My name is Jessica Waldman and this is only the beginning of my story with melanoma. Ever since I was a little girl I was covered in moles. I have over 400 on my entire body, including the palm of my hand, bottoms of feet and inner eyelid. So, at a young age 10 to be exact I started seeing a dermatologist. At that time I had 3 removed, which were atypical. Every year I went back for skin checks and I was always told my moles were just atypical, bc they were shaped weird. So I assumed they all were like that and would never change. At age 18 I stopped going, I would get sunburnt and go tanning bc in my head my moles were normal, skin cancer is no big deal they’ll just cut it out and I’ll be fine. Well, I’m now 34 I figured I’m getting older I should get a skin check. On May 2, 2017 my dermatologist biopsied 5 moles. No big deal right? Wrong On May 10 I got the call that I had 3 atypical moles and 2 melanomas one on my chest and one on my back. I was devastated to say the least. Well, my dermatologist referred me to a surgical oncologist, oncologist being a scary word to me, so I went to my appt 2 days later and he scheduled my surgery for May 22. At this appt my surgical oncologist had stated the mole on my chest was a .2mm and the one on my back was .8mm. He said with me being Greek and Italian and not very fair skinned it was unusual for me to have so many moles and that I shouldn’t worry bc .8mm moles don’t usually spread. I felt ok leaving this appt. Well, surgery day was here May 22 everything went great both melanomas removed and 1 lymph node under my left armpit. No pain after surgery I felt great! I thought it was all over. Wrong, 8 days later I got a phone call that I needed to come in to talk to my surgical oncologist. I burst into tears after this phone call I knew my cancer had spread! 2 hours later I’m sitting in front of my drs office crying, shaking, holding onto my husband, thinking my life is over, what about my son? Who will take care of him when I’m gone? My husband we just got married in February will I ever get to have the life we both dreamed of?My parents what will they do? My sister I haven’t seen her in forever. Everything you could possibly think of ran through me head. Ohh and I forgot to mention I suffer from generalised anxiety disorder and a panic disorder, meaning before my cancer diagnosis I had at least 2-3 panic attacks a day. Finally, I got the courage to go into the drs. Office and they sit me down and like I suspected they told me they found a cancer cell in my lymph node and I needed another surgery to remove more lymph nodes and I needed to see a medical oncologist about treatment options. My only question to the Dr. was do I have cancer? He said Yes Jessica you do that’s all I remember from that appt. I cried for 5 days straight going to drs offices, hospitals and psychiatrists bc I couldn’t understand if I was having a panic attack or the cancer was invading my body. Thank God it’s the panic attacks. I’m having a really hard time with all of this I look at ppl differently, I love differently, I care more deeply, I enjoy each moment differently, I know longer take life for granted. This might be a blessing in disguise I don’t know or understand yet. All I do know is everyone should have a skin check even if you don’t worship the sun. It’s so important I can’t stress that enough! Melanoma is a very serious cancer, bc if you think about it your skin is your biggest organ. Another thing I didn’t know before being diagnosed is melanoma can spread to any organ in your body even after the original melanoma was removed! I wish I knew this earlier and maybe I wouldn’t be where I am today. If I could only help 1 person with my story I would be so happy. My journey with melanoma continues I have a surgery coming up and to meet with my oncologist for treatment options. My life has changed dramatically. Please please please let my story be heard so just maybe I can help someone else!