Survivor Stories

Gary Ham, Stage IV

My name is Audrey Ham. My husband’s journey started in January 2009. He had a nodule on his left shoulder, and he kept picking at it and making it bleed so I told him to go have it checked out. The doctor took it out and said she didn’t get it all, and she threw it in the trash. She told him it was nothing to worry about.

The next year went by, and a black spot appeared where the nodule had been. So we went back to the same doctor, and she said she was going to send him to a specialist. We went to another doctor who cut it out even deeper. A week later she called and told us it was melanoma.

In April 2010, he had surgery to remove it. They took a lymph node out of his neck and two from under his armpit, and there was no cancer. They went all the way down to the muscle on his shoulder. The surgeon said he got all of it. In June 2010, the doctor called and said they wanted him to see an oncologist. My heart just sunk! The cancer doctor had him put a port in and started him on interferon. But he only took four treatments because it made him sooo sick.

Move ahead to 2011. Everything had been okay until September 2011. His iron was low, so he started having iron infusions; then later he started losing blood. They did CAT scans, and finally in January they did a CAT scan of his chest and pelvic area and abdomen and found three spots on his small bowel. Another surgery found it came back melanoma. What a horrible day! The surgeon said there was none anywhere else, so his cancer doctor sent us to Barnes Cancer Center in St. Louis. His cancer doctor and the cancer specialist said there was nothing to treat as of now. They have a treatment ready for him when or if it comes back.

He is retired now, and we are enjoying every day and trusting God to get us through this!!!