Marching for my Husband

Marching for my Husband

By Lorraine Smith

9 February 2016

I am marching for my husband who was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic melanoma in June 2015. To have a loved one diagnosed with this type of cancer can be a life sentence. If I do anything in my lifetime it will be to make more people aware of this type of cancer, by spreading awareness. 

I have worked in the medical administrative field for 17 years, until my husband, Wayne, was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic melanoma 8 months ago. Since then our lives have become a rollercoaster ride, travelling to and from Melbourne, three hours from our rural property at Fernihurst for treatment. I thought I knew a lot about skin cancer, lesions, melanomas having worked with a GP who regularly removed skin lesions. However until you are handed this card I’ve found there is just so much more that people need to know about this insidious cancer.

Wayne was started on targeted therapy dabrafenib and trametinib. This proved very challenging adapting to these medications with side-effects and many hospitilisations.

A PET scan last week has now shown that this medication has stopped working so he has now been started on Keytruda. My aim now is to make as many people aware of melanoma and the dangers of sun exposure in the early years. I am working with the local school to hopefully get them on board with Melanoma March.

I have found that there is just not enough information or support about melanoma in our rural communities. That is why I want to be a voice, I want to be able to support other carers, partners and family members who are going through this same pain. My husband's battle will continue, one I’m not sure we will win, but I’m making a commitment to myself and to my husband to ensure that I will always continue to work with as many people and events to get awareness out there.

Melanoma Institute Australia has been a blessing for me helping to cope with my husband’s cancer but also to help me feel that there is things people can do to support others through their time of despair. We need to have voices in our rural communities as well as our cities, the sun is everywhere and people need to be protected.

This is my first Melanoma March and I am honoured to be walking in support of my husband and supporting vital research at Melanoma Institute Australia.