Survivor Stories

Bayan Sagidolda

Diagnosed 03/05/2020

I live in an isolated town in western Mongolia. In 2013, while I was washing a pot with a stainless steel sponge, a piece of the steel wire stuck under my right hand index finger plate. I visited the local hospital since I could not take the wire out. The doctors pulled the whole nail out to remove the splinter that was embedded deep. This was the first small surgery without any anesthesia or painkiller. The pain was so awful that I can still feel it.
The pain did not go away after a few months even though the nail grew back. So I made my second visit to the local town and doctors did exactly the same operation, pulled my nail off and cleaned the underneath. I was in so much pain that I thought I would never go back to the hospital again for any reason. However, my finger remained the same after two surgeries. I spent a year with this condition, could not do my household works like washings and cooking until one day my daughter who lives in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar,  heard of my condition and invited me to the capital for further treatment in 2014.
In UB, I met a surgeon who injected partial anesthesia into my finger and without any pain he pulled my nail and cleaned the nail bed. After this third trial of removing the sponge particle, my nail and finger condition got a lot better and healed well until 2019.  The symptoms returned quickly, with more severe pain and fast development. The nail was broken and half of the nail was pulled off naturally and pus came out. Also the skin around the nail started to darken about 1-2cm in diameter and the border was irregular. In the summer of 2019, I saw the steel splinter was coming off with the pus. That means this steel wire particle remained under my skin for 6 years.
Secondly, I experienced a lymph node on my right neck that was growing since 2015. I went to all of the doctors in my small town, but none of them warned me anything about the possibility of cancer, but instead advised me not to have it removed, it is normal to have a growing lymph. At first the tumor was 20 mm. However, starting from the summer of 2019, the tumor grew so fast to 60 mm. I don’t know what accelerated my lymph node to grow from 20mm to 60, if it is the finger condition or the broken arm.
After this all happened, I had chance to come to capital city and visit the only  Cancer Center in Mongolia. The oncologists examined my condition and quickly suggested for me to have the surgery to remove the lymph and then take a biopsy from the removed tumor to determine if it is  benign or not. I had surgery on 27 Feb, 2020 and had my biopsy result released on Mar 5, 2020 saying positive for malignancy with main diagnosis of metastatic melanoma.