Survivor Stories

Cathy Bjorklund, Stage IV

I was diagnosed with a 3.9 melanoma on Sept 18, 2005.

In the summer of 2005, I accidentally cut the bottom of my toes on some metal gardening edging. That was when the true miracle happened. I had never noticed anything unusual between my toes prior to having cut them.

By September ’05, when the 2 toes didn’t heal, I went to my primary care doctor, who sent me to a podiatrist. Neither could diagnose the problem. The podiatrist suggested day surgery to see if something ”foreign” had made its way into the open wound. To make a long story short, the biopsy came back showing that I had a 3.9 melanoma between my toes.

Less than 3 weeks after being diagnosed, an oncologist bone surgeon removed 2 of my toes.

Then, my cancer returned, and I had more removal between the 2 toes. When the new biopsy came in, it showed a small amount of melanoma remaining. So, I was back in for more surgery in February ’07.

In March ’07, I went to Johns Hopkins for a second opinion. The melanoma oncology department studied my case for 2 weeks and thought it best, since the melanoma returned aggressively, that I have an amputation from the knee down. My bone oncologist in Dallas disagreed. He removed half of my foot because he felt the surgery in February had a clean reading.

In April ’07, I was on the gurney once again, to have half of my foot removed. By the GRACE OF GOD, I developed a blood clot minutes before surgery. I told my doctor that I believed in the power of prayer and that I did not think this surgery was meant to happen. He agreed and sent me to a hospital room to have a sonogram for the blood clot.

The following morning, the sonogram showed no blood clot! I checked out of the hospital, keeping half of my foot, agreeing to PET scans, MRIs, and CAT scans every 3 months.

It has been well over a year now, and each test has come back NED (No Evidence of Disease), and I praise God!!!