Jamie’s Melanoma Experience (Springboard Beyond Cancer)

My name is Jamie Goldfarb. I was diagnosed with
stage IV melanoma in January 2011. I had a primary tumor on my
left thigh in January 2008, which was removed. Then at some point
over the next three years, it had metastasized to my
liver and my pancreas. When I was diagnosed,
my son was 11 weeks old, and the oncologist told us
that he would do everything in his power to buy us time, and
when we asked him how much time, he said he was hopeful
for six more months. Five years later, I’m
completely disease-free. Going through the process of
having cancer and through treatment has a lot of different
aspects, physical and emotional. Melanoma’s resistant to
chemotherapy, so I had immunotherapies, The treatments were physically
difficult to go through, and they were inpatient, but they
didn’t have lasting physical side effects like they would if
you were undergoing chemotherapy for, you know, an
extended period of time. Most of my symptoms related
to cancer were around fear and stress and anxiety
around having a newborn and having only a 14% chance of
living the next five years, and the worry about not being
there for the human I had just created,
and to be in his life and to fulfill my
responsibilities. That was the most difficult
thing to deal with. When I was diagnosed, I
decided from day one that I had to decide how I was going to go
through this experience. My decision was to do it as
positively as possible, and there were a lot of aspects that
weighed into that decision. One was to decrease the worry of
people who loved me and, you know, show them that we were all
going to be okay, and honestly, part of it was to leave a legacy
for my son, just in case, and I wanted him to—I wanted
memories, and I wanted to be able to teach
him lessons because he wasn’t going to remember me
if I didn’t make it. So I did things like I
created a blog where I put out the whole experience. I blogged the clinical trial
in real-time, so other patients could see what it was like to
go through the treatment. I put out all my fears
and worries in blog form so that everyone could
experience them the same that I was, but always with an
understanding that these are my fears and worries, but the end
goal was going to be survival, and that all of this was just
something that we had to go through to learn beautiful life
lessons and see true love and true beauty that
surrounds us all the time, and we did. We did. The love and support and
lessons and life priorities that we gained through the experience
far outweighed the negative emotional aspects, and making a
decision to focus on that aspect of the journey was a very
conscious and deliberate decision, but I—it was what got
me through. [Springboard Beyond Cancer]

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