Survivor Stories

Kristina Rist

Diagnosed  11/01/2011

My name is Kristina. I am 25, a mother of a beautiful 10-year-old girl, just got my first house with the man of my dreams, a new puppy (we now have 3 dogs), and as of November 2011, melanoma.

I found a mole on my right ankle that was a bit raised, and being the paranoid person I already was, I went right in and had it removed. A few weeks later I received a letter in the mail stating I had melanoma Stage tIa, Breslow 0.4. It was like a ton of bricks hit me; I couldn’t breathe and I immediately broke down crying. I am only 25, I just enrolled back in college, I have a new house; OMG, am I going to die?!?! So much goes through your head, usually the worst, too.

I went in and had an open excision done, which now means I have a big open hole on my ankle. I was laid up for almost a month because the pressure of walking was so painful. I have been very aware of every single mole on my body and have been in now and had two more excisions. I just got a call this morning saying that of the three biopsies they took 2 weeks ago, two of them are severe and will be melanoma if not excised. SO here I am again with another hole on my left leg and another scar on my back.

I have many moles on my body, so my gut is telling me this is far from over. But I WILL get through this. I spent so much time crying and feeling sorry for myself that now I just get angry and determined to get healthy, get rid of this, and live the life my family and I deserve. I, of course, am scared beyond belief but know I need to be strong for my daughter and my own sanity.

I wish teenagers knew how dangerous tanning is. I maybe tanned 10 times my entire life and got four sunburns, and that was all it took. I am hoping to organize some sort of skin cancer walk in our city to help raise awareness of how serious this cancer is. It’s weird that even living in the city of the “great” Mayo Clinic I still feel like I’m not getting the answers I need or the expert eye this disease requires.