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My Story

I had worked as a Pharmacy Technician for 35 years. One day at work I squatted down to pick up something and it was like the muscles in my legs wouldn’t work to stand up I had to grab something to pull myself up. A couple of weeks later we moved. I was picking up a box and had a sharp pain near my bellybutton. When I felt that area I felt a knot there. So a few weeks later I went to my new PCP cause we had moved about 50 miles out. He touched it, ordered CT and MRI scans. Two days later I got a call. The Dr. wanted me to come to his office as soon as I could, no appointment. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. So I called my husband to go with me.

The Dr. said you have at least 3 internal tumors. Scheduled surgery for the knot at my bellybutton results came back stage 4 melanoma. Then Oncologist because my husband asked how long. The answer: 6 months. First I had Cyberknife (SRS) for tumors in the brain. Then he referred us to Emory in Atlanta. Several visits there on the last day of the Yervoy (Ipilubimab) trial I finally qualified. I had 3 doses 1 every 3 weeks. Each scan showed reduction in size. Down the road had to have abdominal surgery, radiation on the lung and a few years later one on my side near the breast had to be surgically removed. This journey began in 9/2010. I am now considered NED. I was very fortunate I did not have severe side effects.

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.


  • Leigh author
    8 months ago

    We celebrate each additional year the Lord honors me with.

  • Nina M moderator
    8 months ago

    I find it’s often an important time for reflection, @Leigh, and have heard other advocates talk about how affecting those anniversaries are. Thinking of you! – Nina, Team

  • blackhorse
    8 months ago

    Great story. Gives hope to everyone.
    You have been blessed.

  • Nina M moderator
    8 months ago

    Thanks for your support, @blackhorse. @Leigh, this is such an important story, especially because it shows that not all melanoma diagnoses start with a mole. I’m sure recurrence anxiety is always there, and hope it’s not too distracting. Did you celebrate the 8 year mark? Wishing you well! – Nina, Team

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