Ben Hartings, Stage III
I had an annoying, itchy, and bleeding mole removed from my ear in September 2013. A week later I was told it was Melanoma and a sentinel node biopsy was ordered. The sentinel node was positive for Melanoma metastisis and I chose to do a full lymph node dissection of my right neck area. Upon this surgery, I was found to have no additional spread…thank the Lord! I also chose to do Interferon treatments in 2014 but was only able to endure 5 months of treatment due to a second form of cancer that was discovered during the treatment – Thyroid Cancer. I was forced to stop Interferon to remove my thyroid and tried to go back on Inteferon but was not able to endure treatments.
Since that time, I have had many appointments, many scans, and many-body checks, but I am so thankful to share that my Stage IIIa Melanoma has not reoccurred! I am grateful to those who have shared with me on the journey so I am returning the favor!
My biggest challenge was accepting I was sick. As a former Division I college athlete, I had endured a lot of pain, but always “felt bad” and needed to feel better. I did not feel bad, I just had an itchy mole. Then it escalated quickly to a sickness, Melanoma, that was and is seemingly completely out of my control. I still worry about its reoccurrence today, but I also am blessed by the fact that I relish each moment with my family, my wife, and my four children so much more.
I love the sunrise and am thankful for each new and wonderful day!