One neat thing about Blogspot is the ability to track how my readers found their way to my blog. I’m sure other blogging platforms have the same capability. I can see from which sites people clicked a link to BITNP. Most links come from Facebook or other blog sites such as Welcome to the Hotel Melanoma, Attitude of Gratitude,Adventures With My Enemy…Melanoma, or Strong-Enough. However, sometimes the sites seem a little odd (such as “catch-a-cheater.com”…if you’re having an affair, be advised that your spouse might be tracing your links!). Additionally, I can determine which search words in Google led readers to my site. In most cases, the search words include “black,” “pink,” or “melanoma.” Again, once in a while I have an odd series of words or a phrase pop up. And then sometimes, it catches my eye for another reason. The other day, the following phrase appeared:
Does Melanoma Hurt?
I have to wonder why someone typed those words. Could it be that they have a friend, family or loved one that has melanoma and this person is just too scared to ask such questions? Or perhaps this person was recently diagnosed with melanoma and trying to see what he/she can expect. It seems like a naïve question, but I imagine there’s a deeper reason for the search.
As for the answer…well, as I’ve stated before, I don’t have melanoma, so I’m not really qualified to answer. But it made me think of my brother Jeff and the few times he discussed his condition.
When he was first diagnosed in 2004, he didn’t raise any real alarms. I would assume it was caught early as he never conveyed to what stage the cancer had progressed. He…well…merely “had it cut out” and never spoke much more about it again. All I do remember is that he mentioned the golf-ball sized crater in his back, but no pain associated with cutting it out.
When the beast returned in 2010, Jeff didn’t complain to me much about the pain. But there was plenty of suffering. When I visited him three months before he died (only a couple of weeks after his diagnosis), he was bloated from the steroids, bald, required a cane to walk, rapidly losing his eyesight, and having great difficulty with short-term memory (often pausing to recognize me in the middle of a conversation). He never mentioned the physical pain…but he suffered. He also had Type II diabetes and he had many complications with his sugar levels. When he flew to MD Anderson, they had to spend the first 3 or 4 days keeping him from a diabetic coma…the meds had him way out of whack. He definitely suffered…but I’m not sure about whether or not it hurt.
As for me…I felt great emotional pain during his ordeal. His widowed wife continues to feel an incredible loss…calling me in tears in the middle of the night even 16 months after his passing and asking me “why?” My father lost his first born son and while he continues to show me great love, I can see the toll my brother’s death has taken. For all of us, it has hurt…and continues to hurt.
But again, I can’t answer directly…so I posed the question on Facebook. And many people responded as such:
“Actually it didn't hurt until the doctor picked up the knife to cut it out...That was last August and when I scratch my back where the scar is it still hurts occasionally.” – Jill
“Yes it hurts! My twin sister has it and it went terminal and surgery is not an option so every day I see her in pain. She recently lost all her hair and it breaks my heart because there is nothing I can do about it! She has been thru so much just within the last year. This has spread so quickly and now is on her brain. But we will keep on fighting this!!!” – Julie
“It hurts every day when I remember my mom, who had melanoma return after being disease free for 13 yrs. first in her foot in 1997, then in her thigh and colon in Dec 2010, then in her brain in May in 2011, passed in Dec 2011...the nastiest cancer there is.....” - Laurie
“I'd take the physical pain over the emotional pain any day.” – Chelsea
So mystery Google reader…if your search for “Does Melanoma Hurt?” continues, I hope it leads you back here to read these comments. If you or a loved one suffers from this horrible cancer, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
And to answer your question… based on the comments shared…yes, melanoma hurts.