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Karlee Steele: Melanoma Survivor

Karlee Steele: Melanoma Survivor

“MOMMY look this tadpole is one of the ones that still has a tail and little legs too!”

That’s not what you thought I was going to say was it?

You see it’s a hike. A climb. A Texas climb straight up from Lake Travis, through the Lake Pointe Preserve, straight up. I know this climb well, in fact my son and I know it very well as one of our favorite fishing and tadpole spots. It’s hidden under crystal green spring waters only found in the Texas hill country. No one is ever there. Ever. Which is why we love “our spot” so much.

As we journey home that crisp day in January last year my phone rings. Weird as it was a holiday Monday, I knew it was the call we anticipated for 10 days.

“Karlee, Dr. Gambarian, your surgeon. The needle biopsy we did 3 weeks ago, the one that we thought was negative. Well it’s actually, positive. After your second surgery last week it has been confirmed you have stage 3 melanoma.

“Wait. What do you mean?”

“I mean you need to find an oncologist immediately. You have full blown melanoma skin cancer. Not skin cancer on the outside of your skin. But inside. It’s in your nodes under your right arm. I have an oncologist I can recommended. And you need to make an appointment tomorrow…”

So there I stopped, up that steep Texas climb I referenced. Stopped dead in my tracks. Rocks sliding out from underneath my feet and tears falling. Hidden, thankfully, behind my sunglasses. The kind of tears you can’t control. They just fall.

Fortunately my son and our big red dog were pulling up the hill ahead of me with determined vigor and speed that only 9 year old little boys have.

“Mommy, why did you stop? You’re never far behind me. Usually I am the one trying to catch up to you. Let’s go mommy!”

“Coming babe, I’ll be right there.” And so I was. As I always am for him. But now what?

I can’t put words around what it feels like to get the cancer call. You can’t describe it unless you have traveled down that path and heard those words. Stage III cancer – how do I have stage III cancer? I eat more veggies before 10 am than most eat all day. I teach cycling class 3 days a week and exercise 6 days a week. Weekly, I meal prep and plan to put the most nutritious food in our bodies. I take pride in living a strong healthy life not only for me, but more importantly for my son.”

Source: Karlee Steele – YouTube