Survivor Stories

Mallory Claeys

Diagnosed 05/19/2019

I am a perfect example of the importance of listening to your body and trusting your intuition.

In 2016 I had my PCP look at a freckle on my upper thigh that had a tinge of red to it. The PCP assured me it looked fine, but by early 2019 I noticed the redness surrounding the freckle had grown. I had a different PCP by this time – who again, said it looked fine – but I insisted that a biopsy be taken. I had spent far too many hours in the tanning bed as a teenager and as a young 20 something, that I knew it was a possibility.

Even as my PCP was taking the biopsies (there was another similar, smaller version next to the original one) she said “Ya know, I really think these are nothing, but if you insist!”

Boy am I glad I insisted. A few days later I got the call that not one but BOTH of my biopsies came back as melanoma. The one that I had first noticed was actually an in-situ and the newer much smaller one was a stage 1a. I will admit, after this diagnosis, I could barely function. Though it was caught early (and my excisions both came back with clear margins) my anxiety was at an unmanageable rate. I was convincing myself that I would eventually die from this disease and leave behind my two young, beautiful little girls. It was a truly devastating time in my life that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

Luckily, after finding an angel of a therapist and I stopped reading the horror stories of melanoma, my anxiety is now under control and I have been NED since June 2019.

Being vigilant and reminding myself to have compassion about my feelings surrounding this awful cancer keeps me thinking positively. Ultimately, this journey has taught me some really valueable lessons about life and I will always be incredibly grateful for my health.