Survivor Stories

Dawn Hart, Stage IV

This is a two-part story. Below is the first part of my story that I posted in March 2010 as a Stage III Survivor. The second part is my story I am posting now as a Stage IV Survivor.

STAGE III – March 2010
My name is Dawn Hart. I am 49 yrs. old. I have 2 daughters and a wonderful husband.

This is how my melanoma journey began…

I noticed a growth by my butt in February 2009 that my nurse practitioner told me was a hemorrhoid. She gave me prescriptions for this and nothing seemed to help at all. So, I had been having female problems and ended up having a partial hysterectomy in July. During this surgery, the doctor removed a hunk of skin we thought was either a wart or hemorrhoid.

A week later, she called and said it was Melanoma. I was devastated.

Immediately, I was sent to a cancer specialist. Within a month, I was having surgery to try and remove the cancer. They couldn’t get it all so I had an option of getting a permanent Ostomy and the anal muscle removed forever or wait out my time.

I am a Christian woman and knew I had only 1 way to stay alive. Two weeks later, I underwent my next surgery to have the Ostomy put in. They removed 3 lymph nodes also and found them all clean, no melanoma in any of them.

I thank God for Froedert Medical College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for everything they have done for me. There is a wonderful Pre-Op nurse there named Shirley that helped me when I was so afraid, and prayed with me till it was time for the surgery.

God Bless this team of wonderful nurses and doctors.

In case anyone wants to know, that was the easiest thing to contend with. Please don’t ever be afraid to have that done if it is an only option. It was scary at first, but became used to it very soon.

During one of my doctor’s visits, I had her check a lump I had noticed in my right groin area. She set me up for another biopsy to have the lymph nodes checked. Well, it came back Melanoma, too. So, in December I had surgery to remove 12 lymph nodes. I was then referred to radiation and started the end of January 2010.

I am now done with that and it went better than I thought. I had the burning only in the end and a few blisters, but all is good. The interferon (chemo) is next. I start that in 2 weeks and am a little afraid, but I have my faith and God will see me through this, too.

I am trying to learn ways to try and keep my blood cells up so I can make it through the whole year.

I have so many amazing friends and an awesome family that has helped me through all of this. I am so blessed!!!

STAGE IV – January 2011
I started Interferon in March. This is not a fun treatment but I want to try anything to keep me alive. I made it through the month of intense treatment and then went on and did 5 months of the at home treatment.

In August, I had my next scan and they found it had traveled to my Liver. There were 2 small and 1 larger spot. I was told the Inteferon was not working so off of it I was. I was afraid I was a sitting duck, because my doctor said I needed to go home and wait til it got bigger in order to do the new treatment, or have surgery to have 3/4 of my Liver removed.

I was not happy with letting it grow and spread and whatever, so I started juicing Asparagus. I had read it can kill cancer. SO I juiced 1 bunch of it every other day. I take 5 tbl. of it and add to other fruits and veggies I juice, in a 6 oz. cup, and drink this every morning and every night. Always on an empty stomach, it gets absorbed into your system faster and better this way.

After 4 months, I read the cancer would be gone. SO after 1 month of this, I decided to go for a second opinion at the Carbon Cancer center in Madison, Wisconsin. My doctor there told me once the cancer goes to your Liver you have 6 months to 1 year to live, without treatment. I told him I am a fighter and I am fighting this and I will win. He said that is the best attitude to have with cancer. I didn’t tell him of the asparagus I drink, because doctors do not believe in things like this but still continued to drink it.

He took a CT, PET, Bone, MRI scans, and a MRI of my brain. When the results were in he said I have 2 choices, 1 is Temodore ( Pill form of chemo), or a trial pill made for Melanoma. I asked him to help me decide. I had no idea.

He then told me… Dawn, you are a fighter. We will try the Temodore, and attack this right away and see if it works. I take pills for 5 days out of every month. After 1 month, he said my blood tests readings went from 208 down to 100. He said it is amazing at how quickly it is working.

The next month, when I went back for blood work and a CT scan, we found out my 2 small spots are gone and my larger spot is now 1/2 it’s size. WOW!!!!! He said I am a miracle.

I have just finished my 3 round of treatment and go back in 2 weeks. I am still drinking the asparagus. I believe the Asparagus is helping to shrink my cancer and will kill all of it my body along with the temodore. God is helping my get rid of this ugly cancer. Please try the asparagus if you can. It can’t hurt. I don’t think I would try it without treatment, though. The combo of both is probably what is healing me.

God Bless all of you and I will be back to tell my survivor story again soon!!!