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Several years ago, I noticed a black blood blister like looking mole on my left leg, on my calf, actually. People commented on it all the time, and recommended I should get it checked. I didn't have insurance (or any money, to speak of at the time) and I didn't feel particularly worried by it, as I really had no knowledge of skin cancer or the dangers lurking in my skin, so I let it go for several years. Sometimes I would pick at it (like a blood blister ... I know, not the smartest thing to do, but like I said, I was naieve about skin cancer, and was not worried.) One day, a Naturopathic Doctor acquaintance of mine recommended a product called 'Black Salve' to me, and said she, and several others she knew of had had great results burning off moles with this product and I might give it a try. So after much research and several months of consideration, I gave it a try (while my husband was out of town .... I didn't want him to know I was doing this :-/) OMG!! I used one tiny drop on that mole, and I'm not kidding, the thing burned a crater in my leg that was sooooo painful and scary, I couldn't even walk for more than a week. It did disappear for awhile, but after about a month, the thing grew back with a vengeance and became a real problem. I was scared to go to the Doctor, and more than a little embarrassed, but I HAD to go, and low and behold, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma. What now????
I live in the Palm Springs area of California, and was referred to a wonderful place in Palm Desert, 'The Desert Cancer Foundation,' who helps people in my situation ... people with cancer who have no insurance or money. I was approved by them, and in surgery a week later. I could still hardly believe I had been given this diagnosis, I was still in shock!
Well, sad to say, melanoma has continued to reappear in several places on my leg and I am now considered Stage 4. The Best news, though, is that I found my way to the most wonderful, world renowned melanoma clinic, 'The Angeles Clinic' in beautiful Santa Monica, California, where I am receiving the most wonderful care and cutting edge treatments available at this time. I'm fortunate to be receiving Immunotherapy so I'm not necessarily sick, and have tolerable side effects. I can pretty much go about my life as normal as anybody, and mostly, I feel pretty good.
Since receiving my original diagnosis in February of 2009, I have since had three surgeries, Interferon, and am now into my third clinical trial. I am very happy to be alive, and healthy enough to participate in this walk, to help bring awareness to this deadly disease, and hopefully raise some money to support this very important research so that lives, like mine, can continue to be rich and happy lives. I am very grateful to the miraculous opportunities, experiences and people that have come to me through this difficult and often challenging bout with melanoma, and I say a GIANT thank you to everyone who has made, and is making my life possible. When you contribute to this cause, you not only help me, but many, many like me. We appreciate every little (and BIG) thing. Thank you for everything!!!