10/24/1939 — 05/30/2011
My father lived and worked in Arizona for 50+ years and was diagnosed with melanoma in June 2010 after a spot was found on the top of his head. He was treated at the VA Hospital and told they felt they had gotten all of the cancer and no follow-up was needed.
In early January 2011, he was admitted to the hospital when it was suspected that he had suffered a stroke. At that time they found 17 brain tumors and 16 of those were inoperable. He underwent surgery and had a tumor larger than a golf ball removed as they said he would die within days if the tumor was not removed. My father underwent radiation and one round of chemo. However, the cancer was spreading quickly from his brain to his spine, pelvis, liver, and leg.
My father lost his speech after a couple of months, acquired a staph infection during one of his many hospitalizations, and detoriorated rapidly. He fought hard and lasted much longer than the medical professionals said he would. However, he lost his fight on Memorial Day 2011. The time from diagnosis with the brain tumors in January to his death was a mere 4 and a half months. This was heart breaking to live through and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone!
I miss my father daily and wish I could have done more to help him. He was a husband, father, grandfather, proud marine, and hard worker. I a now not only working to educate people about my own rare cancer (vulvar cancer) but am looking to reach out and educate people about melanoma.