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Person sitting on exam table nervously reading a piece of paper

One in a Million

When I first heard about the opportunity to share my story, I was a little apprehensive, to be honest. "I'm not a writer," I thought to myself. It's been hard looking back on the past few years because it all happened so fast and the details aren't as clear as they once were. I don't exactly know where to start, but does anyone when they hear the word, "cancer?" Still, the message I have to share is an important one because no one my age thinks they could have a one-in-a-million type of tumor growing just below the surface.

It started as a tiny bump

I had a bad feeling when I got the phone call to come into the office for my test results. The tiny pimple-like bump on my stomach that had shown up a few months prior was still there, and nothing I did seemed to help make it disappear. I tried poking it, popping it; I even tried toothpaste because toothpaste has always been my secret go-to for those pesky bumps! It looked no different from any other freckle on my body, yet felt somewhat hard in texture, so after debating for a month or so, I decided to address the issue at my next OB appointment (I was pregnant at the time).

Next step: A biopsy

"Well, it's probably nothing," he said, "but since it's pulling inwards a bit let's do a little biopsy on it to see what’s going on." I remember feeling absolutely terrified at the thought of being AWAKE for this simple procedure. (Oh goodness - if I only knew what was in store for me a few months down the road!) I made an appointment for the following week and did my best to go about the day. After all, I was too busy taking care of my two boys to worry about much else.

The week quickly passed and the time had come for the biopsy procedure. I nervously lay on the exam table, watching YouTube videos on my phone as the smell of burning flesh permeated the air around me. The procedure didn’t hurt, it just sounded more intense than it actually was. He sewed me up with a few tiny stitches and that was that!

A very rare skin cancer

“So the results came back as a type of cancer called dermatofibrosarcoma protubeans (DFSP)” the nurse explained while stumbling over the pronunciation. She handed me a freshly printed sheet of paper that told the dimensions of the tumor and I looked it over while holding back tears. She said that they were referring me to a dermatologist since there wasn’t much else they could do.

My diagnosis reaction

“But...I have a new baby at home,” I thought to myself. “Am I going to die? I don’t have time for this!” My head was spinning. I left my appointment and immediately text my fiancé: “Yeah it’s cancer.” (For the record, he wasn’t very thrilled to be informed via text message. My bad.) After sitting alone in my car softly crying to myself, I did what any girl in distress would do. I called my best friend and went to Target for some retail therapy!

Rare skin cancer survival story

One detail of that day kept me going throughout this entire journey, and I don’t think I’ve told many people about it until now. As I walked through the doors, straight for Target's famous dollar section, I saw something that literally took my breath away. Right in front of me was a tiny little sign that read, “I will survive.” From that moment on I knew that this chapter in my life would be a long one, but that my story was far from over.

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