Survivor Stories

Kathy Lander, Stage I

Diagnosed 08/02/14

I found out I had melanoma Aug. 2 2014 the day I had returned from a week at the beach. Such shocking news to get that phone call. I had a mole removed 3 years prior that pathology said was nothing to worry about . Three years later something grew back in the same area . My family physician didn’t think it was anything to worry about but he removed it anyway . I  went back 2 weeks later to have stitches removed and he said that the results weren’t back yet but not to worry because it looked fine . I left the next morning for the beach. I spent the next week soaking up the sun. I returned with an awesome tan but found out the same day that I had melanoma.

I never used sunscreen. I would always burn in the sun at first but it would change to a tan . I always thought tanned people looked so healthy and pretty . I wish I had been better educated on the dangers of the sun and the importance of sunscreen . I educated myself via the internet reading all kinds of horror stories about this monster …melanoma . I was sure this was a death sentence. I feared my 2 little girls would grow up without a mommy. I was devastated. My melanoma was Stage 1 however the pathology showed mitosis. Two months later I had a wide-local excision on my left forearm and a sentinel Lymph Node biopsy  with 3 lymph nodes removed from my left axillary . Thankfully the lymph nodes were negative and my final stage was 1Tb. I travel over 3 hours every 3 months to The Cleveland Clinic to have Melafind and skin checks . I thank God that almost 2 years later I am doing good and have not had another melanoma . I faithfully wear sunscreen, wear UV protective clothing including a hat and do monthly skin checks at home . Although there is always a chance this beast will return, I’ve chosen to continue to live my life and love my pale skin!