Patricia Clayton

07/17/1946 — 11/20/2012

My mother was diagnosed with mucosal melanoma in October 2011. It all started with a nose bleed. She didn’t really think it was a big deal at first because she had nose bleeds when she was younger. Mom had also always had chronic sinus problems and had surgery several years prior. Although she had lost her ability to smell, we thought the surgery would alleviate all of the other issues. However, it seemed this was only the beginning.

Mom went to see an ENT regarding the nose bleeds. A biopsy was done, and it was determined to be a malignant tumor. She was referred to MD Anderson Cancer Center. The doctor said the earliest she could get the tumor removed would be January 2012. She also had an option of participating in a clinical study. She wanted the tumor removed as soon as possible.

After the surgery Mom was told she would have to undergo radiation. She would also have to have scans every 3 months to determine if the cancer had spread. The initial scans did not show any progression of the disease. We were told the cells are so tiny, they are difficult to see even in MRIs, PET scans, etc. At the end of the radiation treatment March 2011, it was time for another scan. This time there was a tumor in her liver. Mom would now have to undergo aggressive chemotherapy. She was hospitalized for 7 days and then came home for 2 weeks. Then she returned and did it all over again. She was supposed to receive six cycles of this treatment.

At first everything was going well. The doctors said better than they had seen the treatment work before. Then Mom started having pain in her chest and back. An X-ray was done, which revealed lesions in both areas. The disease then progressed to the brain and bone and too many other places to name. My mom passed away on November 20, 2012, at MD Anderson.

Through it all, mom NEVER complained. She even asked how she could volunteer. From the time she was diagnosed she said, “God, it is in your hands,” and with that faith she never wavered. To those fighting this fight and to those who stand with them, Stay Strong and God Bless You!

Inga Grinell, daughter

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