Survivor Stories

Bill Ball, Stage IV

I’m 50 years old and in November of 2009 I was feeling clumsy and had a high blood pressure one day. My wife took me to the ER where they listened to my symptoms, checked my heart, and did an MRI. A Neurologist said a brain mass was present, so, I was transferred to The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). They discovered 2 spots in my lungs. A bronchoscopy and analysis revealed melanoma cells. I had a
craniotomy to remove the brain mass which the surgeon suspected cancer, and later we were told it was melanoma.

My wife is a nurse, and has totally been my advocate and caregiver. We were both shocked that the problem was Stage IV Melanoma metastasis. I am considered as having an unknown primary site.

After the craniotomy, I was unable to move my left leg so I had intensive rehab therapy to walk again. Then, I had precision radiation therapy (Gamma Knife) to the brain area to get any remaining cells. I started on Temodar chemotherapy for 5 nights every 28 days. I’d suggest to others using Temodar to drink plenty of water and take laxatives. I’ve had to have more radiation because more tumors have developed in areas of my brain.

Now I’m dealing with swelling in my brain where they did the radiation. This has caused several seizures, in December 2010 and a Grand Mal one in February of 2011.

I have worked part-time when I was able, but now in April my mobility is hampered making it hard to get around. Many tests have shown I still have my brain function and can think well, at least for anyone reaching 50.

It’s important to have an advocate, and my wife is the best. She schedules and interprets for me, the many doctors’ visits to Neurology, Oncology, Neuro-radiology, Ophthalmology, and even balance therapy. Prescriptions and ordering medication takes time for her. She is an encourager as well as my son and daughter, as it pays to stay positive. I give praise to God for each new day.

Appreciate and have fun with your family and friends.