Survivor Stories

Hayley Neale, Stage III

My name is Hayley. I was diagnosed Stage IIIc melanoma. I had a small freckle on my right knee area, which over the 6 weeks grew excessively to the point where it started to bleed. So I booked into see my doctor in early Oct 2013 and had it cut out to be biopsied.

A week later I got a call from surgeon telling me my doctor wanted to see me and I asked why it was regarding my biopsy. So a day later when I got a chance I got the news I had a melanoma, and it was aggressive and that I’d be referred to a surgeon at my local hospital. So the next day I went in, and that’s when reality hit, this wasn’t a dream. So it was decided I’d be treated down in Melbourne at “peter mac,” a better survival I was told.

So early Dec 2013 I had my melanoma removed and five lymph nodes removed. I found out later three were cancerous, so in early January 2014 I had another 13 lymph nodes removed in my groin area.

So far I’m cancer free, and at this stage I haven’t had treatment as I’m being monitored every 3 months with PET scans and checkups. I’m feeling well. I’m wearing a compression stocking and trying to get back some control in my life. I haven’t had a decent cry as in some way my body or mind won’t let me. I was off work for 5 months to recover and get back to feeling stronger for work. I hated those months off work, but it made me appreciate that work helps me be the person I am.

I’m not a fan of needles but with time I’ve tried to be brave but it hasn’t been easy. I keep telling myself that I will get thru this and that I will kick n scream till I have no strength in me as I will leave this earth in my time.

Has this changed me?…yes!! Am I scared?… hell yeah!!!! But I realize I can fight this. I never used a solarium, but growing up as a 70s/80s kid I was outside playing and swimming but since starting the 40s my young years have caught up with me.

I can’t turn back time but I can live and enjoy what life I have … God bless you all. May you live a happy long life!