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Michelle's personal story

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I am a red-haired, blue-eyed gal. I noticed a perfectly round brown mole, that I had always had, was turning a dark blue color and a bit sore. Right before I turned 40, I had a physical and asked to see a dermatologist.

The doctor thought I had injured the area around the mole, but he did do a shave biopsy and told me he would call within two weeks with results. Two days later, I had a message to call him back.

I suspected it was not good news. I was right: melanoma. I was scheduled for an excision. Three days before the surgery, the doctor wanted to change venues because another hospital was doing sentinel node biopsies. I was so thankful for that change. I had lymph nodes involved.

Four weeks later, I had all the nodes removed. I was then considered cancer-free, and I did a follow-up melanoma vaccine trial thru NIH. I met melanoma patients from all over the US during the one-year trial. So many had not had the sentinel node biopsy done and were now dealing with re-occurrence! I thank God for that wise doctor who handed me over to someone else for treatment!

I wear SPF 50 all summer long, especially at my parents' lake house, and I never get a burn. For my 50th birthday, I did 50 random acts of kindness and passed out sunscreen samples to others.