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I have always been a very outdoorsy person, but I have never worshiped the sun like my sisters, so finding out I had melanoma was an incredible shock to me!! Here is my story:

I am a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, pale, Irish/German girl. Which means, I have ALOT of moles and freckles and red spots on my skin. However, I saw this strange mole on my left inner leg by my knee about 2 years ago. It seemed like every other mole that I have, but I noticed it changing over the past 2 years – getting bigger, changing colors, changing shape. At that point, I started to become concerned.

So, during one of my annual physicals (Dec 2014), I asked my PCP to look at a suspicious mole. PCP stated it was nothing to worry about, just a nevus on top of a mole. It was blue/brown/black in color, odd shaped and had various levels of elevation.

I wasn’t real happy with this response, so I decided to get a 2nd opinion. On May 13, 2015, I saw a dermatologist who said he agreed with me that it didn’t look right, and did a shave biopsy to remove the mole and send off.

On May 19, 2015 my dermatologist called me on and said I had malignant melanoma and had to see a surgical oncologist due to the path report.
Path report stated: 1.2 Breslow thickness, ulceration present, non-brisk TILs, 2-4 mitoses per mm2. I was in complete shock! Me? Melanoma? I am the one that hides from the sun while my sisters are all out laying out and getting fried! This is insane! I immediately jumped on the internet of course because I knew Melanoma was bad, but I didn’t really know much about it. I should add that I am a nurse and very well educated and know how to navigate around all the bullshit on the internet. Anyways, I found in my researching some disturbing news. I had no idea that Melanoma could mets to the organs of the body. I always thought it was just a ‘surface’ cancer that does not go internal. At this point, I became very concerned and anxious and angry and sad and annoyed. How could something so small be so threatening to my life.

May 21, 2015: Met with Dr. Solomon (surgical oncologist) and was scheduled for a Wide Local Exicision with Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for June 19th. Boy was I angry that I had to wait for a whole month for surgery. I just wanted this crap out of my body!! And I wanted answers. I wanted to know if it spread. I wanted to know what treatment I would need to do. I didn’t want to wait around, I just wanted to get started doing whatever I needed to do.

I finally had my surgery on June 19, 2015. I had to go to nuc med first so they could inject the dye into my leg, and boy did that hurt like a mother. Then, I went to the OR. I woke up with quite a bit of pain. I had a fairly large chunk of tissue removed from my left inner leg by my knee. I had about a 3 1/2 inch incision that had nylon sutures. I had 1 lymph node removed during surgery from my left groin. This site had dermabond (surgical glue) and was about a 2 inch incision.

I had a lot of pain the first week. Like a lot! My leg was wrapped post op, so I wasn’t really prepared for what I would be looking at when I would take my first shower (3 days post op). I looked like a shark bit victim. Ha! It actually was pretty gnarly lookin. I literally laid around for about a week with my leg elevated.

June 25, 2015: I had my post-op appt with my surgical oncologist and was very very very pleased to hear that there was NO lymph node involvement!!! The surgical oncologist did say that there was some residual tumor left over from my original biopsy which is why they had to take so much tissue out, and that I was upgraded to a Stage T2b, but most importantly, I am an N0!! 🙂

I have lost all sensation between my knee and my ankle on my left leg from the surgery, and I have decreased range of motion and decreased strength in that left leg. So, I do need to do physical therapy, but none of that matters when you hear you are now NED (no evidence of disease)!!! 🙂

I am writing this 8 days postop, so I will update it as time goes on, but for now I am literally the happiest person alive to know that I have beat cancer!! 🙂

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Stage 2

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Stage 2