About Me

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I'm a Jesus loving girl who is blessed with an amazing husband and two beautiful children. At the age of 23, while pregnant with my firstborn I noticed a dome shaped nodular area on my left hip. It started growing larger and eventually started bleeding. After the birth of my baby girl and my 24th birthday I decided to get the ugly bump checked. The result was Stage III nodular Malignant Melanoma that had extensions into my lymph nodes. I completed a year of Interferon chemotherapy. a year later I became pregnant with my second child. After his birth I developed two more melanoma primary tumors-- stage 1 2010, and stage 2 in 2011. Since then I have made it my mission to advocate and educate to bring about melanoma awareness in hopes that it could save others from this deadly disease. Thankfully, I am very healthy and doing very well! I have No Evidence of Disease and I'm showing Cancer Who's Boss by staying fit and healthy. I plan to blog about my adventures in running over cancer during training for my first Full marathon Fall 2014. Remember to love your skin, protect your skin, and check your skin. Share the love and spread the chemical-free lotion!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Melanoma Roller-coaster

Pregnancy with Baby Boy (2yrs Post Cancer Treatment)

After Delivering my 8lb 5oz Boy

My little Guy

This was the biopsy site from the third Primary.  There was residual Amelanotic Melanoma Cells  Where you see the pink  "irritated area".  The area was itchy and scaly.  If you have a place on your skin like this that doesn't go away Please Go GET IT CHECKED!!!!!!
Hello Friends, Since writing my first post I've been experiencing a roller coaster of different emotions.  At first I was super excited about having a place to share my story and share tips on being sun safe to avoid the deadly black cancer.  But soon after posting my first blog I began feeling like I had a ton of bricks sitting on my chest.  Even the next couple days after posting I was obsessing over certain things about the blog and questioning if this writing business is something I'm even cut out to do. I guess you could say I felt vulnerable and a part of me felt as if I had just scratched the top off a Huge scab over my heart.  I mean the past year has been nothing but melanoma and more melanoma.  As you know from the first post I developed my first melanoma when I was 23 but wasn't diagnosed until I turned 24 in Sept 2006.  At that point the disease was stage III with lymph node involvement and I had to do a year of toxic chemo.  Well after that year was over I thought that was the end of my battle with the beast.  I truly believed it wasn't ever coming back.  Even though I was still having to go to the oncologist and dermatologist for PET scans and skin checks every three months I always expected good news.  Well, in July 2010 (almost a year after the birth of my Son) I was diagnosed with a second melanoma primary tumor (another Amelanotic Melanoma).  For those that are not familiar with the types of melanoma, Amelanotic Melanomas are non pigmented, flesh colored tumors and are very rare to develop.  At this point I had already developed two!  Thankfully it was caught early Stage 1 Clarks level II so the only treatment was surgical excision over my Right Shoulder.  It kind of shook me a bit after that second melanoma but I just went on about my normal routine.  Living from scan to scan and dr visit to dr visit.  Then in Nov 2010, the same week as thanksgiving I went for my 3 month dermatology visit and my Dr noticed a new flesh colored raised area on my left lower back.  I actually had a scar in that area that had been there for years but there was something growing inside of the scar tissue.  My Dr decided to biopsy it and in early December I found out I had yet another Invasive Melanoma Primary (3.3mm Breslow Stage II).  At this point my Dr's felt it was in my best interest to be sent to Vanderbilt's Melanoma Center for Surgical excision and removal of lymph nodes in both groins.  So on Jan 7, 2011 I traveled to Nashville to have my third Amelanotic Melanoma Primary tumor removed.  Vandy determined the cause of my Multiple Melanoma's was due to a genetic mutation and dysplastic nevus syndrome.  Even though my Dr's at Vandy are melanoma specialist they have never seen a patient with multiple Amelanotic melanoma primaries that occur denovo (not in a pre-existing mole).  Most patients with multiple melanoma's caused by dysplastic nevus syndrome have multiple moles all over their body and I don't have any moles.  I have some freckles but no moles.  so basically any new growth on my skin that looks like its changing my drs cut it out.  I've had more biopsies than I can count on my fingers and toes and a total of at least 5 wide excisions to remove atypical melanocytic lesions.  Then just 5 months after my surgery my dear friend Joe and I were both going for scans, He was also a stage III Melanoma patient. I received mixed results about some lymph nodes on my scan and had to go for 15 core biopsy samples on my groin and left axillary lymph nodes.  Around the same time my friend Joe found out his cancer had spread to his lung.  He went on to have surgery to remove the mass in his lung and within just a few short months the melanoma had spread to his liver, spleen, bones, and brain. He did several radiation treatments and chemo treatments.  He was such a brave and  courageous warrior.  He fought so hard but Melanoma took his life on Feb 13, 2012 at the young age of 33.  That was a personal blow from the beast.  You can mess with me, but leave my friends and my family alone!!!!  I hate you  Melanoma!!!!  Now here we are in the Melanoma Month of May and I'm quite sick of the word Melanoma.  Don't get me wrong...I am a melanoma awareness Queen because I want people to know and understand that this is not just skin cancer.  I love the awareness the disease is getting because it's now being exposed but I hate what it stands for.  With the awareness are real people and real lives who's entire worlds are being turned upside down because of this disease.  It's painful....but necessary to share my story.  I created this Blog so my friends can share this with the teens in their life that thinks their skin is invincible.  This is not just "lets cut it out and you'll be fine" kind of skin cancer.  This cancer, once it becomes invasive loves to travel to lymph nodes, lung, brain, bone, liver, and anywhere it wants.  So friends I guess you can understand my anxiety behind my first blog post.  It's just hard putting yourself out there sometimes.  There will be days that I won't post because my family is more important and I want days that are full of  all things NOT MELANOMA!  So after much time reading over and over and over through my profile  I just wasn't pleased with the way my "about me" section sounded!  What was wrong with it? After reading it several times I realize I don't like the way it sounds because it's not me.  Sure I'm a Melanoma Survivor but my life is far more than just melanoma.  This profile is suppose to describe me and although my body is covered in scars from this horrible beast I am not a victim!!!!  and I refuse to be one! I almost want to change the title of my Blog to "The Skin I'm In...Scars of Victory" or  "The Skin I'm In...Victory over Melanoma" or "The Skin I'm In: Kicking Melanoma where the Sun Don't Shine" hehehe!!!  All jokes aside I really do need to work on my  "about me" profile cause I may have a genetic mutation and I may develop 100 more melanoma's in my lifetime and it very well could be the cause of my death,  but I am NOT a victim of this disease!  This disease does not define who I am...It may Refine me...but it does not define me!  These however,  are things that define me: I love Jesus.  I love to dance and act silly with my kids.  I love to bear crawl and slither like a snake just to hear my kids giggle.  I love gymnastics and anything fitness.  I love to feel strong and push myself over the limit.  I love a good challenge.  I love quite moments with with my love.  I love to catch lighting bugs and eat watermelon.  I love the beach and the sound of the ocean.  I love thunderstorms at night.  I love making people feel better.  I love praying for others.  I love to make a difference. I love to smile.  and as painful as it is at times If I can save just one life from melanoma, then this blog will be worth it.  Thanks friends for allowing me to vent!  I already feel as if those tons of bricks have been lifted Praise God!!!  Please keep me in your prayers as i'm having some difficulty with wound healing from my last surgical excision.  Hopefully after I take my oral and topical antibiotics things should heal soon.  Much love and God Bless each of you.  Psalm 31:7 " I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness, Because you have seen my affliction; You have know the troubles of my soul, (8) And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a large place."

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