26 February 2019
Jenny Thulborn was 30 when she noticed the dark mole on her back, a spot she knew was always a bit itchy and prone to burn easily. After being reassured by her GP it was nothing, Jenny went on happily with her second pregnancy not worried that it could be anything serious. It was only after she asked a different GP while in for a perinatal visit to have a look that the mole, that was removed immediately.
The mole that was originally thought as harmless was diagnosed as a malignant melanoma, which had grown 1.55mm. Jenny was told that she had a 75-85% chance that it wouldn’t spread, but to not forget there was a small chance that it could. Three years later, Jenny had another child and was told that the melanoma had cleared which was great news for Jenny and her growing family. Seventeen years later, just before marrying her second husband, Jenny wasn’t feeling herself.
“I had a lot of headaches and I was constantly exhausted, but I thought it was because of the upcoming wedding and the stress of getting it organised,” she said.
“The melanoma was on the back of my mind, but I thought it had been such a long time since it had been removed, it was so long ago.”
“I went and had some scans and it was confirmed I had a tumour on the brain and the lung. It was stage four and they gave me 6 – 12 months to live.”
Over the next few years, Jenny transferred to MIA and tried a clinical trial Zelberof which after 10 months she was taken off from due to severe side effects. It was after being taken off the drug when Jenny was classed as disease free.
“Unfortunately though, 18 months later the melanoma had come back in my brain and I had three tumours removed, they were recurring tumours so had stereotactic radio surgery. Then in November last year I had a seizure and they found more tumours in the brain and the lung tumour had returned. That’s when I started Anti-PD-1.”
Since being diagnosed with melanoma, Jenny has been proactive in warning people about the dangers of the sun and that it isn’t always the case of getting the mole ‘cut out’. Jenny and her husband Tony are on the committee for the Coolangatta Melanoma March and hope that through this initiative they will be able to raise more funds and awareness for melanoma. They are involved with Seagulls and the Strand in Coolangatta to promote Melanoma March, which will be on Sunday 22 March.
“Money that was generously raised from last year’s Melanoma March is how the Anti-PD-1 trial was able to be funded and it is what is saving my life at the moment. These drugs give you hope that you have another day, and hope is all you can have when you have melanoma, you don’t know what the future will hold.”