Melanoma leaves a lasting mark on an individual, even for those who live with the promise of survival. The unfortunate reality is rooted in coping with the thought of it returning and the battle ahead, a combination often causes depression and anxiety. This inspired me to create an online community, TreatmentDiaries.com, to support people living with any type of cancer, along with those who care and advocate for them.
In 2004, at 34 years old, I was diagnosed with melanoma, which is a term I had never heard before. In an attempt to calm my fears, I searched the Internet to learn more about this deadly skin cancer. What I found was a lot of negative news; not a lot of good information about the possibility of beating the odds. I went into denial after that. It took me a few days before I could even accept the diagnosis. "Once you’ve had something as life-threatening as melanoma, you’re always worried it will come back. It’s something that becomes a part of you."
Today, I consider myself lucky. Eight years after this jarring diagnosis, I am cancer free with no evidence of disease. But there is something about battling this illness that never has left me.
It’s something that’s always on my mind. I have experienced recurrences of skin cancer, but nothing as severe as the melanoma I fought in 2004. Once you’ve had something as life-threatening as melanoma, you’re always worried it will come back. It’s something that becomes a part of you.
I wanted to help others, so I created my website to build a support network for those who need more than a physical support circle, or want a little more anonymity, or just need support on a more regular basis.
For me it's about never feeling alone again, no matter the condition, stage or prognosis. Patients, caregivers, family members and advocates all need to feel support and inspiration from those who can identify with their journey. I am thankful for my cancer and the opportunity it has given me to make a difference in the lives of others.