Losing a Loved One to Cancer
- The American rock band journey recently celebrated 50 years since its formation.
- The band’s former frontman, Steve Perry, is a survivor of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
- Melanoma is a kind of skin cancer that can develop from an existing mole or appear as a dark or pink growth on the skin – even in places on the body that never see the sun.
- Perry fought the disease after losing the love of his life to breast cancer in 2012.
- Though he was only with Kellie Nash for a year and a half, he’s said “it was a lifetime of love packed into every moment.”
Journey is a classic American rock group that first formed in 1973. Current members of the band include Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, and Arnel Pineda, according to the group’s website, but Perry was the lead singer during their height of commercial success in the late ’70s and ’80s.Read More
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Steve Perry’s Cancer BattleSteve Perry announced his cancer diagnosis on his Fan Asylum personal blog on June 6, 2013.
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“Three weeks ago a routine mole was taken off my face and the lab report came back Melanoma skin cancer,” he wrote.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, and it originates in the same cells that give your skin, hair and eyes their color. It can develop from an existing mole or appear as a dark or pink growth on the skin – even in places on the body that never or rarely see the sun. This disease accounts for about 1% of all skin cancers, but it can be very dangerous if left untreated.
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“Melanomas are the deadliest type of skin cancer because they have a tendency to spread to other parts of the body,” Dr. Anna Pavlick, medical oncologist at Weill Cornell Medicine, previously told SurvivorNet.
It’s unclear exactly what stage of melanoma Perry had, but treating stage 1 melanoma usually consists of a simple, in-office surgical removal by a dermatologist. When the cancer has spread beyond .08 mm in thickness, patients need an operation that is more involved.
“I’ve had two surgeries in two weeks to remove all the cancer cells and I’ve been told they think they got it all and no other treatments are required,” Perry wrote.
Losing a Loved One to Cancer
Although his cancer news was positive overall, Steve Perry’s 2013 post also included a heart-wrenching story about his late partner and her cancer battle.
When Perry first saw Kellie Nash, it was love at first sight. He was sitting in an editing room with a friend, Patty Jenkins, as she worked on a Lifetime breast cancer special when Perry noticed the Ph.D. psychologist in the opening scene.
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“When the scene was over I said to Patty, ‘Can you roll to the top of that opening scene for me?’ Patty asked, ‘Is something wrong?’ I said, ‘No. I want to see something,'” Perry wrote.
“As the camera again crossed Kellie’s smile I asked her to freeze right there.……. I asked Patty who that was. She said, ‘That’s Kellie Nash, a PHD Psychologist who was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a double mastectomy and she’s doing a cameo appearance.'”
That’s when Perry asked Jenkins to send Nash an email asking if she’d like to go on a date. Jenkins agreed but told Perry about the reality of Nash’s situation: She was currently fighting breast cancer that had returned as stage 4 and spread to her lungs and bones after eight months of remission.
“I was frozen……. I didn’t know what to do…….. I had lost my mom, dad, grandparents that raised me and I was an only child so my first thought was to maybe not send the email; then my heart said, Maybe we could be friends or maybe she could be my shrink,” he explained. “So I said, ‘Please send it.'”
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Nash happily obliged and gave Perry a call. In a couple weeks, they were on their first date, and the rest was history.
“I never felt like this before……. I had finally found her. She’s real and she’s right in front of me,” Perry wrote. “We started seeing each other and Yes, we both knew that we were meant to be together.
“My life was forever changed in ways I will explain at another time but it was all because of my Kellie.”
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Nash went courageously in and out of treatments, but she eventually passed away from the disease on Dec. 14, 2012. Although the two were together for just 1.5 years, Perry said “it was a lifetime of love packed into every moment.”
“She was so strong, so courageous and we really loved each other so very much,” he wrote. “I’ve been trying to grieve and not run from this loss so for the last 5 months that’s what I’ve been doing along with recalling everything being in Love with Kellie taught me.”
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