It was 2011 when I was told I had melanoma. Despite going several times to my GP and been told it was nothing to be concerned about. I pushed to see a dermatologist but still made me wait 3 months. My GP also squeezed it thinking it was a spot on a mole.

I went on holiday and it got worse and got infected. 3 months past and my appointment for dermatologist was booked in. They looked at it and instant booked me in for it to be removed to test it. 2 weeks later I went back to be told I had melanoma and I would need a wider area removed to test if spread. Appointment booked all I can say I was terrified of what will happen next. I was told they had got it all and was put on watch and wait. No scans etc just follow up on mole checking and lymph nodes checking.

Fast forward 2013 my hardest fight was to begin. I told the consultant I was under that I did not feel well. He did at first put my symptoms to arthuritus. I insisted on a scan and he agreed for peace of mind. Well 2 weeks for results and I walked in to the room and a nurse appeared in and sat down I asked why you in , she replied just helping out today. Well I knew some thing was wrong and I was correct. The consultant said am really sorry but its spread to liver, lungs other areas. I just cried I was on my own too. I was told I would be put under care with a cancer consultant who deals with melanoma. I was booked to see a melanoma consultant. When I went for my appointment I entered the room with about 4 other people. 2 nurses, a clinical trial consultant. Plus consultant I was under. Me my husband and mum in-law.

All I did was cry the consultant saying you know what you have got and understand, it was very overwhelming was not really listening totally felt numb. I asked the consultant if I could ask a personal question , if it was your wife what would you do. He replied lets do bloods see me next week. All I can say my head was just on overdrive. Fast forward I was put on immunotherapy ippi 4 doses you get . my first visit was very emotional was very busy. Despite been left in a room with door shut as they forgot about us. I opened the door got a nurses attention. I was correct forgot about us. I was quickly dealt with in filling forms etc for treatment. My treatment began.

After completing treatment next scan showed 50% reduction in all my cancer. Plus due to me being braf negative treatment options was different to braf +. After finishing again I was put on watch and wait. Felt very nervous not on any treatment. Fast forward 2015 had a little pea size lump behind my ear. After having MRI on brain was told it was melanoma. So Gamma knife treatment was offered. Very painful and scary experience but worked.

2017 started keydruda pembro as lymph nodes in chest lit up on scan and was tested and came back melanoma. Just few weeks on treatment I was loosing blood and my iron levels was low . I had 6 bags of blood transfusions over 6 week period. I then did not feel hungry and could not go to the toilet as my bowles was blocked. I was away at this point so took myself in hospital to be checked. I was admitted.

Over a couple of days I still was not able to go too the toilet. Then one night I started been sick every half hour through night bringing everything from my bowles up was disgusting and very frightening. I felt so poorly at this point. The next day doctors rushed round me doing scans etc tube in stomach so if was sick came up into a bag.

Scan revealed tumor in small intestines. Was rushed from one hospital to another. Had surgery next day. They needed a intensive care bed available if I needed it. So after 2 weeks in hospital had surgery and went home to get better. Still was on my immunotherapy every 2 weeks. Fast forward June 2020, 2 half years stopped treatment as a year of clear scans. I am now on watch and wait but no evidence of cancer.

I have no idea how long I will remain NED but it has been a hell of a fight. My advice I would give to anyone who has a mole and worried insist getting it checked straight away. If I had been more pushy in the beginning my life might be a different stories now but also took several visit to my GP before anyone did anything, you will never know what it really is till been tested. 

As written by Lynda Catlyn (09.08.2021)