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Deborah C.

A few days before my 48th birthday, I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Luckily it was caught early enough that it didn't require chemo or radiation. However, a PET scan revealed a nodule in my lung. I wanted it out immediately but the doctors said the treatment would be to watch it. A yearly CT was all that was needed.

Over the next few years I moved several times and had to find new cancer doctors each time, one of which didn't tell me that the nodule size had increased. This was told to me by my current oncologist.

Late last October the oncologist said I was cancer free. That would be the last time I would see her for the melanoma. I posted the good news on Facebook. A few weeks later I had the yearly CT of the chest. Soon I discovered I wasn't cancer free. But I wasn't a smoker! All my life I had been exposed to cigarettes. The joy of the holiday season was replaced with a fear, more tests and a lung biopsy. I found out that I needed to have lung resection just before Christmas.

Having worked for surgeons in the past, I knew what type of procedure I wanted. The problem was the surgeon I wanted was more than 1,000 miles away. I was referred to a wonderful doctor in St. Louis and underwent a VATS procedure. Stage 1 and no T factor! No chemo or radiation was needed.

Yesterday was one year since that surgery. I still need CT scans every four months now. I am very lucky to have beaten cancer twice and without having chemo or radiation. The emotional journey of cancer has taught me to appreciate life in a whole new way. This past Christmas was so much better.

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