Categorized | Patients, Patient Stories

Dan’s Story

 

18th February 2011

I’m Daniel Bowles and I’m one of the foundation members of the Melbourne Melanoma Project Consumer Reference group.

I’m 32 years old. I am the husband of Danielle and proud father of 2 kids, William 5, Isabella 2 and we are expecting another baby in June this year. I have lived in and around Bendigo all of my life having grown up on a dairy farm 50km’s north of Bendigo. I work at the Bendigo Healthcare Group as a Systems Technician with a background in electrical and specialize in building management systems. Danielle and I also run an Audiology Practice employing four staff including Danielle. In my spare time which there is not much of, I enjoy playing football and spending time outdoors and with family and friends.

My melanoma story began in July 2008 when Danielle was at the same stage of pregnancy with Isabella that she is now (about six months). A raised pink innocent looking mole appeared on the underside of my right arm. It sometimes rubbed on my footy jumper and became a bit itchy. We gave it a bit of a squeeze as it in the beginning it appeared to be a pimple. Danielle was on to me to get it looked at. It was so miniscule and being a bloke I didn’t want to bother my G.P about it. One day at work, a couple of weeks later, out of the blue I went into our Primary Care Clinic at work and got another doctor to have a look at it. “It’ll be nothing, but I will take it off just in case”. Two days later we got the phone call that changed our lives. The doctor said “You’d better come across, Clarke Level 4 melanoma, 2.5mm deep”. That innocent little bastard of a mole had only been there about eight weeks. What now? Wide incision needed. Public or Private? Bendigo or Melbourne? Who do you talk to

Luckily one of Danielle’s best friends, Kathryn Field is an oncologist working at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Her help and support was invaluable for me and especially Danielle at the time.

She recommended Prof. Bruce Mann as the best man for the job and arranged an appointment for me four days later (a Thursday afternoon). Wide incision and sentinel node biopsy was done on the Friday morning. The sentinel node biopsy showed a trace of melanoma so ancillary clearance of the lymph nodes was carried out after much discussion a fortnight later. It wasn’t over yet though. Because there was a trace in the lymph nodes, a twelve month course of interferon was recommended as the follow up treatment.

We were given time to recover after the surgeries and were blessed with our beautiful baby girl, Isabella. I also made a comeback to footy to captain my team to a premiership seven weeks after surgery, I even managed to kick the last goal.

Four days after Isabella was born I started interferon under Dr. Rob Blum at Bendigo Health (September 2008). It was a bit a rough start, high dosage for the first month which involved having it administered intravenously at the oncology unit five days a week. I was so looking forward to the first day off interferon and to watching the AFL Grand Final but was so crook that I couldn’t even watch TV. After the first month Danielle became the nurse and did the three lower dosage injections per week to my abdomen. It was a bit of a rough year but it was also Isabella’s first. She was a great baby for most of it. Her 1st birthday was the countdown to finishing Interferon.

After a year long hangover called Interferon, I started to feel better pretty much straight away. And now, two and a half years on I am enjoying life in general and being healthy. I have six monthly PET/CAT Scans and three monthly oncology appointments which serve as a reminder of my experience (and make Danielle crazy every time waiting for results).