A woman battling metastatic melanoma has discovered she could have months to live as treatment fails.
As the Times previously reported, Beachlands local Gemma Malins was diagnosed with stage four melanoma in 2019.
She’d noticed the lumps under her skin in mid-2018.
The doctors repeatedly told her it was “fat” and she could “pretty much rule out cancer”.
Now the 28-year-old has been told she could have months to live as she has not been responding to the new expensive treatment.
The treatment, Ipilimumab, was her last option after immunotherapy and radiation.
It cost $12,000 every three weeks at a private clinic.
Generous donations from the community and her Nana allowed her to receive three treatments of ipilimunab.
On May 25 Gemma was brought into Auckland Hospital by ambulance.
“I had extreme stomach pain, couldn’t move and couldn’t walk,” Gemma says.
“I waited six hours to be seen, was given pain relief and waited until the next day to have a CT scan.”
Two days later the doctors broke the devastating news that the treatment wasn’t working.
The tumours are continuing to grow in Gemma’s lungs and stomach which is causing the pain.
“The worst thing is I can’t tolerate much pain relief,” Gemma says, “because it makes me feel sick and unwell.”
The doctors told her there are no other treatment options left.
“This is really scary for me and my partner, Brandon,” she says. “All we can do is have faith and believe that miracles can happen.”
Gemma is raising money to complete her bucket list.
The bucket list includes swimming with dolphins, horse riding, taking a campervan to Cape Reinga and riding a ferris wheel.
“We are raising money to create memorable experiences for Gemma and her family,” Brandon writes.
The news has been difficult for Malins’ loved ones.
“It’s been hard for my family but they don’t really show it,” Gemma says. “I think they’re staying strong for me.”
Gemma says her faith and her church has been supporting her.
“There are so many stories of people who are living miracles who weren’t supposed to make it, people who encourage me and give me hope,” she says.
“This is really hopeful for me.”
Gemma’s bucket list givealittle page can be found here.