Thomas R. Duncan

08/07/1953 — 03/06/2013

In 2009 my dad went in to have a suspicious mole checked…and that’s where it all began. It was removed and biopsied. It came back positive for melanoma. He then went to Karmanos to have lymph nodes removed. The first node was positive. He underwent another surgery to remove 12 additional nodes. Those all came out negative. We were overjoyed that it was contained to only the one lymph node and clear through the rest of his body. Little did we know that one that tested positive would get us in 2013…completely off-guard nonetheless.

In January 2013 my dad thought he was having a heart attack. We rushed him to the hospital. After a CT scan the ER doctor came in and delivered us horrible news. “There are spots on your liver & kidneys…we’re going to speculate melanoma.” Our hearts sank.

After a week in the hospital and two negative biopsies, he came home and returned to work. He just didn’t seem right after that. Yet he kept going. He followed up with the oncologist for a
PET scan. He had several “hot spots” that he had planned to have further testing on. Toward the end of February 2013, my dad came home from work completely jaundice. My heart sank because I knew it wasn’t good. After another week in the hospital and two positive biopsies he was sent home.

We met with the oncologist on February 28 and found my dad was literally full of cancer. The doctor didn’t want to offer any hope, so we agreed to admit him to the hospital and start heavy chemo and radiation the next day. However, looking at my dad the doctor said, “I’ll be honest. I think you could pass away within a week.”

My mom and dad headed for the hospital. It took EVERYTHING I had in me to tell my mom we can’t let him go through this. My dad agreed. He knew he was too sick. We took him home the next day and had hospice care for him. He passed away a week later with his family by his side.

Melanoma robbed my family, my kids and the rest of my life. I miss him more with each passing day. He was my hero…and now my guardian angel.

Jennifer Wiseman, daughter

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