Survivor Stories

Megan Jennings, Stage III

Diagnosed  04/01/2015

In March of 2015, I went to the dermatologist to get what I thought was a mole removed. Knowing that it had grown and began to drain some, I knew it was not good. At this time I was also expecting my first child, so I was not sure if that was the reason for the changes or not. I remember getting the call saying you need to come in now so we can talk about your pathology results. From that moment on I knew it was bad. I was then referred to a surgical oncology dermatologist.

Being 31, newly married and expecting, I was devastated. I thought that the beginning of the end of my life was in front of me. So my husband and I headed to UNC Cancer Center to meet my surgeon.

In April of 2015, I had what was the first of 3 surgeries. Being almost 5 months pregnant, things were different for me. I had the rest of the mole taken out and clear margins were obtained. So I was told to have my child and come back after to finish. It was reassuring knowing that the mole was gone, but what if its somewhere else now, how do I know. All the questions and worries.

In August of 2015, after giving birth to my hero, I had the lymph node tracking and dissection. One of two nodes removed had a small spot of cancer. So back to the operating room in Sept for the third surgery. 27 lymph nodes removed at that time. Now the lymphedema began. And its time to go see the Hematology/ Oncology doctor to hear about treatment options. All this while being a new mom! The emotions were at their best.

After meeting with my oncologist and hearing my 3 options, I opted for Ipilimumab. This treatment was approved in Oct of 2015 for Stage 3 Melanoma. I began the year long treatment in Nov of 2015. Things were very hard for the first 4 months! New mom, working full time, lymphedema treatment and the ipi treatments. Some days I just cried out of pure exhaustion! I was blessed with the best support system and on these days I really relied on them!

As the treatments went on, things were getting better and better! I continued with the treatments and labs and visits to the oncologist! Before I knew it, I had completed the year!!! Being the first patient at UNC to have done this!! I was so grateful and now and almost 2 years cancer FREE!!! I look at my son every day and thank god for blessing me with my HERO! He truly saved my life!!!