Mike Nelson can’t stress enough the importance of using sunscreen – even on your head.
Mike, who is 43 years old and has lived in Arnold since 1998, was recently diagnosed with Metastatic Melanoma. Tests revealed that the cancer is at Stage 4 and has spread into the brain, liver, spine and lungs.
“It started as melanoma on my scalp. It was very hard to detect as hair hides it until it gets large enough to feel. My back started hurting and even after going to the chiropractor, it didn’t get better. I was losing a little weight, but I never weigh myself, so it wasn’t immediately noticed. Given where the melanoma is, I don’t know if I could have spotted it earlier,” he said.
Tumors on his brain caused a seizure that affected his left arm. Last week, he was undergoing radiation treatments to the brain to reduce the pressure from those tumors. This week, he will start chemo with two different types of pills. Since his diagnosis, he has been unable to work due to hospitalizations, appointments and being very weak.
COVID-19 has made going through this battle with cancereven more difficult for Mike; his wife of 21 years, Kendra; and their two kids, Jasmine, who is 21 and will be a senior at UN-L and Dylan, 18, who is a senior at Arnold High.
“It is so hard for me and Kendra as she cannot go into any of the hospitals or to doctor’s appointments with me. Hearing this news alone and then having to tell her was very hard. It is hard on everyone – even the health care people who have to see families suffering more because of COVID19,” he said.
As far as seeing his son graduate, Mike said he is hoping all the kids get the recognition they deserve.
“They have all spent 13 years getting to this point and this is stressful for everyone,” he said.
Mike serves his community and other organizations through his involvement with the Devil’s Den Bike Rally. After playing drums in his own and other bands for about 19 years, he was the perfect choice to find bands for the event. He has served as president of the rally since the third year and said the support from the community has really grown over the years.
“The rally would not happen without that and our small, but hard working board members,” he said.
Rally board members are showing their support for Mike and his family by selling Devil’s Den #TEAM Mike t-shirts that includes an imprint of the much sought-after devil face logo. Their slogan is “Together we rally!”
Mike said people want t-shirts every year, but they are only made for staff. Both he and Kendra were honored that rally organizers chose that design.
“This journey we are on is so emotional and the hardest thing we have ever faced,” said Mike. Kendra and I have always had a very strong relationship, but this has brought us even closer. It is very hard for Jasmine and Dylan to deal with on top of the crazy uncertain times we are all dealing with due to COVID-19. We are so grateful for the prayers, love and support we are getting from the community, our friends and families. We are so blessed to have the bosses and co-workers that we have from Reed’s Food Center and Kinkaider Brewing Company. Their support and understanding during this time has been so much more than anyone has a right to ask for. We’re not sure if this curable, but hopefully treatable. Miracles do happen. We are taking it day by day.”
For more information on how to order a t-shirt, go to the Devil’s Den Bike Rally Facebook page and click on the link.