Some history as written by Julia:
Here are the details of my cancer journey.
As long as I can remember I have had a flat light brown oval large freckle on my ankle, when I was 18 it started to get a little raised and VERY itchy, it itched so much that I couldn't really focus at work. So I went to a walk in clinic, I didn't have a family Dr at the time. I still remember waiting in that office for what seemed like forever, and I stared at the posted that hangs in all of those walk in clinic rooms. It had all the signs of skin cancer on it, and I thought what are the odds but it is doing some of those things. So I nervously asked that Dr when he came in if my spot could possibly be skin cancer. He told me I am too young for that kind of cancer and told me I had dry skin, so I should get a good moisturizer and apply it to the spot.
I did that and the itching didn't stop. the bump got bigger and so I went back to another Dr who told me has no idea what it is but that it is fine. I asked to see a dermatologist but never got a referral. I saw a few more Dr's over the years, I was told it was a wart most of the time but it looked nothing like a wart. It had changed size, shape, and color, and was still very itchy.
I went to see another Dr because I was starting to feel very ill at work, I thought maybe I had a blood suger problem and just wanted to get some help. That Dr told me that young people are often allergic to working, I went red as a beat and left in a hurry. I felt embarrassed that he thought I was lazy when I really actually felt sick at work.
I finally got a family Dr after years of not having one, and when I wanted to get pregnant I went to see her to get this spot checked and to make sure I was healthy. I never had kids before and thought this is what people do when they want to start a family.
She told me to start taking vitamins and when I asked her to checkout my spot she didn't even get out of her chair and said it was a wart and to get a kit from London drugs because if she removes it she has to charge me a fee. I knew it wasn't a wart, I've had warts before and this looked nothing like a wart. I don't know why she couldn't be bothered to even get up and look at it so I asked her if she was sure. I got a glare and yes I'm sure from her.
5 months into my pregnancy and I bumped this now very large mole looking thing on my leg, it started to bleed like crazy. So I went to another walk in clinic to get it checked. they again told me it was nothing and that it would heal so not to worry.
A few days later part of it turned black and really smelled badly. I showed a friend of mine who thought it was infected, so told me that the infection could go into my blood and harm the baby. That put fear right into me! so I went right back to the same walk in clinic and again they told me it was fine. Now I knew it was not fine! so I said I needed to see a dermatologist. They insisted that I didn't need to see a dermatologist and that they could remove it for me there because they were still insisting it was a wart. The wait to see a dermatologist would be 2-3 weeks they told me and wasn't necessary. I insisted to see one anyway and did get in about two weeks later. That dermatologist took one look at my now huge mole and asked if he could show his student what melanoma looks like before he takes it off for a biopsy. After the biopsy was taken I got a call a day later to come into the office right away, I had melanoma and now that it had gone undiagnosed for years as I was now 25 years old I had a big melanoma. At 7 months pregnant I had my first operation awake, because it was too dangerous for the baby to be put to sleep. I had the tumor removed and a lymph node biopsy. The biopsy came back positive for cancer making me a stage 3c metastatic melanoma patient. When Lucas was born he had to have his placenta checked to make sure that the cancer didn't spread to him, and I thank god everyday that it didn't. He is healthy! ?? when Lucas was 1 month old I went in for a lymph node operation, once that healed when Lucas was 3 months old I started my fist chemo therapy. I have since then done 3 major operation, and 5 different chemo and immunotherapies. I am now a stage 4 metastatic melanoma patient with only months left to live. I have cancer in the lymph nodes by my left lung, in my neck, in my groin, by my kidney, and my entire left leg. I am having organ failure and am in pain every day. I slipped through the cracks of our medical system because I wasn't loud enough, I was shy and trusted the Dr's to know what they were doing. Now I have to pay to get to a treatment that I need because it isn't being offered here yet.
Many people have been asking me for more information, it is such a touching situation for so many. So here is some additional information as told by Julia:
The drug is called PD1 I don't know how many treatments yet, I will find that out on the first visit with the Dr. I spoke to the clinical trials director yesterday and he said I will get a call within a few days with an exact date for the consult and start of treatment, but that it would be in the beginning if may. The treatment is to shrink my tumors and stop the growth, which would give me more time. I would have to be in California for 3 days every 3 weeks for treatment, I would not need to stay in the hospital. I would love to take Lucas with me because my heart breaks when I have to leave him behind ( I've done chemo in Edmonton and Calgary in the past) but I honestly can't afford the extra plane ticket so he will stay with friends while I am gone.
The PD1 drug is an immunotherapy which has had promising results. California is the only place that had access to it for compassionate use this early, Canada gets this drug in November. My oncologist says I only have a few more months left to live and this is the last treatment left for me to try, I already did every chemo I could.
I can't promise that it will work, but I have to try. I have to fight as much as I can because I love my son so much and want what every mother wants, to raise him and protect him.