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Deerfield Beach, Florida


I was first diagnosed with Stage II melanoma in 2006 and had a mole removed from my upper right arm. I didn’t think it was a big deal and was not really all that surprised because I had the perfect recipe for it: red hair, fair skin, and I had used tanning beds when I was younger. After the surgery, I was given the all clear as lymph nodes removed from my underarm showed that the melanoma had not spread.

Then, in February of 2011, I started having strange headaches and was having problems with my vision. I was seeing flashes of light and at times it was blurry. I went and had my vision checked, thinking maybe it was my eyes. My eyes weren’t the problem, so I went to my primary care doctor. She thought maybe I had suddenly started having migraines, but wanted me to go for an MRI just to be sure. A few weeks later, I went for the MRI and the next thing I knew, I was in the emergency room. I had a brain tumor the size of a golf ball. It was unbelievable. I was only 37 years old and not ready for that.

Within a week, I had surgery to remove the brain tumor and then further scans revealed that I also had multiple tumors in my lungs and that it was Stage IV melanoma.

I spent the next year and a half recovering from the brain surgery. I am very thankful that I had a great support group made up of my husband and family, friends, and co-workers.

It is true that people who have not experienced this cannot fully understand. You have to keep yourself surrounded with people who care about you, are willing to take care of you, and who can help you maintain a positive attitude.