Karl Matthiessen

September 22, 1968 — October 1, 2006

“Keep me in your heart for awhile”- Neil Young

Karl was 38 when he lost his battle with melanoma. We will always remember him as a fighter, protector and inspirer. We get calls from friends who have gone to the dermatologist to get screened for skin cancer thanks to Karl’s battle. It amazes me that he is still giving even though he is not here with us. Karl is the love of my life and was an incredible father to his little girl.

In 2003, Karl’s September birthday was cut short when he was diagnosed with Stage III Melanoma. A mole on his lower back had changed into a bleeding itching mass and scans showed he had melanoma in his lymph nodes in his groin. Karl started chemotherapy and interferon in January 2004 and went into remission in July. We celebrated with a Disney Cruise in November only to come back and find out that his most recent set of scans showed the melanoma back with more swollen nodes in his groin. Karl opted to start Interleukin treatments; a week in the hospital ICU with chills, uncontrollable convulsions and high fever. Santa brought a trip to the ER and a week stay in the hospital with barely any white cells left and a New Year’s cocktail was mixed by a pharmacist.

2005 started with two more rounds of Interleukin and then surgery to remove his lymph nodes in his groin. Success! Karl was in remission again and life returned to normal. Karl’s 37th birthday present was yet more melanoma, it was back. Karl continued another couple of rounds of Interleukin stopping in November to celebrate another year with another Disney Cruise.

Karl started 2006 with four operable brain mets and melanoma spreading in his body. He went through two brain surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy to kill the cancer. He was going to start a clinical trial in September when he was hospitalized as his brain was swelling from weaning off the steroids. He died peacefully in the hospital from pneumonia with friends and family surrounding him.

He was well respected and loved. At his work the company flag flew at half mast for that week in October and 200+ people attended his memorial. We hope that he’s doing a lot of scuba diving, martini drinking and guitar playing in heaven.

He is missed but always loved. His full story is at http://www.tropicofcancerblog.blogspot.com

Celine and Anika

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