Survivor Stories

Heather Snyder, Stage IV

In July 2008, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma Cancer. After a year of tough chemo, my cancer has decided to make a comeback. I am SOOOO over cancer!

On July 8, 2008, the day my daughter turned 6 months old, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma. That day changed my whole life. I started a year long round of chemo called Interferon in August 2008. In January, I noticed lumps under my skin. By March, I had two more. Those were all taken off in March and all came back positive for Melanoma.

Obviously, the chemo that I had been on for the past 8 months was not working. My local oncologist admitted that he did not have the chemo that I needed. We immediately went to MD Anderson in Houston, TX. The best cancer treatment center in the nation. I was started on 6 rounds of very, very rough biochemo. I was hospitalized for a week while the chemo drugs were administered. I would come home for two weeks and then would head back to Houston to do it all over again.

After 6 rounds, two small tumors remained. I had surgery in September 2009 to remove one and surgery in December 2009 to remove the second.

On February 12, 2010, the doctor discovered that my cancer had returned. My oncologist at MD Anderson did not feel that they had the chemo I needed. He wanted me to find the trial with RO5. Luckily, I was able to get into a trial at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. The RO5 has shrank the tumor that I feel from 2.8 cm to mm’s. At this time, due to some pretty awful side effects, I have been taken off the RO5 for the time being. I am hoping to continue the meds soon. To read the rest of my story, you can check out my blog at

Through it all, my family has been my rock. My husband has stood beside me the whole time. My kids have given me hugs and kisses when I needed it the most. And, my parents and in-laws have helped with whatever we have needed.

I am not sure why God chose me to fight this battle. And I’ll be honest, it sort of ticks me off! But, I was chosen and I can’t change that. All I can do is fight my hardest to be here for my children. Not many people survive Stage IV Melanoma, but I am determined to be one that does!