13 years ago I started on a journey with other bicyclists raising money for local cancer support and research. Who thought then that I would be one of the people that research at the Cancer Center would help. I have ridden 11 of those years and supported 2 years. You may see me out on the road riding my bike. Everyone recognizes me by the white pom poms I wear on my helmet. I wear those for all the women that have lost their hair to chemo. The main reason I raise money and ride is because cancer runs in my family. My dad, my grandfather, dad's sister and brothers all died from cancer. Both of my brothers are in remission from prostate cancer. I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in January this year. The melanoma is encapsulated at my right ankle and on the plantar fasciitis. The presentation is not like other melanomas. There was and is no spot on the skin. It is subcutaneous, or under the skin. I was diagnosed at Stage 4 without a Primary; PXNOM1. That means it started somewhere else and migrated to the ankle and wherever it started it's gone and no evidence of where it started. It was a freak accident that caused it to be found. I chased a kid off the porch Halloween night and the encapsulation burst causing me to fall. The swelling did not go down and there was a slight temperature in the ankle. X Rays were taken to determine there were no broken or fractured bones in the ankle. The following month I thought the lipoma at my Achilles tendon was growing. I went to get a referral to have it removed. A couple of referrals to 2 different surgeons and a biopsy confirmed the cancer. I was then sent to the Cancer Center where our C3 money goes for research and support. Doctor Stephenson came in and said he was not expecting to see the cancer presented like this. Lymph node test came back clean meaning the cancer has not spread. Pictured with me is my granddaughter. She lost her grandmother, my son in law's mother, to pancreatic cancer 10 years ago. She did the 2 day ride in 2019. I am proud that she did this to help others with cancer.
So another journey begins for me. A negative BRAF test resulted in Doctor Stephenson telling me he had good news and bad news. The good news is the cancer is not aggressive. The bad news is he wasn't completely sure of how to treat it. He does know how to shrink it so the tumor can be removed. He started me on Immunotherapy with Keytruda every 3 weeks. With such a bizarre presentation of melanoma they are not expecting to see typical results. And there are future Challenge to Conquer Cancer rides for me to participate in. Like a good friend of mine says, we are going to plow on and keep raising money and keep riding.