Date of Diagnosis: 08/24/2017
I had a mole on my leg that was giving me a little trouble. I bumped it and it wasn’t healing right. I had a biopsy done. The doctor called me at work with the results of the biopsy. All I heard was “malignant melanoma”. I had no idea what all that meant…I just knew at that moment I had CANCER! That night we tried to work through all the emotions and did a lot of soul-searching.
Within a week we were meeting the surgical oncologist. I had a wide excision on the side of my leg along with a few lymph nodes to check on the spread of the cancer. After the surgery, I had to wait for the results. Days passed. It seemed like forever.
I got a call from my surgeon on 9/11 and was told I had stage IIIb melanoma and luckily, there was a trace of cancer in a lymph node and only because of that, I was eligible to get treatment. We met the medical oncologist and discussed my diagnosis. We put a game plan together. I found out I was able to get the most recent FDA-approved drug, approved just before my appointment.
This new world I was forced into had a big learning curve. I was ready to start treatment after I had my port put in. So, I started my year-long adventure of immunotherapy infusion every 2 weeks. I rang the bell 26 treatments later…in October of 2018. In November I had a scan and it was all clear! In December I got the port out… Finally!
On January 7, 2019, I woke up and got ready for work. As I leaned against the counter I felt a sore spot. I found a lump in my lymph nodes. We went back to the surgical oncologist that same morning and had a biopsy done. We waited for what seemed forever. Days later it was confirmed that it was melanoma.
I can’t even begin to tell you how disappointing that was. I had to make a decision on what to do next. I had to follow my gut and have peace with the decision. So, back to surgery and the removal of more lymph nodes.
This was followed up with another year of treatment. This time a different immunotherapy. I started treatment in March 2019 going every 3 weeks for 13 treatments. I have lymphedema in my left leg from surgery on the lymph nodes. My last treatment was in February 2020.
This has truly been a challenging experience, but I have made something amazing out of it. I now host a podcast to support and empower others.
Lorie, Tesny, Stage III
Jensen Beach, Florida