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Mel’s personal story

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My parents took us camping a lot but did not understand the importance of having sun tan lotion. Even in my twenties, I would be so focused on bicycling to the goal I forgot to re-apply my cheap sun lotion every two hours. On a horseback riding trip I got my horse to go to the shade during breaks even though others would make fun of me. My sister-in-law also teased me about my white legs.

One day an asymetrical, irregular bordered, too dark, and too large of a mark showed up on my leg. I immediately made an appointment to see a doctor. He informed me I was fine.

Five years later I showed it to a medical assistant. They said to watch it. The next year it started to itch. My husband asked what that mark was. I did not feel comfortable with it. It bothered me at work with the itch. I went to a different doctor and showed it to him. They said it was fine.

I went home and read my Bible and prayed. I heard God telling me that the mark did "not belong there." I called up the doctor and told them the mark did not belong there and asked that it be biopsied. They were happy to do it. Afterward I went out West, camping, to my Uncle's memorial service, and some business. I found that putting band-aids on in the wound and trying to keep it clean was frustrating on a trip. I ran out of supplies and found more, but they were expensive there. Meanwhile, my poor doctor was frantically trying to contact me. When I returned from that beautiful scenery, I got the message to call the doctor and I just knew what it meant.

They searched and finally found a dermatologist who worked an hour away, to cut out the cancer. He said I should get checked again by a dermatologist in six months.

Then I was sent to an oncologist and got a lung x-ray so they would have a base picture. They also asked me if I had lumps anyplace. The next day I flew to Texas to assist my brother's wife who had a serious surgery. I had to search Dallas to find someone to remove my stitches at a reasonable price. The doctor there thought the dermatologist made his stitches tight.

My husband decided to accept a job in Ohio, so I lost my health insurance and job. Then a relative of mine that I bicycled with died of melanoma. Eight years after the diagnosis I found a full body Dermatology screening from an Athens, Ohio, group. A kind lady named Adreanna carefully checked my scalp. So far so good! I have not burned since moving to Hocking hills, Ohio, as there are about 150 cloudy days a year here.