Scarlet Lawrence Akins (1978 - 2006)
Scarlet was diagnosed with Melanoma on April 4th, 2006. This was a huge shock to Scarlet and I, and to the entire family. However, we are all totally committed to fighting this cancer with her, and being the ultimate support system she needs during this tough time.
This all began with Scarlet began not feeling well shortly after our wedding day. She was experiencing fevers, body aches, and loss of appetite. She went to see her OB-GYN to discuss, and she found out that she was iron deficient. They admitted her into the hospital around the first of February. Here she had a blood transfusion at Methodist Germantown and received five units of blood. The hematologist also scheduled her up to begin receiving iron treatments once a week (for five weeks). This was supposed to treat her iron deficiency, and hopefully boost her energy.
Things quickly turned around for Scarlet, and she started to feel a lot better. We were in hopes for an easy final four months of pregnancy. Wrong assumption. Around the middle of March, she started experiencing the same symptoms again. Everyone, including her doctors said these symptoms were just due to the pregnancy. She was weak, losing weight (not good during pregnancy), had a horrible cough, and walking was becoming difficult for her. She had no strength left. These symptoms were not from the pregnancy!
On April 4th, Scarlet was admitted to Methodist Hospital in Germantown, TN. After a CAT Scan, her OB-GYN came in to give us the news you never want to hear. "It appears that you have cancer, based on what we saw on the CAT Scan". The tumors were in her lungs, groin and on her back. It was two days later that we found out that it was Melanoma. The cancer had also metastasized into her brain with three tumors and "to many tumors to count" in her lungs.
On Friday, April 7th, Scarlet had surgery to remove a grapefruit size tumor from her right thigh (origin). It had been there for approximately 18 months, but not that size. The pregnancy had only made the cancer spread faster, and also weakened her immune system. She did great through surgery. She had around 24 people in the waiting room pulling for her during the surgery. This was probably the tensest three hours of my life, as I waited to hear from her surgeon. The surgeon was able to get most of the tumor and the doctors think that the other smaller tumors will respond to the chemotherapy. This was the first day in fighting the cancer, and it had been a good one. There were two things that could have happened that would have been tough for her and the family. One is that they did not have to do a skin graph to close the incision. This was the first blessing of the day and one less thing that we had to worry about healing. Two is that she did not have to go to ICU. This was what everyone was the most concerned with, due to she would have to be on a breathing machine. However, God answered our prayers and Scarlet was strong through the surgery, and was able to breathe on her own the entire time.
Scarlet was dismissed from the hospital on Tuesday, April 11th. She was sent home to get some rest and to try and gain weight for herself and Madison Grace. She was given two steroid shots, which are supposed to strengthen her lungs and Madison’s lungs. Her appetite has increased and we are filling her full of Boost to drink three times a day (thanks Amy!). Special thanks to all our friends and family that have brought dinner for us since we have been out of the hospital. This is a huge help to us, and is one less thing we have to deal with each day. Scarlet and I thank you!!
Scarlet has showed the best attitude throughout all of this. She tries to make everyone around her not be scared of this cancer, and to me that is truly amazing. She truly is the strongest person I know, and I am very proud of how she has handled this so far.
We continue to ask for your prayers as we fight this battle. Our entire families are people of faith, and with God’s will, we are going to beat this cancer. Please continue to lift Scarlet, Madison Grace, and I up to the Lord.
"For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." - Matthew 18:20