I feel like I blinked and all of a sudden it was September again. This month (and just generally this time of year) brings back floods of memories I’d love to forget. Social media memories reminded me again that two years ago in September, my world was turned completely upside-down. (LOL as if I need social media to remind me, those dates are burned in my brain). Last year, it was the first anniversary of my diagnosis and it felt like every day I woke up with some sort of PTSD from the year prior. So far, this year has been very different.
This September not only marks 2 years since I was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, but a whopping 7 years since my first melanoma! I remember on my 5 year anniversary, I was so excited to be melanoma-free for 5 years. Turns out there were melanoma tumors all over my body -- not exactly the 5 year anniversary I was hoping for.
Lately, I’ve been having dreams that my melanoma has come back. I had a very real-feeling dream where I was having some sort of endoscopy or stomach procedure. In my dream, I woke up during the procedure but couldn’t figure out how to open my eyes. They were still so heavy from the medication, but I could hear the doctors talking about how they identified a melanoma tumor in my stomach somewhere. (Side note, I’m not entirely sure why it’s in my stomach, but it’s a dream so strange things happen.) I started crying in the middle of the procedure because this was the news I dreaded hearing. That we’d have to go through this AGAIN. When I finally woke up, I was in a major funk. I knew it was just a dream, but it was so vivid in my mind that I felt like I had to emotionally process my fake recurrence. One would think that the further I get away from my diagnosis, the more secure I would feel. But actually, quite the opposite is happening. The further I get away from my treatment, the more I worry that I’m back to the same body that got me here in the first place. And apparently my subconscious is trying to prepare me for the worst case scenario.
When a friend on Instagram asked me to join AiM at Melanoma’s virtual Steps Against Melanoma I couldn’t say no. A group of us made a team and started fundraising immediately. It gave me the opportunity to put my energy into something positive alongside some of the most inspirational women I’ve ever met. These ladies are total bad asses and complete warriors. I’m so grateful and thankful that we found each other.
Yesterday was the two year anniversary of my oncologist appointment that started everything. Yesterday I got to spend some quality time video chatting with my team of warriors. Rather than relive the avalanche that was my life in 2018, I was completely in awe of these ladies. There is something about coming together with folks with similar passions and experiences that is so damn inspiring. I logged off zoom and my heart was so, so happy. We’re already talking about a retreat or some sort of in person gathering once COVID slows down.
Today, I walked. I took Nivo for a two mile walk around the neighborhood and proudly wore my AiM at Melanoma “Melanoma Warrior” t-shirt. We walked to honor those that we’ve lost, to support those that are still fighting and to celebrate those that have survived. Today, I’m proud to be a melanoma warrior alongside my bad ass warrior friends.
If you’re interested in donating to our team, I’ll drop a link below.