Interview with melanoma warrior: Michelle
Michelle is an Australian who knows exactly how to turn your hair into a work of art. And she also defeated stage 3&4 metastatic melanoma and now continues to fight endometriosis.Follow @mish.melanoma
Then Michelle was waiting for several operations, as nodular melanoma appeared and appeared. To stop the growth of tumors, the heroine began to undergo radiotherapy, in which the tumors receive a lethal dose of radiation for them and are destroyed.
"The lovely radiation therapist lead me into the treatment room. I climbed up onto the cold rigid metal table. My arms were put in a mold above my head and gel packs were placed on my chest.
I looked up at four quadrants on the ceiling that gave a multisensory illusion of the sky. Tears slowly fell from my eyes, rolling down the sides of my face toward my ears, as the weight of what I had already endured and what was still ahead settled in."
In parallel with radiotherapy, Michelle received a "cocktail" of immunotherapy. And all in order for the cancer to recede. But the body failed.
"My combination Immunotherapy treatment had been stopped as I had been fair to unwell to handle treatment. I was so worried not being on any form of cancer treatment. My surgeon had taken a biopsy of my pigmented rash to see if active melanoma was still present. This would determine what we would do next…"
After recovering at home, Michelle had the strength to continue immunotherapy. At that moment, radiotherapy also began to work - tumors of nodular melanoma began to gradually disappear. When only a segment remained of them, the heroine underwent a series of cosmetic procedures to remove a reminder of the tumor from her chest.
After recovering at home, Michelle had the strength to continue immunotherapy. At that moment, radiotherapy also began to work - tumors of nodular melanoma began to gradually disappear. When only a segment remained of them, the heroine underwent a series of cosmetic procedures to remove a reminder of the tumor from her chest. The treatment is not over yet and Michelle is still receiving immunotherapy, but she has already managed to "curb the dragon" inside herself!
Michelle began her battle with melanoma in 2018, when a large mole began to grow and itch on her chest. She showed the mole to the doctor, who immediately decided to conduct a biopsy.
"The biopsy was done using local anaesthetic which is injected into the area with a very small needle. I felt a small prick and a little stinging as the anaesthetic is injected, but didn’t feel any pain during the biopsy.
By Saturday night my GP called me and told me my biopsy results had came back positive to Melanoma. My heart sunk. I will never forgot that phone call."
After the biopsy, the doctor removed the stitches.
"I remember feeling very uncomfortable at first because of my scar (which now makes me laugh, because it was going to get much bigger soon!), so I taped it with microporous tape before the operation."
After that, Michelle had to undergo a wide excision and removal of the nearest lymph node to understand how far the melanoma had penetrated.
"Waiting for the operation was excruciating.... I soon found out that waiting was always the hardest part."
After surgery, the diagnosis became clear - stage 3 melanoma. In December, immunotherapy began, which consisted of 26 rounds, which took a year.
"I was asked what allergies I had, was given a wristband and then sat in the waiting area of the day therapy unit. It was so hard seeing so many unwell people in there. Still to this day I find waiting rooms the hardest places to be in. After about an hour I was brought through to the back where there was rooms & rooms full of patients on drips. It was very overwhelming seeing so many people with cancer."
After treatment, everything seemed to be getting better, but 2020 came - a nodular melanoma appeared on the right forearm. The oncologist sent for repeated removal, in which a wide excision was also performed and the tumor was completely removed. But melanoma decided not to give up so easily.
"2021 - The start of my third nightmare…
Melanoma came up 2cms away from my primary melanoma scar line. It originally looked like a Cherry Angioma. Then it changed from red to dark brown. It was elevated, had a symmetrical border, was smooth & didn’t hurt to touch. It wasn’t bleeding or itchy and looked different to the Nodular melanoma that I had removed off my arm in 2020.
I was soon to learn that it would start to multiple…and fast."