Christine McAuley

Here is my story.

I will be 46 in July. I had my first primary malignant melanoma at the age of 21, in March of 1994.

I always got sunburns and like an idiot, I went to tanning beds for almost 1 year prior to my being diagnosed with melanoma. I had a mole on my upper right shoulder blade, it had all the ABC’s of a melanoma. I was in the shower and I loofahed my back, I got out dried off, there was blood on the towel. I made an appointment to see a dermatologist and the biposy came back end of stage 2 melanoma. I had surgery to remove it and was lucky it did not spread any further. Fast forward to March of 2017, 23 years to the month since my first melanoma.

I had noticed a new spot forming on my back in 2015. I was living in Florida at the time and went to see a dermatologist. She told me ” it is a skin tag.” I kept an eye on it and it went through changes and it was itchy mostly when the water beat down on it in the shower. When I moved to South Carolina I decided it was time to do my 6-month skin checkup (I was a year overdue). He did a biopsy and this time I had my second primary melanoma, end of stage 1. The doctor performed a very wide and deep excision. It was not pretty. My surgery in 1994 was wide and deep but I was able to get stitches. This second melanoma was not far from the first melanoma ( 2nd was in the middle of my back). It took months for it to heal!

Fast forward to July 2017. I had a very bad UTI.  I went to the ER for the UTI and then went straight to a urologist. I had a CT and found out that I had a tumor on my right kidney. I had a partial nephrectomy in August of 2017. The tumor was benign, however, I had a differential diagnosis in my renal Parenchyma of T1 renal cell carcinoma. I am unsure if there was any connection between melanoma and renal cell, but I do know with Melanoma and most cancers, secondary cancers are common.

I just feel lucky that both melanomas were caught early enough.

In 1994, I remember asking the surgeon ” How serious is melanoma?” He said, ” If that spot never bled and you did not get a biopsy, the rate your melanoma was at, you’d have been dead within a year.” At 21 that is scary to hear. At any age that is scary to hear 🙁

Melanoma sucks. I realize I may get it again and again and again.

This is my story.

Long Island Native for 39 years
Lived in South FL for 5 yrs
Now in SC for 2 years.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.