Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma Survivor
In 2014 I was a young and naive lady wanting to have a beautiful bronze tan before we went to the beach. I decided, let’s give this tan can thing a try and see how tanned I can be.
After my 3rd tanning session, I realised that a mole on my leg started scabbing and just grew and grew and grew. A few weeks later, my best friend convinced me to see my GP. The GP immediately removed it and said not to worry, he often removed moles like these and just to put me at ease, he’ll send it for testing.
Oh boy was my life about to change!!!! A week later on the 25th of September, I got a phone call from my GP saying the mole came back positive for Melanoma and I had to see a plastic surgeon as soon as possible. Not believing my ears, I laughed it off and made an appointment with another GP the next day.
After seeing the second GP, reality started kicking in. I realised this was no longer a prank or a joke and I needed to see a specialist asap. A few days later I was sitting in front of the plastic surgeon, trying to be a brave little soldier for my family, as he confirmed it was Melanoma and I was diagnosed as Stage 1B Melanoma. As a precaution, we decided that a bigger incision will be done on my right lower calf to ensure all the little beasties were removed. Before my surgery in October 2014, I did a radioisotope scan and the doctor confirmed all my lymph nodes up to my right groin area were clear….
Another kick in the face from cancer!!!! Upon waking up after my surgery, I realised I couldn’t move, I was in severe pain. The plastic surgeon immediately told me that most of my groin lymph nodes were completely black of cancer and I needed to get a CT scan asap and call an Oncologist.
Two weeks later, sitting in front of my Oncologist, my world shattered!!! I was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma with numerous tumours on my liver and left ovary. The Oncologist referred me to a clinic and I needed to start with treatment asap.
On 5th of December 2014, I laced up my warrior boots and started with my first session of DTIC chemotherapy. Sitting in that brown poofy chair, needle in my arm, I was told that I would need at least 12 chemo sessions to ensure I would survive the outcome. Upon hearing this news, right there and then I decided this will not be my fate!!!
I will not be defeated by this; God gave his hardest battles to His strongest Soldiers. And only by His grace and power, will I defeat this!!!
After 6 chemo sessions, the best positive attitude I could conjure and my unyielding Faith in God, I was officially declared NED on 6th of June 2015, with the oncologist so shocked that they could not believe I had an almost 90% shrinkage in all the tumours!!!
Upon hearing this news, I knew I beat this!!! I beat this for my family and my friends that walked this long road with me, and I did this for myself!!! I fought for me!!! And God held my hand every step of the way!!!
I’m sharing my story, not to frighten people about the dangers of tanning and not looking after your skin, but simply to educate.
If sharing my story will be able to help another fighter, I hope that they will one day be able to look at me and say, because of you I never gave up. I hope to inspire just one person to keep on fighting with a positive attitude. I hope to celebrate with all survivors, because on that day, we had to be strong, we had to be brave to fight for our lives. Nobody can take that away from us and we will only be seen as warriors and survivors!
For me, life is continuously being hungry. The meaning if life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer!
I live to inspire, to teach and I live to show others that cancer was just a disease, not a life sentence.