My name is Joshua Monuteaux and I am a native Seattleite.
My first brush with cancer happened in my 31st year. A mole removal led to lymph gland removal, led to radiation and chemo. I was scheduled to receive chemo treatments for a full 52 weeks, but was forced to stop 35 weeks short of the goal due to intolerable side effects. Bone jarring fever was tolerable, seizures were not.
About ten months later I was having a biopsy of another suspicious lump in my neck, and a pre procedure CT scan reviled cancer in my lungs and through my abdomen. Melanoma is aggressive, I learned.
I was enrolled into a research study for a new drug. Statistically, if people receive any benefit out of this new drug, it's only for about 6 months, then the cancer grows. I have been taking it continually for 6 years. I am definitely the record holder in Seattle, and probably there's only a very small handful of us world wide who have survived this long using this drug.
I started indulging in my passions of art and music. I started traveling and seeing amazing places. I realized the strange value in giving up hope of survival, and the profound freedom that can be experienced in the wake of a diagnosis like this. No one thought I would survive, not even my doctors.
I left a well paying job to attempt making art full time. I cannot return to the workaday world, I find no meaning there, and that is what I so desperately desire.