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Lora Capito: Melanoma Survivor

I used to go to the tanning bed in my younger days, not often enough to say. I loved baby oil to tan as a teenager. I’ve burnt here and there. I lived in Arizona for a total of five years. When we moved back to Illinois I was always in the garden, so naturally in the sun. Anyways, it started with a mole on my back, I had my primary doc look at it because I just thought it was ugly. She sent me to a [dermatologist] who immediately biopsied it. Results came back malignant melanoma. It is really more than just skin cancer because it travels and you never know where. They did a sentinel node mapping to lymph nodes under my arm pits. Surgery to dig deeper on the mole, close it up and then under both arm pits to biopsy lymph nodes. One under my right arm pit came back positive. That’s what put me at a Stage 3A. [Then I had] another surgery to check more lymph nodes within the same month–all came back clear. I’ve had many options for treatment and decided the clinical trial would be best for me. So, every three weeks we travel 180 miles one way to St. Louis for lab work, [doctor] visits and treatment. So far [the] CT scans have come back clear [and the] MRI (brain) came back clear. With Melanoma, you are never cancer free; NED—no evidence of disease—is the best it will ever get. Melanoma always comes back and it could literally go anywhere.