On the Threshold of Adulthood
On May 13, 2010 at 1:00 pm est, my 19 year old daughter, Amanda, lost her battle with melanoma. One of the hardest parts is that she was just diagnosed with the melanoma on April 28, 2010.
In February of this year, she had a cold and said something about her glands being swollen. I looked up from across the table and noticed her neck. When I saw the lump in her neck my heart fell to the floor. I knew something was terribly wrong. I called the ER in our local hospital and spoke to a nurse. Since she really had no other symptoms other than a cold and the lump to call her doctor in the morning. I did that and got her into her doctor the following day.
When he took one look at her lump he became visibly concerned. He called in his associate, my physician, for a consult. They both were very concerned about the lump and sent my Amanda to see an ENT. That appointment was one day later. This doctor examined her lump and took some blood work. She scheduled a biopsy to look for lymphoma. When her blood work came back it came back positive for mono. The doctor told us this was good news and there was no need for a biopsy.
Amanda and I were both enrolled in school at Kent State/Ashtabula. I drove us to and from school. As the weeks went on, she displayed what I thought were typical symptoms of mono. She slept a lot and was weak. She was also vomiting a lot. I thought it was the mono, too. Then she developed bells palsy in the right side of her face. We went back to her doctor and he called the ENT and she told him it was just the mono causing her bells palsy.
Her doctor did another exam on her and found that her liver was inflamed now. He sent her to another ENT for a second opinion. That appointment was April 21, 2010. He examined her and said that the bells palsy could be linked to mono, but he felt that more was at play here. He gave her a needle biopsy and that it would take a week for the results to come back.
On April 28, we went back to get the results. That is when my world ceased to feel real. She was diagnosed with Melanoma.
She had a PET scan the following day and her doctor called that very same day to get us in there to discuss the results. It was the very worst day of my life thus far. He told us that it had spread to her liver, spleen, and lungs. He made an appointment with Dr. Bokar, an oncologist, who had a specialty in that type of cancer.
My ex-husband and I took her to him on May 6. She was immediately admitted into the hospital. She was frightened and did not want to be left alone. We were allowed to spend nights up there. The first night her dad stayed. The following night I came back with her sister Wendy and we spent the night.
They tried chemo, but her liver started failing. She grew weaker by the day. I knew I was watching my baby slip away in front of me and there was nothing I could do to stop it. A few nights, all three of us spent it with her.
One of the nurses found it very unusual that her dad and I were able to spend time together without being petty. I do not understand that, all that mattered at that point was that our child was sick and we both needed to be there for her in spite of any differences. She was the very best part of us!
On April 12 my ex went home, mostly for an emotional break. My youngest daughter, Wendy, Amanda's boyfriend Alex, and his mother Robin; spent the night in her room by her side. The following morning I was told to get everyone there at the hospital. I called my ex and he came back to the hospital. My mother and my sister, who came from Florida and were spending time with me at my home, came back to the hospital.
Each and every one of us got to spend time with her. I was one of the last ones to have spent time with her. I was able to say what I needed to say to her and to let her know it was ok for her to go with the angels, and kissed her on her forehead. Her dad and her boyfriend were in her room when she finally passed. Her dad said she grabbed his finger when she took her last breath.