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Woman holding up her cell phone to take a picture of a suspicious bump on her head

My Melanoma Nightmare Part One: A Bump on My Head

It all started with a little bump on my head that I found in 2015 while my husband and I were in Colorado celebrating our ten-year anniversary. I asked him to take a picture of it and we decided it looked like a wart. It was the same color as my scalp and was slightly raised and scaly, but other than that, it was unremarkable.

After we returned home to Florida, we resumed daily life as parents to our then, three-year-old daughter. My husband was a Foreman for a construction company and I owned a cheerleading and gymnastics gym. All in all, I felt like life was pretty perfect, so when we learned we were pregnant with our second child, I was elated!

The growing “wart” on my head

One day while combing my hair, my mom pointed out the “wart” on my head. She took a picture of it and I could immediately tell it looked bigger and had more of a pink color to it than when I first discovered it. Nothing jumped out at us as being worrisome though. Nevertheless, I didn’t like it so I scheduled a dermatology appointment.

Once there, my dermatologist said she also thought the bump looked like a wart. We discussed performing a biopsy, but when she learned I was pregnant, she wasn’t comfortable using anesthesia since my pregnancy was labeled high-risk. We agreed the best plan of action was to monitor the bump and wait until we got the all-clear from my OB to perform the biopsy.

Punch biopsy after more changes

About one month later, our happy world came to a screeching halt on my 36th birthday when I was rushed to the hospital with excruciating abdominal pain. There, we learned we’d lost the baby. This sad event threw me into a terrible depression for most of the holidays.

During this time, the bump on my head was showing all sorts of odd characteristics. It would sometimes turn bright pink. It would scale up like a scab, then break off and ooze small amounts of pus. It was about as big around as a pencil eraser and it had nearly tripled in size since I first discovered it six months earlier. Because I was no longer at risk of harming our baby, I decided to schedule an appointment to finally have the biopsy done.

At my appointment, my dermatologist expressed that she still felt my bump looked wart-like and attributed its rapid growth to the influx of pregnancy hormones. She took pictures and performed a punch biopsy. Then she stitched me up and then I left that day, carrying on with life as usual.

Stage 2 advanced nodular melanoma

I remember never feeling nervous about what my biopsy would reveal. Looking back though, I should have been panicked. For someone who felt so confident about life, one cannot imagine how surprised I was to learn two weeks later that I had Stage 2 advanced nodular melanoma.

Although I had a million questions at the time, I still wasn’t concerned. In fact, I remember telling my mom, “No need to cry. It was just a tiny spot on my head. Don’t worry so much.” The next day, everything changed.

Rachel’s journey continues in Part Two here.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • francinecinquanta
    2 years ago

    So terrifying and painful to read the stories of Rachel and Curt. I survived Spider Melanoma back in 1987. The treatment was a little more severe at that time and they surgically removed it, leaving a deep and ugly scar, from my cheekbone to my chin.
    The Melanoma had ‘legs’ (like a spider) and one went into my sinuses. It was a miracle that I survived it. God was good to me and the trauma of it all led me to discover an exfoliating powder from the sea – natural and non toxic. I used it every day. It lessened the scaring so much that people were surprised when I mentioned it. It became the basic ingredient of my natural skin line.

  • l1curt
    2 years ago

    I had a little bump on the top of my head in August 2016. It was like a mosquito bite on steroids. It was there 4-6 weeks before I went to my dermatologist. Since I’ve had a history of melanoma my MD did a punch biopsy. Turned out it was desmoplastic melanoma. Surgery and radiation took care of it. In a follow up PET scan looking for melanoma in January 2017, lymphoma was found. I beat that, too!!
    So, have all head lumps checked!

  • Rachel Tapley author
    2 years ago

    @/1curt Your description of your tumor was so perfect — both humorous and helpful!! (“a mosquito bite on steroids” lol) Although my melanoma was nodular and yours was demoplastic, I still feel like our journeys share a lot of similarities. Thanks so much for sharing your story! And congrats on kicking both melanoma AND lymphoma to the curb!!! ~Cheers, Rachel

    P.S. Part 2 of my story will be published soon in case you’re interested in reading about my treatment post-diagnosis.

  • Judy Cloud moderator
    2 years ago

    @/1curt Thank you for sharing your experience and your words of advice for others. You are a warrior! Wishing you good health. Thanks for being part of our community! Judy, Moderator

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