Crystal’s personal story
Like many teenage girls in the 90s, I used tanning beds. I started tanning at age 15, and continued to tan through college. I never thought I would get skin cancer. I actually did not think skin cancer was a big deal. However, my diagnosis of stage 1 amelanotic melanoma completely changed my life.
In 2008, soon after graduating with a degree in nursing, I was offered a job in a dermatology office. Working in the field of dermatology taught me the dangers of skin cancer, and especially melanoma. Teaching my patient’s about the “A, B, C, D, E” of melanoma made me remember my own asymmetrical, growing, pink lesion.
In October 2008, one of the dermatologists I worked for noticed the pink bump on my right arm. The doctor believed it could be a basal cell carcinoma, and a biopsy was performed. Words cannot describe the panic and terror I felt when the doctor told me it was not a BCC, but instead I had amelanotic melanoma.
Two weeks after my diagnosis, I had a surgical wide-excision to remove the melanoma. I was lucky to have caught this dangerous cancer early, but I am fearful every day that the melanoma will return.
Now, my passion is educating others on the warning signs and prevention of melanoma. I dedicate much of my time to community education, awareness and fundraising events. Together with my husband, I created www.FaithHopeCure.com, a site dedicated to raising money for cancer research.