IBStrong ~ MELANOMA and Ingrid "Half Pint"
Ingrid's journey began when she found a spot she thought was an age spot on her lower left abdomen in Feb and by March at MATS it had become the size of a silver dollar, dark and looking like a puzzle piece. Her energy and fatigue had her in bed by 9:30-10 even during MATS (that is so NOT like Ingrid). In May it became an open, ulcerated spot and she contacted her primary care Dr and sent a picture. She was hauling dedicated as an independent contractor for Rabbit River in Holland MI was referred immediately to a Dermatologist there. After a deep shave biopsy (done ASAP) she went straight to work that day thinking it was nothing. After a couple weeks and no news she figured all was well. But on 6/01/17 she left under a Boars Head Meat load to only to get 4 hrs away to receive her life changing phone call ...She had MELANOMA Cancer that needed immediate attention as it was ulcerated that raised it to a Stage2b. At this time she called and contacted Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Chicago IL. But with her life and responsibilities of her load she couldn't get there prior to June 12 due to her strong work ethic of finishing what she starts!! She continued to truck as she is her sole provider. Arriving at CTCA June 12 she had surgery and an Iron infusion and took on the watch and monitor syndrome MELANOMA demands. At CTCA the full tests and treatment is done under one roof and by a team of oncologist. The main concern was her genetics as her Grandfather was a truck driver from 1941-1993 and had MELANOMA that spread to his stomach and he deceased from it and her Aunt as well had MELANOMA which spread to her brain and took her life.
After recuperating and being off from work for the weeks of stopwatch surgery she returned back to MI but not before she'd found a spot that was draining and bleeding on her cheek. Again it was a biopsy. Once again the day she loaded her truck for KS she received the call again :( IB had cancer on her face and a Wide excision was needed. But not until after Chemo creme to her face for weeks. That sucks!!!! After completing her load once again she went to the Lemmen Cancer center in Grand Rapids for Dr O to remove from eye level to chin yet another wide excision of a malignant tumor. Within 36 hrs she was under a load headed to Kansas, then Lubbock and Las Cruces. Stitches couldn't stop her and she did what it took do to keep her business. After being off all of June half of July and a week of August trying to heal she was at it again like the scrapper that we know and love! Then in October she had her check up to find the very first stages of another MELANOMA in her back. This time she found she couldn't return right back to work because she'd damaged two layers of stitches in the main muscle across her upper back. She was grounded with her truck sitting for a month. Never once in any surgery or excision of biopsy did she receive or consume one drop of pain medication. Pain is only temporary and passes with time.
Then ... December 2017 while at her daughter's in GA she knew in her gut something was wrong. Her energy was gone and she had swollen lymph nodes under her left jaw and had a weird cough and her voice seemed goofy. Upon returning home she went to her primary care who put her on a higher powered antibiotic than normal for anyone. On December 21 and 28th she went to the local oncologist who scheduled scans and PET scans used to detect Cancer which she had in late June, but all were clear. Since she hadn't heard the results she chose to go back to work in Michigan as she could not afford to stay out any longer. She loaded and left December 29 and received the call January 3 about a third of her way to California that her PET scan and CT came back very highlighted for a tumor at the base of her tongue and 3 lymph nodes in the left of her neck and that she needed to be seen immediately. Well with Ingrid freight comes first and she told them she'd see then in a week or more. She then contacted Cancer Treatment Centers in Chicago who got her records and scans and said NOW!! NOW and Ingrid had two different meanings!! In her 38 years of trucking this was the the first time in her career she couldn't get out of her truck fast enough, but she was so worried what was she going to do? If she's not trucking she has nothing and loses it all in time! Cancer doesn't fertilize money trees!!
While at CTCA this past week they verified a tumor at the base of her tongue as well as unknown origin in her esophagus at the tumor. The tumor was blocking her swallowing and some what deep breath and a feeding tube was considered. But once 2 biopsies of the tumor on her tongue protruding against her esophagus was removed as well as the TWO biopsies in her esophagus were taken it opened her air way and relieved the cough and better swallowing. So the crazy girl was happy to lose 10 pounds but definitely NOT THIS WAY!!
So what's next?? Verification of the tumor and it's Cancer stage. And only by the grace of GOD that it could be benign with all the other test indications. But either way the tumor HAS to be removed from her tongue and esophagus. This means going into areas as speech, salivary glands, swallowing and taste. Praying for steady hands and no damage and a clear airway for our friend...
What's next for Rollin'B!?!
5 months ago her scans were totally clear after her first MELANOMA was removed and before her face. Now they're far from it. So after her lymph node observation and the growth rate her oncologist predicts a week to a month and they'll be back at it on lymph nodes.
Until they see what the throat tumor does the DR states for insurance pre cancer/cancer cells exist now. PreCancer with her past is no different than CANCER.
Through this all, it sounds almost unbelievable and extreme!!! IB prays every night and wakes up every morning wishing that it's all A DREAM!!!!
And to prove its reality on December 7th Ingrid was told by a full sibling they also have MELANOMA .. yes full sibling ... After their surgery and lymph nodes were removed Dec 14th they begin a year long regiment therapy of immunotherapy every other week.
MELANOMA doesn't discriminate! MELANOMA doesn't care who your relative is and it sure doesn't care if you can afford it. MELANOMA IS NOT JUST A SKIN CANCER!!!
MELANOMA as a skin Cancer attacks all skin and even you lungs are Skin.
Ingrid had been out of work approximately 4.25 months not counting what's ahead since June 2017, 7 months. Some things you can NEVER plan for but it's SOMETHING TO BE AWARE OF to realize and accept it can happen and BE YOU!!! You can't be exact but you can PLAN!!!
Sorry this is so long but I could go on forever!! The first person to tell me I could have one of her KIDNEY'S after I donated one to a friends husband was Ingrid! Do you know now that she is sad that she can't give me one of hers if needed? My dream for starting this is to help Ingrid anyway we can so she can concentrate on getting well & taking care of herself! For everything that she does for other people I would love to see all of us help her! Be humble and kind you never know what another is going through!!!!! Thank you and God Bless....