03/08/1955 — 03/11/2013
My husband suffered with melanoma off and on for 7 years. The first occurrence was on his back in the form of a mole. As a child he had a third degree burn on his back from the sun in the exact same area the mole showed up at. The first surgery resulted in a 6-inch scar across his back. The next occurrence showed up in a tumor on his right side just below his armpit. He had all his lymph nodes removed and underwent 1 year of interferon. He went into remission for 3 years after the treatment.
He went in for his annual PET scan in January 2011, and the results showed tumors in his lungs. He was classified as Stage IV melanoma and given 6 months to 1 year to live. Our only hope was a new drug trial with BRAF inhibitor. The studies had shown some patients had lived for about 1 year longer on the drug, but the immune system broke down at the 1-year mark. Jeff lived 1 year and 6 months on BRAF.
In September 2012, a PET scan showed melanoma in his brain. The only treatment was gamma knife radiation followed by Zelboraf. The radiation did have some success, but he was unable to tolerate the Zelboraf. Starting in October 2012 until January 2013, he spent at least 2 weeks out of every month in the hospital. In January 2013 he decided he couldn’t live this way anymore. He signed on to Hospice.
We were lucky to have him much longer then they had originally said. But I can’t say that takes care of my pain. He is forever in my thoughts, and my heart aches with longing and sorrow that I no longer have him by my side. The last years with him were bittersweet; we had time to laugh and cry together, to say all we needed to say.
I will never love as I loved him. We had an extraordinary connection. Even to this day I still feel him around me. He is never far from me.
Jane Paul, wife