Survivor Stories

Lainey Terwilliger

Diagnosed 08/23/2016

My name is Lainey in Aug of 2016 I was sitting out on my front porch enjoying the sun like I always did. I was sitting with my legs up on the chair and felt my mole that was on my right ankle it was all crusty ( I knew it wasn’t normal). I came in the house and got on Google, oops! Made a phone call to the Dr. and made an appointment.

The first Dr. I went to said  it looks like you cut yourself shaving! I told him that I actually don’t shave my ankles!! So I went to a different Dr. and she also thought it looked suspicious. She suggested that I have a biopsy. I waited over 2 weeks to get results.

While waiting for my results, on a Sunday afternoon, we received a phone call from my father in law’s neighbor saying they hadn’t seen him in a few days and was he ok? So we flew over to his house (he was about 30 min from our house). Knocked on his door and no answer. So we used his key pad on garage door to go in. We started calling for him and got no answer. As we walked into his living room we saw him laying in his hallway face down. My husband, Mike, ran to him while I called 911! When they arrived they said he probably died that Friday night. So while we were planning his funeral, that Tuesday, my husband was on phone with funeral home and I got the dreaded phone call from my Dr. that I had cancer.

So here we are trying to plan a funeral for my father in law, plan surgeries, treatments, sell his home and keep it together for my kids. We didn’t at that time and still don’t have much family support. The one we could count on, was my father in law. Our kids were overwhelmed needless to say! Our daughter was a sophomore in College and our son was a freshman in high school. We learned who true friends were through this process. It scared a lot of people away!

I went in for surgery on September 20, 2016 had skin grafts done with lymph node removal. They tested positive. I had to hold off on starting treatment due to infection but after that healed I did Interferon. Treatments were one full month everyday 5 days a week, then I was to do at home treatments for 11 months- 3 times a week but my liver was not agreeing so I had to discontinue treatments. Now I’m on a wait and see plan. I go in every 3 months for blood work, scans, and skin checks. That’s the life of a melanoma cancer patient.