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Devon’s personal story

Devon Harper
Back in June 2012 I was laying on the beach with a best friend of mine when I spotted a mole. It didn't look that different than the ones around it, but it was different. I had a feeling that I should watch this mole over the next few months. As I kept watching it, it got darker, it would peal, and it would grow. After a few months of watching it go through this cycle I began to get this gut feeling that it was more then just a mole.

By October I couldn't watch it go through the cycle anymore and decided to make an appointment with my dermatologist. She checked it and decided to remove it immediately. A week later I got a phone call while I was in night class. I answered already knowing the answer to the biopsy.

I remember every word she said to me on the phone that night, as it changed my life forever.

She said, "Devon, I'm sorry to have to do this over the phone, but we got the biopsy results. It came back as a malignant melanoma. The good thing is that it is in the early stages. We will talk more about your options when you come in to get your stitches out."

A week later I was in her office getting my stitches out and talking about scheduling a wide excision to remove surrounding skin to make sure that she had gotten it all. Two days later I had the worst surgery of my entire life to remove the surrounding skin and tissue.

Today I get full body checks every three months, I check my skin everyday to make sure I don't develop anymore spots like this one, and I apply sunscreen every morning before I leave the house. I never thought that I would have had to undergo so much at an early age of 21. You don't realize how much melanoma can change your life until it happens to you.