Stage 4 Melanoma Survivor Writes A Book To Share Her Story
“Some people are fit and Healthy, they may live for a short time or a long time. I had cancer, I might live for a short time or a long time. So, the message is JUST LIVE!”
Julie Randall is a stage 4 melanoma survivor who has come out as a winner against all odds. She describes her journey in Patient_71– a book written by her.
“I was diagnosed with Terminal Cancer in June 2012 after suffering a sudden severe brain seizure at my workplace. It was stage 4 advanced melanoma of which there was no cure.”
“For me, it was like being hit over the head with a hammer. In an instant, I went from what I thought was an extremely fit and healthy woman to someone who was dying and only had months to live. It was surreal. I shock like no other. I was offered chemotherapy to “Buy Me some time” I had to take up the offer. I had to myself find another way out of this horrible mess.”
Motivation to fight cancer
“When I came home from the hospital on that fateful night I had to tell my beloved, beautiful teenage daughters that their mum had cancer. My eldest daughter whaling NO mum NO mum NO mum so I went out on a limb and promised the both of them that I would live. But I had no idea how I was going to do that. I then had to do everything in power to find a way to do the impossible. Live through a terminal cancer diagnosis… I had to keep my promise to my daughters.”
“There was nothing to save my life in Australia 6 years ago. So I researched the world for answers. It was a maze and difficult to navigate but I managed to drill it down to an Immunotherapy clinical trial in Portland, Oregon in the USA. It was a long way from home but I became obsessed with the thought of the body’s own immune system kicking back into gear and fighting cancer. I begged and pleaded via email and phone calls for almost 4 months all the while my life was apparently coming to an end. The trouble was the trial was only for US citizens and was at full capacity at 70 patients. I wouldn’t take no for an answer I just kept at them. I became known to the scientist as Patient 71. I had to pack up and leave my family and friends for a chance at life. I had a 33% chance of responding to the drugs. I had to give it my best shot. So Here I am cancer free and loving life 6 years later. I kept my promise to my daughters. It makes me cry thinking about it. I have written a book called ‘Patient 71’ (Available from Amazon), and every day I receive many messages of thanks from cancer patients and their families all over the world for giving them hope and inspiration to keep going and learning to control their mindset even going through such a stressful time.”
Message to other fighters
“Learn everything you can about your personal cancer. Get genomic testing done if you can and then research the treatments that are working for the best for your personal cancer. Science is moving forward and realizing that no two people are exactly the same. The world is moving towards personalized medicine. Take control of your life. Sure, listen to the doctors and keep asking questions, then more questions. Research all the clinical trials in the world that are taking place for the type of cancer you have. We have to become champions of our own destiny. The other thing I would say with passion is that If you are physically able to turn your situation into a positive by achieving a goal. Do something you have always wanted to do. I had always wanted to write a book. So, I looked cancer in the eye and said ok, that’s enough. You have taken enough of me. I will take control back now. So, I put pen to paper and wrote my memoir, I have appeared on 60 minutes Australia twice, I do public speaking and have turned my life into the life I wanted. I write for magazines and websites. I am a better person and appreciate every day and see so much more wonder in the world. I make the most of every day You can too. I smile and laugh and be silly because I know my cells respond positively to that.
Melanoma Survivor Becomes A Community Manager, Youtuber, And Designer
“If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it”
Laura was diagnosed with stage 1 melanoma in 2017 but she didn’t give up and continued to fight cancer. She has now successfully defeated her cancer. She is now a community manager, YouTuber, and designer.
“I was diagnosed with Stage I Melanoma in January 2017 ”
“You’ve got stage one melanoma. I’ve gotta say, those are definitely words you don’t want directed your way – but at the beginning of January 2017 that’s exactly what I heard. I remember I was in the mailroom of my condo when I got the call from my dermatologist. At the time it was like getting hit with a brick wall of information – and when you don’t fully understand what it means yet, your head does this funny thing where it automatically jumps to “what if this is it?” Despite it all, I was pretty darn lucky. Although I had a level 3 for cell re-growth rate, it was only 0.9mm deep and wasn’t ulcerated. All of which sounds super scary, but are actually not bad results! Over the next couple of months, I had plenty of appointments where they checked in on the spot and gave me information about my surgery which would take place in March. I remember the day before I went in to get a radioactive injection, so the surgeon would know which lymph nodes to remove and test the next day – and holy smokes. As I’m sure some of you may be able to relate, whatever that radioactive stuff was felt like fire! Luckily it didn’t last long and soon enough I was out of the giant machine they used to take pictures, and on my way home. My surgery the next day was bright and early. Despite its kind of being a fairly significant one (or at least for a gal who hasn’t had many in her life leading up to that point), I can’t say I was nervous. I guess I was just ready for it to be over with and to have cancer fully taken off my body. All of the doctors and nurses were so calm and friendly, it definitely took the nervousness out of the whole situation as I was going into the operating room (I joked with the doctors which looked just like the one on Grey’s Anatomy!) The next thing I remember was I was waking up in the recovery room and then brought back up to another room to rest for the day with my parents. The recovery itself over the next couple months was tough. I’m not going to lie, but it’s definitely one of those things that makes you stronger. Some days were better than others in terms of pain, and the exercises I had to do were really tough but each day, I started to become more and more comfortable. All in all, this experience definitely taught me a lot though. As someone who never really took care of their skin, it’s definitely become one of my top priorities and is something I’m more aware of now. Plus, on a super cheesy note, it also taught me that life is too short! Like really, if you’re not happy or feeling stuck in a certain situation, what the heck are you waiting for?! GET THAT TUSH UP, and make that change my friend!”
Motivation to fight cancer
“I was lucky in the sense that I didn’t have to go through any chemo or radiation – just surgery. So my motivation was definitely to get healthy and take care of my body, especially my skin after recovering.”
The biggest hindrance
“My biggest hindrance was definitely in the recovery. After surgery, my immune system was really low, so I kept getting sick for months afterward with various illnesses like colds, step. throat and infections – which really took a toll on both my mental and physical health.”
Message to other fighters
“My message is to stay positive and know you have a world of people behind you that love you. I’m not gonna lie, cancer sucks. But you are an even stronger person because of it.”
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