09/13/1962 — 11/05/2008
In February 2006, we discovered a swollen gland on James’ left neck. The PCP gave him 2 weeks of antibiotics and told him to come back in 1 month. There was no change so a biopsy was performed.
The path report came back melanoma. Knowing this wasn’t the primary site since melanoma is a skin cancer they did futher examinations and found a small grayish “freckle” appearing spot at the top of his head which was smaller than a pencil eraser. This was determined to be the primary site.
After 3 surgeries to his scalp, they were able to get clear edges and a radical neck was done, which removed 44 clear lymph nodes. These surgeries took a 4 inch in diameter circle section of his scalp and left a large Y shaped scar to his neck from just below his left ear down to his shoulder and towards the center of his neck. However, this was not the end of his surgeries. Even after radiation and many different chemos and clinical trial drugs he would undergo the removal of his right humerus and then the removal of a portion of a spinal tumor that was strangulatiing his spinal cord; nearly paralyzing him.
His battle would continue with another tumor forming in his left neck growing so large that one couldn’t see his left ear and he couldn’t turn his head nor could he hear out of that ear.
He fought hard and long but after 2 1/2 years he lost his battle at the age of 46.