Survivor Stories

Karen Jones, Stage II

Diagnosed 07/01/2007

For at least 2 yrs I had a raised, pink and white growth on my left elbow.  It would bleed a little and looked a lot like a wart.  In 2007 I was getting a physical and my doctor suggested I go to a dermatologist and get it checked.  I went a couple weeks later and the dermatologist didn’t have any idea of what it was and treated it with steroids for a month.  No change.  He decided to do a punch biopsy and 3 days later he left me a voicemail that it was melanoma and I could die!  Thursday of that same week I had a wide excision on my elbow and sentinel node biopsy.  Margins were clear and nothing in my lymphnode!  My oncologist didn’t want me to take interferon as the benefits would not out weigh how sick I would be for a year.  There weren’t other options.  I was very very lucky considering how long it had been on my arm and the depth that it had not spread.  I got pet scans every 6 months for 6 yrs and now annually.  My biggest challenge is the fear of a recurrence.  In the beginning every little pain and I would panic that it spread to my internal organs.  I found a support group and attended classes to help me cope.  Find the thing that keeps you positive….faith, hope,friends.  There are more treatment options now than ever before.  It’s not perfect but it’s progress!