Survivor Stories

Susan Gary, Stage III


I had every excuse in the world… I had a small spot of my calf for years and never really was worried. Why should I …..I wasn’t ever going to get cancer. I waited until I couldn’t ignore it any longer. My spot was raised and not flat. I waited until it was raised and bloody, and I still ignored it.

I finally went to my GP and then to a dermatologist. When he looked at it and then at me, I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t know how much my life would change. My biopsy came back as Stage III. I was sent to a surgeon who took a real big chunk out of my left calf. After surgery, he was sure he got it all. I had no other treatment. My dreaded melanoma came back within two months in the same area.

My big mistake was not going to a cancer surgeon to have chemo or other treatments. By this time, after having a PET scan, my cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in my groin area. This time I had a melanoma surgeon who removed 13 nodes from my groin area on one being cancer. The surgery was complex, but the recovery will be with me forever. I have constant swelling in my left upper thigh area, which is quite painful. I was then put on chemo pills. I was so sick, but I knew I had no choice.

Two months ago, the wonderful melanoma doctor I have so much faith in said I was in remission. However, I will need PET scans every three months for the next two years, then every six months for five years. All this because I ignored my symptoms and never went to a dermatologist.

I also found out I had breast cancer…Thank God it was very slow-growing. I had also ignored my mammograms. Here I am in the medical field, and I ignored my own body. My life and my family have been through so much because I was afraid. If I can help just one person from my heartache by telling you my story, my prayers will be answered.

Please remember to trust your body…you know it best. It still scares me, and I still cry but having family and friends can be so much help. If I can help you, I will be here for you. I am only 71, and I want to live to see my great-grandbabies. Thank you for letting me share a part of my life.

Susan Gary
Age 71
Stage III
Surprise, Arizona
Diagnosed 06/15/2019