Help Tanya Fight Her Battle!
At the age of 28 with an 8 month old baby, Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma are not words that anyone would like to hear. Unfortunately, that is my reality.I was initially diagnosed 5 and 1/2 years ago at age 23, 4 months after my wedding. The diagnosis came as Ocular Melanoma, a melanoma that grows inside of the eye. The tumor was very large and required a great deal of radiation. I tolerated that well being so young, but lost my vision 2 weeks later. After the radiation burned my eyelid and eyelashes, I was left with a horrible reminder of what was happening. Someone suggested getting an eyelash transplant, something I had never heard of. I found a plastic surgeon that was willing to do it, and he transplanted hair from my head onto my lash line. It worked beautifully.About a year later, I began having significant pain in my diseased eye. It turned out that I had developed glaucoma due to the radiation. My eye pressure got so high that I had no choice at that time but to remove my eye. I tried everything I could to prevent losing it. However, after it was removed, I felt a sense of relief. It was the best decision I had made. I was pain free, and the tumor was out of my body.I felt so great for the next 3 years, that my husband and I moved into a new home, I started my career, and we decided to have a baby. We welcomed our son in September of 2011.Then, during a routine scan in May of 2012, we received devastating news. There were 2 tumors in my liver. The doctor gave us a few options, but told us this is Stage 4 and reminded us of the seriousness. One of the options was surgery. This was a blessing because surgery is generally not an option. We opted for surgery and it was performed on July 3, 2012. The surgeons successfully removed the tumors and about 1/4 of my liver.I will continue to see my doctor and get scans and treatment to manage my disease. Unfortunately, because of the rarity of this cancer, some treatments will not be local and we will need to travel to receive them.Ocular Melanoma is a rare but aggressive cancer. It affects only six people per million per year, but has a 50% chance that it will turn into Stage 4. Dilated eye exams are important to rule out this and many other eye diseases.This will be something I will struggle with and fight for the rest of my life. I will exert all of my strength and energy to be here for a long time to watch my perfect little baby grow up.
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