Monday, April 19, 2010


It was with some misgiving that I gave "melanoma" credit in the title. I resent the time it takes from me and the sadness and worry it brings to those I love. I do not wish to give it any more attention than I must. However, it is the monster in the middle of the room, that will not be swept under the rug, and I have never been one to turn away from reality so there it is.

It's been a 7 year dance with the monster, beginning in 2003 when I was a student in the Pediatric NP program at UAB. I had a resection of the initial lesion, sentinel nodes removed, and after one of those was positive, an entire lymphadenectomy of the right axillae. It was a scary time, seeing specialists all over the country, fearing for myself and my children, then only aged 10 and 12. But, I got through it and with the support of many of you, took an incomplete on my course work for that semester and finished that work along with regularly scheduled classes the next semester, graduating with my class as planned, for which I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a group of wonderful professors at UAB. (When trying to thank one of them for all their work on my behalf, she replied, "What did you think we would do? The bottom line is: We're nurses!!)

Finishing my degree was one of the best decisions of my life. Being able to provide care for children as a nurse practitioner allowed me to fulfill a goal, brought peace and joy to my life, and has given me a group of friends ("My Peeps", according to Rosie) that I can't begin to imagine a life without.

In 2007 another lesion was deposited by the monster on my left arm. It was removed and though no nodes were positive, a lymphadenectomy was completed on the left axillae. While worrisome, it seemed like things were going to be ok.

Through all this time there have been all kinds of doctor visits, scans, and X-rays to monitor the monster. In November of 09 a tubular structure was noted in my right upper lung. Since I have asthma, it was determined that it looked nothing like a metastasis and so was followed with periodic films. It never grew, but it never got better either. So my oncologist referred me to a pulmonologist. He evaluated my lung function and asthma. Watched things for a while. But, finally decided I seemed too well to have the sort of mucus plug some asthmatics can develop, did a biopsy and this past Tuesday we learned it is endobronchial melanoma. On Wednesday there were more scans and an MRI if the brain. While no additional tumors were found in my body, a 4mm something, most likely a metastasis, was found in the right frontal lobe of my brain.

So, here we are....waiting to see neuro radiologists, neuro surgeons, and a thoracic surgeon this week. And I guess that buys the monster a place in the title. -c


  1. Hey Celeste! I am SO excited you have started a blog where I can read about how you are doing... I DO wish it was under better circumstances, but I have hope that you will be able to beat this thing... I think of you and your family on a daily basis. With much love and concern,
    Your cousin, Laura

  2. Hey Laura, Give a big hug to Glo and all your little ones for me. I'm ALMOST as good a fighter as your mom. I love you. Celeste

  3. Hi Sweetie,
    How nice of Rose to come up with a way for all of us that love you to keep abreast of all that's going on without taking your time to individually update everyone. THOSE daughters!!:) Laura did the same for me using a similar method. You know that you are on all of our minds and in our hearts as you go through yet another facet of this insidious disease. I completely understand your reluctance to use "melanoma" in the title of your blog. I NEVER say "my cancer". It is NOT my cancer and I decided from the start that I would never refer to it as mine. You ARE a strong fighter! Just look how you've continued your education and succeeded after the initial diagnosis. If THAT isn't perseverance and determination, I don't know what is? Remember, we are holding you close to our hearts over the whole course of what's ahead. If you need a listening ear or ANYTHING that I could possibly do to lighten your burden, you let me know.

    I love you,
    Glo (Junior, too)