Survivor Stories

Codi Hintz, Stage I

Diagnosed  07/29/2014

I’ve always been up to date when it comes to changes on my body. In late 2013 I found out I was going to be a mother. During my pregnancy, my doctor told me to expect changes, some drastic.

I wasn’t expecting this drastic.

In March 2014, I gave birth to my son Jaeden, a healthy baby boy. He wasn’t even a week old when I noticed an evolving mole on my left upper thigh. I did what your not supposed to do and googled skin cancer moles. My mouth instantly dropped when I saw the symptoms of melanoma (ABCDE) and noticed this mole had every one of those characteristics. I called around to see when I could get into a dermatologist. The soonest was September. Mind you I lived near Minot, ND during the oil boom. I looked at other options and contacted a surgeon in Bismarck.

I was able to get into a plastic surgeon in early July. He said I had a lot of moles I needed to have taken off and checked but was technically only supposed to do 2 at a time. Eventually he removed 3. He called back a week and a half later and said he wanted to meet with me at his Minot location. I sat their waiting with my 4 month old, patiently. He came in with the nurses and bluntly expressed, “You have Melanoma. We’re going to have to go back into your incision and make sure we get it all out”.

I didn’t know what to say or how to react. I was 21 the day I found out and my birthday was 2 days away. I calmly made my appointment for the next week to have more skin taken off and went home.

All I could think was what did I do to deserve this? Was it something I did? Is it more hereditary? I didn’t know a single person with cancer, and here I was at 21 years old with Melanoma and a 4 month old.

Since then I’ve had over 15 moles removed. A good portion of them being precancerous. I’m so cautious about changes with my body I won’t hesitate to make an appointment for the smallest issues.

Finding out I had melanoma gave me the ambition I needed in life. I can honestly say having cancer gave me a reason to have goals in life and as of June 2017 I completed all of them! First I had 2 kids, Jaeden(3) and Witley(1). Graduated college in May 2017, and married my kid’s dad in June 2017. I have a wonderful career working as a Youth Education Coordinator for the biggest farm organization in North Dakota. I don’t take days for granted anymore, and I make the most out of life for my family!