In May 2018 I had a cyst removed from my forearm which had been diagnosed as stage two Melanoma. I also had a lymph node removed from my armpit and was relieved to hear that the cancer hadn’t spread.

The melanoma cancer diagnosis had come as a surprise to me as I had always taken care to avoid the sun if possible, to cover up and use the highest factor sun screen from a very early age. Being red headed, freckled and very fair skinned, it was too easy to burn in the sun.

Things went very well for the next 18 months until I developed a pain in my back which led to me being checked out in A&E on a trip to Manchester. 48 hours later I was contacted to get a CT Scan and on Friday 13th 2019 I met an Oncologist who confirmed I had Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma, with a tumour near my spine and one on my right lung.

Apparently the cancer had got into my blood before the cyst was removed, and he confirmed this was incurable and life limiting. Thankfully following an 8 month course of Immunotherapy my tumours have shrunk significantly and there have been no more tumours detected. Whilst I encountered side effects from the treatment which limited the duration of the Immunotherapy, it has been a great success.

My life and my families lives have changed dramatically and we are now focusing on enjoying our time together and helping others where we can. The physical impact of a Cancer diagnosis is immeasurable, as is the impact on your mental health and the support we have had from a number of charities, including Melanoma UK has greatly helped us.

I look forward to my weekly Zoom calls with my new family at Melanoma UK, where we support each other on our journeys.

As written by Kevin Donaghy (09.09.2021)