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Taking A Melanoma Diagnosis In Stride: One Patient’s Story

  • 09.14.2017
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Every individual’s reaction to getting a cancer diagnosis is unique. When Constantine Kuzmicki of Wellington, Nevada got his, he reacted in a very no-nonsense manner. “Okay, so I have a melanoma,” he thought. “Either I die of cancer or we do something about it. It’s no big deal.” Perhaps Constantine’s relaxed attitude comes from the fact that he’s had to handle more than his fair share of medical issues over the years, but his outlook is admirable.

This latest healthcare battle started a few years ago with a single melanoma on his back, which was removed. Six months later, another lesion appeared on his leg. His dermatologist removed the tumor and sent it off to the University of California San Francisco for testing. “I remember when she called. I was driving. She told me, ‘You have melanoma and it’s metastasized.’ She recommended that I see Dr. Perez.”

Constantine followed his doctor’s advice and made an appointment right away. Dr. Perez ordered a round of chemotherapy over the course of four months, which was successful in holding off cancer for about one and a half years.

In December of 2016, another melanoma appeared on his forearm. Constantine went to UCSF to have it removed, and a post-surgery PET scan showed that he was cancer free. “At that point, Dr. Perez said there were two options: try the ‘wait and see’ approach, or be proactive with chemotherapy treatments,” he said. “Given the number of melanomas I’ve had, ‘wait and see’ wasn’t a good option for me. I started chemo in January of this year and will be on it bi-monthly for the next two years.”

Constantine started a newer form of chemotherapy in January of 2017, and is happy to report he has no adverse side effects from the treatment.

 

Some Advice From Someone Who’s Been There

Constantine was kind to share several pieces of good advice:

  1. “Be open-minded, and be aware that everybody’s trying to help you. You’re in good hands.”
  2. “Communicate. If something doesn’t feel right, talk to your doctor. They’re not magicians, they’re doctors. Let them know.”
  3. “When you’re dealing with something like cancer and chemo, you’re at the mercy of your doctor. Dr. Perez has a handle on everything and his research is up-to-date. And he has an excellent staff.”
  4. “Try avoiding sleep the night before chemo. It helps me fall asleep during the treatment.”
  5. “I highly recommend Dr. Perez. He’s on call, he keeps track of everything, and I have total faith in him. He’s at the top of his game.”

 

Getting The Care You Need

If you have received a cancer or blood disorder diagnosis, or know someone who has, Dr. Perez and Sierra Nevada Cancer Center can provide the expertise and support needed to take on the disease—head on. Contact us today.

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