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It has been almost 20 years, since my diagnosis of Gorlin’s Syndrome (also known as basal cell carcinoma nevus syndrome). The signs were there — when I was 17 years old, I started experiencing jaw cysts. The cysts were so deep that the doctors almost had to remove part of the left side of my jaw. Since then, I’ve had to have one to two surgeries a year. And when I was 35 years old, I started sprouting basal cell carcinomas on my face, then legs, chest and back. The doctors have frozen them, removed them surgically and I’ve had more than 40 procedures.

Then I met a doctor who was aware of the disease and recommended my family and I get tested to confirm. We learned my daughter also has this disease. And as much as it bothered me when I found out that I had it, it crushed me when I learned that I had passed it on to my daughter. It’s very hard knowing that she got it from me.

Since my diagnosis, I am very careful about going out in the sun. I wear sunblock and try to limit the time that I am outside. In the hot summer, I’ll go out with long sleeve shirts and pants and many look at me like I’m crazy. But then I explain to them that I have skin cancer and encourage them to take the proper precautions as well.

I’m very lucky to have found a great support network who has become my family. Whenever I have any questions, or concerns, the group always makes me feel very comfortable discussing anything.

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