Survivor Stories

Laura Michael

My story began in October 2007. I had found a red spot on my back in September and made an appointment with my dermatologist. This was a raised, dry looking spot. I knew when he took a biopsy that it wasn’t good. I got a call that it was melanoma and that a PET scan would be needed as well as testing for the main lymph node in that area by removal.

My first surgery was Halloween, 2007. My doctor called me within 5-6 days and confirmed it had spread into my lymph nodes and that the rest under my left arm pit would need to be removed and tested.

My second surgery was performed on November 19, 2007 at the University of Alabama (UAB). Like the first, it was conducted as an outpatient service. I requested that if at all possible, I wanted to come home. I was sent this time with a drain tube that was stitched on the outside of my body. This was definitely the worse of the two surgeries for me. The test results came back negative for having spread to any other lymph nodes; so I felt I was in the clear. I was scheduled to have CT scans and see my oncologist every 3 months.

So, I went back to work in December. January 2008, my husband was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (primary brain cancer) in two spots of his brain. He died 2 weeks later after brain surgery while he was in rehab.

I suffered a stroke in August 2009 ~ another scare as they thought the melanoma had moved to my brain – lucky for me it was a blood clot that went through a hole in my heart (that I did not know I had) and I had a full recovery.

I finally made it to going to the oncologist every 6 months in 2010. In December 2010, my CT scan showed suspicious areas in my chest so my doctor scheduled a PET scan. The cancer had spread to more lymph nodes n my chest, five areas.

I am now Stage IV and have been receiving chemo treatments every 3 weeks since January. I get a scan every 8 weeks. My last scan showed no growth, but no reduction; a small victory.

I just had my first grand baby in December, a preemie born 2lbs 13oz. We are both fighters and I know God has a plan for me and has given me many warrior friends that pray for me; love me; and expect great things from me. I have survived much pain and hardship.

My youngest daughter graduates high school next year and I plan to be here. The doctors give me a year or so, but God is on His own time schedule and ultimately it is He who will decide. None of us are promised tomorrow, I am just blessed I am aware of my cancer and they are trying to extend my life until a cure is developed. I have too much to live for and refuse to die for the sake of cancer.

I’m only 48 and there is so much I have to do here and hope to be of help to others and take away the fear and the darkness. God promised to be with us and He has never abandoned me, not in my loneliest or darkest moments.