At 28, Elise had four melanomas, including one in the ovary, extremely rare, which metastasized to the brain, lungs and kidneys. None of his family had skin cancer. The Parisienne is still confronted with the side effects of treatments and operations. Testimony.
At 28, Elise is on her fourth melanoma. Melanoma is a rare and aggressive skin cancer or mucous membranes. the first is diagnosed on the right temple. She is 20 years old and consults a dermatologist for a mole : “He had changed color, it had turned white. A few days later, the dermatologist calls me and tells me that I have melanoma. At the time I didn’t even know this word” she remembers. She was operated on and the doctors prescribed her a drug to prevent a recurrence. “Immunotherapy was not yet used and the anti-recurrence treatment caused heavy side effects. I went to a psychiatric hospital for a month for delusional puffs“says Elise. “I had two other melanomas, one on the right arm and the other on the neck. Both operations to remove the skin worked.” In January 2021, she is 27 years old and goes to the emergency room for very strong stomach pains.
“I ended up with a stage 4 brain tumour”
Doctors suspected a cyst but we finally discover him a ovarian melanoma, a pathology that represents less than 1% of melanomas. “During the operation, they remove my ovary and fallopian tube. Doctors realize that the melanoma has metastasized to the brain, lungs, and kidneys. “I ended up with a stage 4 brain tumor and saw nothing coming because the doctors got the diagnosis wrong. I’m having emergency brain surgery.”. Elise then enters a protocol of immunotherapy and radiotherapy for the brain. “I then followed speech therapy sessions to relearn to speak and physiotherapy for walking“. The operation of the brain tumor causes post-operative sequelae. It begins to suffer from epilepsy. “My case is so rare. I don’t have a normal life. It’s a full time job to be sick.“
“None of my family has been touched by skin cancer”
The cause of his melanoma remains unknown. “There is no genetic cause, no member of my family has been touched by skin cancer. My father, aware of sun effectsinsisted that I’ve been protecting myself since I was little.” Today, Elise is still on immunotherapy. “I do checkups every 3 months. There are no more brain tumours, no more kidney tumours, and metastases to the lungs have been halved.” In June, physicians should discuss stopping treatment. “They are quite hesitant about the idea, they want me to retake exams before” points out Elise. “My sword of Damocles is my brain. It’s the organ that controls everything and as long as we don’t find a suitable treatment with neurologists, I’m constantly afraid of having epileptic seizures.“. She hope to be able to start working again soon : “I’m going carry out a skills assessment to find out what I want to do with my life. Since January 2021, I have not been able to work. I would like to find a job but it is difficult, I am often very tired and it is not compatible with a professional life normal. This is why I am very enthusiastic about the idea of sharing my experience within the Vaincre le Mélanome association in order to raise awareness among young people. We talk a lot about breast, prostate and lung cancers, but very little about skin cancers. It’s super important to talk about it before the summer so that people realize the effect of the sun’s rays” she insists.
Thanks to Elise for her testimony. Interview on May 18, 2022.
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