In July 2007, I was diagnosed with stage III melanoma. I never thought this would ever happen to a young adult, especially me! I turned 16 on August 1st, the same day I had my first surgery. Since 1 lymph node was found positive for cancer, I underwent a second surgery to remove 12 more lymph nodes. Fortunately, the next 12 lymph nodes were cancer free.
I underwent interferon therapy 5 days per week for 4 weeks and landed in the hospital for a week due to the toxin buildup in my body. I am now taking a smaller dose of interferon that is self-injected 3 times per week for 11 months.
I haven’t been able to attend school first semester (I’m a junior in high school), but I plan to try to attend second semester.
Having just celebrated Thanksgiving, I realize that I have a lot to be thankful for. I am thankful that I am still alive and look forward to the end of my treatment and being told that I am “cancer free!”
I am also thankful for people like Jean Schlipmann and Aim at Melanoma, who provide a lot of support and fund research in hopes of finding a cure.