Survivor Stories

Courtney Karl

Diagnosed 08/01/2011

My story started in August 2011. I originally went to my dermatologist for treatment of acne. Before leaving, they asked if there was anything else I wanted them to take a look at, and I remembered a mole on my right hip/thigh that my mom had been telling me to have checked out.  I always loved to lie outdoors with baby oil and tan and, in the winter, use the tanning bed two to three times a week to keep that bronzed look year round.  The mole my mom was worried about was bigger than any of my other moles and in a place where the sun doesn’t normally shine.

Needless to say, I had the dermatologist take a look at my mole, and she decided to go ahead and biopsy it. One week later, I got a call that I needed to come in and talk to the doctor. I knew that couldn’t be a good sign, and since my husband was out of town for work, my mom went with me.  Thankfully she went and wrote everything down, because as soon as the doctor said malignant melanoma, I went numb. All I could think of was my kids, while the doctor explained to my mom (who was writing everything down in a notebook) about coming back to get a larger portion of my skin removed, then seeing a plastic surgeon to have the area closed up properly, chest x-rays, and blood work. Thank the Lord, after my second surgery and 20 stitches later, my margins came back clean.

I am diligent about keeping my kids lathered in sunscreen along with myself. I love wearing hats now and spreading the word about the dangers of tanning, writing my state representatives, and just spreading the word on Facebook to all my friends and family and anyone else who will listen. I’m thankful my melanoma was caught early at Stage 0, and I am cancer-free now, but I will constantly have a fear that it will come back or spread to somewhere else in my body.

Thank you for listening and please spread the word!!