Elise's story | aad.org

Elise's story

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It started years ago for me; I am now 21 and originally had a small bump on my head. My mom and I thought it was just a pimple, but I had it for years, possibly more than 10 years. All of a sudden, it started growing. It had me wondering but I didn't think anything of it. I am always the one just living life and not thinking bad will happen. I'm a free spirit and it never occurred to me that it could be something dangerous.

I went to immediate care one day and they had no idea what it was. I then went through numerous numbers to try to get an appointment with a dermatologist. After waiting so long for an appointment, the nurse there had me relieved that it was nothing big, until the doctor came in. He said it was melanoma. I didn't even know what that was and didn't know what to believe because we didn't do any tests. I called my mom and she made me more nervous by the sound of her voice. The doctors referred me to Roswell Park Cancer Institute. It's one of the best cancer institutes in the country and I couldn't be happier it was just a 45-minute drive for me.

Don't let cancer push you around. It's your body and you can fight it. Show it who's boss!

We then started tests and soon I had found out it was stage 3c melanoma. I then proceeded with two surgeries, one on my head and one on my neck. The doctor removed the bumps on my head and the majority of the lymph nodes in my neck and shoulder. I recently just finished a month of radiation, which was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. But I did it! I will be getting my port put in to start an interferon treatment. Every day for one month I will be going in for three-hour treatments. If everything goes as planned I should be finishing up to spend the holidays with my family and friends. But then I start my home care treatments. I am scared of needles, but I have to give myself a shot three days a week for 11 months. I hope this will help and be the end of my journey with this beast they call cancer.

I have worked through everything I can to afford these bills and personal bills as well, and to keep my mind off of things. I can say that after months of knowing I have cancer I don't feel that it's hit me that I am dying inside. I am too busy doing everything I want to, to let something like this change me. I was hospitalized and got out and went to work. I guess you can say I'm not a quitter. I plan on snowboarding every day I can this winter, freezing cold or not! If I have one thing to say, it's don't let cancer push you around. It's your body and you can fight it. Show it who's boss!

The bad thing is, I never really went tanning either. I didn't think anything like this could happen to me. So if you feel something isn't right, go get checked! Stay strong everyone, you can do it! I'll let you know how I did in a year when I beat melanoma! 

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