The 5-year survival rate for patients with localized melanoma is 99%.

For the last two weeks this has been my mantra. I repeat it at least 10,000 times a day.

On Thursday, August 5 my phone rang. It was my Lyz. I could tell by the tone of her voice this wasn’t a great call, or a Hi!! How are you call. She asked if we were busy. Um, no. At this point it was still a struggle for me to walk standing up straight.

L-Can you come over?
L-I want to have a family meeting.
H-Is everything okay?
L-I don’t want to talk about it over the phone.
H-I love you.
L-Love you too…with a crack in her voice and a click.

Jenn is now convinced that Lyz is either pregnant, or divorcing us. I tell Jenn I know Lyz isn’t pregnant (I, of course, know exactly what cycle day she is on), I can’t see her divorcing us. And my morbid mind starts thinking of the worst.

One of the girls is sick.
Chris got shot at work.
Both of the girls is sick.
Delmar or Roxanne’s cancer has taken a turn for the worse. (If it was Delmar’s case, I don’t even want to think about his being worse)

We get there and Jenn is even more convinced that they are divorcing us because Joni’s car isn’t there. If this was a sad announcement, Lyz would have had her mother there, right?

We get inside and the girls are eating dinner. Lyz and Chris seem “off” but it doesn’t seem like something major. My pulse begins to slow down a little.

Until Joni walks through the door. I stopped breathing. Something major is wrong.

Lyz asks Jenn, Joni and I to follow her to the formal living room, Chris stays at the table with the girls.

Lyz had a dermatologist appointment a week earlier. She had told me about it at one of their softball games. I used to beg and plead with Lyz to get all of her spots checked. One day she listened! She has been going faithfully every six months since. This past visit the Dr. looked at a spot on her hip and asked Lyz if it was new. Well, you can’t really see that part of your body, unless you are a contortionist. The Dr. figured she would take it off, just to be safe.

The spot is a melanoma. Go and Goggle melanoma. The very first entry says “Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease.”

When the words came out of Lyz’s mouth I gagged and gasped. Even though I would berate her about it all those years ago, I never actually thought she would get skin cancer. The most dangerous type of skin cancer at that.

The things that flashed through my head were scary. Lyz explained that she is less afraid of dying, then she is angry about the fact that if this was to kill her, she would miss the girls growing up. At that point I switched to my eternal optimist mode.

We spent the next few days all worrying. What is going to happen? Has it spread to other spots in her body? Is it just a few cells in that one spot. Do we need to start a video diary for Lyz so that she can say all the things she wants to say to the girls as they get older. I started planning these video segments. We would record Lyz’s words of wisdom on such days as first date, period, the death of a friend, engagement, wedding, pregnancy. I’ll stop. I have pages and pages saved of ideas for video segments.

For the first time in my life, I was scared of something like this. Usually I live in denial central. I’m not one of those “prepare for the worse because it is always better to be prepared and proved wrong than be all happy and be shot down.” But I felt sick every time I thought about it.

Last Tuesday she went to meet the surgeon. We all waited to hear what the surgeon would say. Would this just be a simple remove the area around the spot? Or would they have to dig deeper and would she need chemo and radiation?

We all let go of our breath when my Lyz texted that the surgeon believes that they will be able to get it all out through surgery. I’m still scared a little. But Lyz and I have a plan to take pictures of every square inch of her body, and even do a monkey style scalp checking. I have faith that surgery will bring an end to this cancer. And I know that we will all be prepared to watch spots and be ahead of the game.

I want to send thanks to Lyz’s dermatologist. She told Lyz that the spot didn’t look dangerous. She only took it because it might be new. Maybe. It could have been there forever and had just gone unnoticed. Thank you for taking the spot. Thank you for taking it just in case. Thank you for saving my Lyz.

Her surgery is today at 11:45am. Please send good thoughts and prayers to the universe. I cannot lose my Lyz.

(yes, I know I keep calling her my Lyz, when I’m really like 5th in line to claim her (after Avery, Delaney, Chris and Joni), but this is my blog. And on my blog she is all mine.)

P.S. Dear Universe, enough with the cancer dammit.


8 thoughts on “The 5-year survival rate for patients with localized melanoma is 99%.

  1. Oh my gosh… Well, those 99% odds are really, really good–only 1% away from perfect! I will be thinking about her and you guys, too!

  2. Praying for Lyz and the whole family (which obviously includes you and Jenn) today. Hugs.

  3. Oh Heidi! Scary stuff! Here’s a story to cheer you up. When I was 8, my mom had melanoma. She was only 30 at the time AND she was pregnant with my little sister. They did surgery (while she was 5 mos pregnant) but did not need to do follow-up chemo/radiation. And guess what? She has been 100% fine ever since. My sister wasn’t hurt by the surgery either. And my mom is now 25 years from her melanoma diagnosis with no recurrence of any type of cancer. I know Lyz will be fine but I’m sorry you all have to go through this.

  4. Heidi, we’re “internet friends” and with so much of what you write about I just don’t know what to say, but in this case I can say with confidence “I know just how you feel” – my Dad had a melanoma removed in March and it was SCARY. Scarier than my Mom’s breast cancer two Marches before that. Melanoma is awful – your plan is awesome! You and Lyz and everyone get a big “You go, girl(s)!” for being positive and proactive about this!

    p.s. I agree with your p.s. WHOLEHEARTEDLY!

  5. I’m not seeing this until today, but I hope hope hope her surgery went well, and that they managed to get every last bit of the fucking C.

    *huuuuuuuugs* Thinking of you guys.

  6. I hope everything went well, they got it all out, and Lyz is on her way to a full recovery. I hope that since she’s so good about going every six months it was new and the doctor caught it in time before it spread anywhere else. That’s the key to melanomas and skin cancer. It’s so fatal because most people don’t catch it in time. I’m confident Lyz did get it taken care of early enough.

    Feel better soon, Lyz! Your babies need their Mamma! (And so does Heidi!)

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