An Oncology RN's Battle with Melanoma


How I Became The Pale Warrior

This is my story…

I am an oncology nurse and was initially diagnosed in 2004 while in nursing school. I went to the dermatologist for something unrelated and that’s when my journey began.

Slide1Photo of my back from 2007

My initial diagnosis was Stage I on my left upper back removed with wide local excision. Between 2004-2008, I was diagnosed with two additional primary melanomas, Stage in situ and Stage I (right upper back & left lower back). The photo above is from 2007 after three primary melanoma diagnoses.  As you see in the photo, I have also had surgeries for multiple dysplastic nevi and the stars in the photo depict biopsy areas.


This photo (above) is from 2008, my fourth melanoma diagnosis, Stage I, right upper arm. All four primary melanomas have been removed with wide local excision.



In 2012, I was diagnosed with my fifth melanoma (photos above) on my right lower back, Stage in situ. This melanoma was removed with MOHs surgery.

In between all of the melanoma surgeries, my dermatologist has removed approximately 20-25 dysplastic nevi – moderate/severe. Needless to say, I am thankful for my scars and they all tell a story. I see my dermatologist every three months and welcome each and every biopsy.

I have NO cancer history in my family (I know that is hard to believe). I received genetic testing and this was all negative. I have dark hair, green eyes, light skin, and freckles. Initial diagnosis of melanoma (2004) was at 29 years of age. Unfortunately, my melanoma diagnoses are solely based on MY bad judgments related to suntanning without sunscreen and tanning bed use in my teens. This is no surprise, but it may make people think twice about tanning.

Prevention and Early Detection is KEY!!

“Sometimes you don’t know how strong you are until you have no other choice.”