Survivor Stories

Lindsay Bowden, Stage II

Diagnosed 02/19/15

I had been vacationing at the beach with my family and changing from my swimsuit I felt a bump on the back of my leg and thought maybe it was a pimple. I got out a hand held mirror and noticed it was a large mole almost to the inside/back of my right leg. Still yet it was not abnormally shaped or darker than usual so I didn’t feel too concerned.

I have loved the sun my whole life. I swam frequently outdoors as a kid and began indoor tanning at the age of 15 and continued for most weeks of the year for the next 14 years without incident. I have many moles and have had many removed and none have ever been an issue so there is usually no real urgency in seeing a dermatologist, I usually go once a year. But I felt this time was different.

At my visit my dermatologist, was so concerned that at my appointment she got on her personal cell phone and made an appointment with the plastic surgeon for me to get my mole biopsied as soon as possible.

During this time however I learned I was pregnant and put off going to the surgeon because I was afraid that the general anesthesia could affect the baby but finally went a few months later.

A weeks after that, I came back to the plastic surgeon and heard him in the room next to me talking to a resident about a melanoma they found and how to approach it with the patient. When he came into my room with the resident and said it was me that had the melanoma I was in shock. All I could think of is how much I love my life, my 8 year old, my husband, and baby on the way. All I knew about melanoma is that it is the deadliest form of skin cancer and I thought it was a death sentence for me and my baby.

I was scheduled for surgery two days later. They removed a large area all around the melanoma as well as three lymph nodes to test those because my melanoma was 3.5 mm deep. They were unaware how the surgery would affect the baby if at all or could it developmentally or slow or stop the baby’s heart.

As soon as I came out of surgery they put a fetal monitor on me and the baby was fine!

After they tested my lymph nodes and area around the melanoma nothing had metastasized!

It is now a little over a year later and I am still cancer free and have a healthy nine-month-old little girl.

I always knew the dangers of indoor tanning and always joked that if it’s going to kill me at least I will die tan. But once I was diagnosed, with an 8 year old and baby on the way, I couldn’t believe all the money that I had spent over the years giving myself cancer. My daughters will never see the inside of a tanning bed and never go outside without being slathered in sunscreen, as I am.