have lost the vision in my eye, I still see a few flashing lights (but nothing like I was), I have to use reading glasses for my good eye and I’ve had surgery to repair my eyelid so I can open my eye better now. And…the BEST NEWS!….the tumor is still getting smaller…and the cancer has not spread! Wooo Hoooo! Yay me! Yay God!!!
I told my doctors in the very beginning that I was going to be a miracle patient. I’ve got prayer warriors all over the world praying for me! So far, I have beat the odds on my cancer. I give that credit to God. My doctors are happy to see me each time I show up at my appointment.
It could take two more years for the tumor to be completely gone. But, I’m okay with that. I’m alive…and while I’m alive…I will keep living. I have a lot to live for…and God’s not finished with me yet!
Once again, I would like to just thank each and every one of you who have invited us into your lives, shared your stories, shared your fears, your pain, your triumphs and your tragedies. It’s been an amazing month for me…and I plan to give back more in the future.
The winner of the KitchenAid, and all the accessories is…Rhonda Darbro! Congratulations, Rhonda!
Tomorrow starts November, a month of Thanksgiving. Any ideas on what we should do?
I’m so excited that I won!!!! Thank you so much! And, thank you so much for sharing your story! It is so much like my Dad’s. The only big difference is the process of the treatment. His eye was completely removed and then he had radiation. Thank you again and you are in my thougts and prayers!