Survivor Stories

Todd Beam

Diagnosed 04/02/2018

My husband, Todd, was diagnosed with stage 3c melanoma in April 2018. A mole that had been on his back for years began to itch, became irritated and started to grow. Melanoma never entered our minds although we both kept saying he needed to have it looked at, but life was happening and we were busy. He had our PCP look at it and although he thought it was basal cell, he sent him to the dermatologist. A week post biopsy, we got the dreaded phone call that it was melanoma. It was large (5.6 mm) and we were urgently referred to Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte. Following our initial consultation with the surgeon, he had a CT that picked up a suspicious lymph node under his arm which was biopsied and confirmed it contained melanoma. He had surgery on April 24, 2018 to remove the tumor from his back and a total lymph node dissection under his left arm. Only one of the 35 nodes removed contained melanoma and the surgeon got clear margins, but because he was stage 3c, we were then referred to oncology as they highly recommended he take a year of immunotherapy as a preventative to recurrence. Prior to treatment he had a brain MRI and had CT scans every three months for a year. He tolerated 8 of 12 treatments, but developed asymptomatic pancreatitis and had to stop. He is still cancer free! He continues to be monitored by his dermatologist and has routine scans at Levine. We’ve been together 36 years and this has by far been the scariest journey we’ve ever faced. It drew us closer than we ever thought possible and we also grew in our faith like never before. We are so thankful to our family, friends and medical team (who are like family to us) for the exceptional care they have provided Todd, but we give God the glory for the blessings He continues to give us on a daily basis. Through this journey, we have learned what’s important and what’s not. Put it in God’s hands and let it go! We hope our journey will help others with their journey as we feel God has given us the opportunity to share our story. We are thankful for the advances in melanoma treatments and pray that more patients will benefit.