Leaving on a Jet Plane… for GSK Melanoma Summit

I am currently on a plane heading to Philadelphia for a meeting being sponsored by Glaxosmithkline (GSK) for a group of melanoma bloggers and non profit representatives. We will be comparing notes on what methods of communication are best working for us, what we feel is needed and how GSK can help us spread awareness of melanoma. Also the hope in current treatments and trials as well as prevention.

 

One of the most exciting parts of this trip for me will be meeting some of the people who are in my online support group while we are all in Philly. I am so excited to meet Jen and Steve Martin from A Bump in the Road.  Erin from Melanoma and the City will be there. T.J. Sharpe who writes a blog Patient One for Philly.com will be there as well as Rich McDonald from Hotel Melanoma.

 

We have some time planned for sightseeing as well. I am not the only one in our group who hasn’t been to Pennsylvania before.

 

For now, my flight has just left Tucson and is headed to Dallas. I was up too late and too early and am hoping to rest, although my super fancy germ mask (I swear, I should have sharpied “I’m on chemo on it not carrying some dangerous pathogen!”) and being right a super loud row behind the engines in a middle seat may keep me up this leg. Time to read my favorite magazine, Edible Baja Arizona!

Melanoma Monday

Today is Melanoma Monday, a day to focus on raising awareness of melanoma. My friend and fellow warrior Timna from Respect the Rays made this wonderful awareness video. It’s worth the two minutes and 14 seconds to watch it. Pass it on and make sure you respect the rays! My profile picture on Facebook and Twitter have gone black in honor of my friends who I’ve lost and my fellow warriors.

 

 

More good news

I had my oncologist appointment and treatment yesterday. Everything is smaller and disappearing! Yay! He compared my armpit tumor from a year ago and said it was smaller than a baseball, larger than a golf ball a year ago. New scans show it reduced to a few pieces, largest is marble sized. Really fabulous news!
We also had parent/teacher conferences and both my children have worked very hard to achieve being on the principal’s honor roll. Then the Wildcats won a very hard-fought victory last night! Amazing game and fabulous day!
Thank you all for the continued prayers!

Happy birthday to my Daniel

Today is Danny’s 36 birthday! Happy birthday my love! We met at a New Year’s Eve Y2K  party for which the favors were flashlights  I especially remember meeting Daniel because about ten days prior a good friend had said out of the blue and said “Martha, someday you are going to marry Danny Bishop!” I replied with a “Huh, that was kind of random.” But the name stuck in my head so when I was introduced to a Daniel Bishop at the Y2K party, I took note. Yes he was cute! We didn’t begin chatting online for a few more months. But once we did, AOL IMs flew fast and furious. It was a nice way to get to know someone and crushes quickly developed. I was going to school in Flagstaff while Danny was working in Tucson. One night I was upset about something and Danny asked for my phone number and I would not give it to him! I wasn’t intentionally playing hard to get. I just didn’t want our first phone call to be me crying. Daniel was exasperated but patient. A theme for the years to come! We went on our first date (my first date ever!) while I was home for Easter break.  We officially began dating/courting/serious (you might have been youth in the evangelical church in the late 90’s if you followed the courtship guidelines of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye“) On June 5, 2000, We had our DTR (define the relationship- another late 90’s youth group phrase) and decided to begin dating with the intention that we were looking at each other as a potential spouse. Oh how serious we were! We got engaged in November of 2000. And our wedding was June 2, 2001. We were babies. I was 21, Danny was 23. But, it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Daniel is my rock, I still have a major crush on him (He looks like Matt Damon! Yum!) He is eternally patient with me, even when I blab at him for hours or don’t live up to domestic standards my name implies. He is THE hands down smartest person I know and is not only talented intellectually, as a web designer, writer, artist and in a million other ways at work and home; he is socially brilliant as well. Smart and kind and I haven’t yet met a person who doesn’t adore him. (Back off ladies, he’s MINE!) He adores our children and the best and most selfless Dad I know (and I am picky-I have a phenomenal Dad.) 

In addition to today being his birthday, November is Care Giver awareness month in the cancer world. From Sept 17, 2009 when I asked Danny to come home and hug me because the dermatologist had called and said my mole was malignant melanoma and none of us (Danny, the dermatologist nor I) knew what that meant except that it was scary, to sitting with me though hellish weeks in the hospital getting no sleep, to playing bad cop when people aren’t looking out for my best. Our marriage and this cancer journey have been quite a ride and Danny has NEVER backed down or taken a break from the unwavering support he has given me. I am SO blessed and lucky to have him walking this journey with me.

Daniel, my words fail me. You are my favorite and I say yes every second of every minute of every day for the rest of our long lives. I pray you are overwhelmed with love today as we celebrate you.

Yes everyday. I love you. Happy burpday!

Melanoma Walk 2013 Information

Hello Team Mela-no-mas!

 

First, let me thank you SO much for the incredible outpouring of support this shows us. I had a fantastic appointment with my oncologist yesterday in which he described my current status as being “phenomenal.” So, tomorrow is a day to celebrate how FAR we have come!

 

Location: The University of Arizona Cancer Center – North Campus (Parking lot is south of Allen Road)

 

The Melanoma Walk festivities run from 2-6pm.

2pm-3:30 Arrive and check in on the south side of the building (along Allen Road)

2-3:40pm There are booths inside and out with sun safety information and lots of freebies! Make sure to grab your weight in sunscreen samples! 😉

3:3:30 Look nearby the registration for a Team Mela-NO-MAS setup handing out tees. Look for gray tees and a Team Mela-NO-MAS! sign.

3:40 Team photo at Gazebo Area outside the Diamond Pavilion Entrance (west side of the building)

4pm Time to warm up and walk! Don’t forget to cross the finish line and grab your swag bag!

After you finish the walk, there will be Chick-fil-a sandwiches, cheese pizza (for those who don’t eat meat) as well as Eegees available! They also usually have a nice raffle and awards for the highest fundraisers at the end of the walk.

 

If you can’t find us or have question, please feel free to call Daniel or Martha. Of course, please remember your sun protection! We are so honored to have you walk with us. If you take photos, please share them with us! marthabishop@gmail.com, bishless@gmail.com, send to our cell numbers, or on FB!

 

Huge thanks to BeachFleischman for their generous support over the past couple years and for sponsoring our team shirts this year. We’re immensely grateful!

 

Again, we are so honored to have you join us!

With much hope,

Martha

 

October 6th Prayer Request

Couple prayer requests to throw out if anyone wants them. I am improving on the steroids. No more headaches or strobe lights in my right eye! Yay! The worst part now is dealing with side effects from meds. The seizure med makes me low and the steroid makes me high! So… I’m not sleeping much.  Tomorrow I am having a follow up lumbar puncture to make sure the meds are working, although based on side effects, it is fairly clear to me that they are clearing things up! Not very excited about the lumbar puncture, but it wasn’t awful last time. Praying it goes even better tomorrow. This isn’t my favorite season in life, but my kids are so sweet to me. No school to deal with this week and this inflammation is treatable, it’s not new disease! Counting my blessings!

Sept 3 and 5 Diary of a brain issue…

From emails to our prayer group.

This was the beginning of an auto-immune reaction which my oncologist believes Yervoy, a treatment I finished mid 2012 triggered in my stable brain tumor. It caused swelling around a dead tumor in my brain.

Sept 3- Hey all. I am at sprouts. Danny is on his way to get me. I am having flashing lights in my vision terribly. This is the same symptom I had with the brain tumors before. This time it’s much worse. Waiting on a call to see if I need to go to the er. Please pray it’s simple inflammation and not new tumors and that it will go away! We are abandoning a car at sprouts. Danny might need help getting it later. Thanks all. I feel fine, my vision is just incredibly impaired and I’m scared about what this might mean.

We are picking up the kids right now and taking them to Grammie’s school. Then heading to UMC’s ER for an MRI to see what is going on.

UPDATE: MRI results just in. No new lesions in her brain!!!
SO RELIEVED!
I think we’ll be out of here shortly and will pick up the kids from Martha’s parents on the way home. Thank you for lifting us up today. Please continue to pray for our Martha.

Sept 5- Another reason for celebration tonight. I saw an ophthalmologist today and my eyes are fine. There was some suspicion that my symptoms were caused by uvitius, a side effect of immune disorders (which my past and present treatments can emulate.) Thankfully my diagnosis was ocular migraine without pain and there is no reason to follow up at this point. It was quite a scary experience because it was so similar to my brain tumor symptoms, but we are thankful for a clear MRI and eye exam! Oh, and a clear skin check from my favorite TWO dermatologists today!

If only this was really the end of that journey…

Aug 17- Pray for Amy

I have been doing great since my surgery, but I wanted to post a request for prayer for one of my melanoma friends, Amy. Amy named my tumor that I just had removed for me (it’s name was Beelzebub.) Amy has a scary tumor of her own named Roscoe. Roscoe is in Amy’s heart! Boo hiss! Amy is on the same anti-pd1 trial I am on, but is having her treatment paused because she is having major blood count issues and they are having trouble finding a reason. Would you be willing to pray for this sweet woman who checks on me even as she wages her own battle? Pray for wisdom for her doctors and that she can get back onto her treatment. Anti-pd1 was working to beat back Roscoe and I want her to get her next dose! You can read more about Amy’s journey on her blog.http://nashvegasmom.wordpress.com/

Aug 14- Getting out of the house post surgery

Forgive the cross posting, please! I attended Parent Information Night tonight. My kiddos have fabulous teachers this year! I am excited for the possibilities the new year brings! It was SO good to be out of the house for a bit.
I am feeling good. My pain level post surgery is much lower than my tumor pain was pre surgery. Hoping that without the tumors, my immune system will be able to focus on reducing some of the tumors in my lungs and my armpit!

Decisions and Possible Surgery

Tomorrow afternoon Danny and I will meet with my oncology surgeon to discuss having my painful surface tumor(s) removed. We would appreciate prayers as we communicate with him and also hopefully will be able to talk to my main oncologist about our plan moving forward. We want to make sure that surgery doesn’t prevent my entering any trials nor do we want to delay further treatment and allow melanoma to gain footing while I recover from surgery. It does encourage us that both of my oncologists (surgical and melanoma specialist) feel that my disease is stable enough for me to take a treatment break to have this surgery. We believe removing these tumors will lessen my chronic pain and improve some quality of life issues. Please pray for wisdom and clarity for both of my doctors as well as Danny and me. Also, please pray that my main oncologist would be available to step in and consult with us during this appointment. I am so blessed to be treated at my clinic where the doctors work so closely together. Thank you all!