In February 2009, I noticed a mole on my back that had turned from brown to black. When I had it checked out, my doctor said it looked suspicious. He did a biopsy and I got a call about three days later telling me that I had melanoma. At the time I didn’t really know what melanoma was. He told me I needed an additional surgery and he set everything up. I went in for the WLE and had clear margins and was told that it was stage 1. They told me to see my dermatologist regularly and wear sunscreen. I did follow the directions that the doctor gave. In September 2012 I noticed a small lump in my left breast and I immediately thought that I had breast cancer. I followed up and had imaging done, an ultrasound, and a needle biopsy. I got a call that the tumor in my breast was melanoma.
So on October 1, 2012, I was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. I found a melanoma specialist and immediately had surgery after surgery and more treatments. The treatments were tough and I was really sick. In 2013, I was diagnosed with my first brain metastasis. I ended up having five brain metastasis in all and two craniotomies, along with gamma knife.
To make matters worse, my only sibling had a lump under his left arm and on April 23, 2014 my brother was diagnosed with stage 4. melanoma. Not only was I fighting this disease but I was also caring for my brother with the same disease. My younger brother died on March 20, 2015. During this battle, I have had many treatments, and surgeries. I am currently five years NED!
I have made it my mission to educate and advocate. I do presentations about sun safety and melanoma awareness. I speak to middle school and high school health classes, I speak to lifeguards and workers that spend a lot of time outdoors working. My goal, is to educate as many people as I can about the dangers of the sun, because I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I have been through in my life.