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I hated my red hair and fair skin when I was a teenage, but I mostly hated the fact that all my friends always came back from summer vacation with a really nice tan. I was never able to get a tan from the sun, so when I was 17 I started using indoor tanning beds.

Big mistake.

After two and a half years of baking myself in a tanning booth I spotted a dark, itchy mole on my stomach. After pointing it out to a doctor she casually suggested I have it removed. And I did.

A week later I went in to have my stitches removed and my worst nightmare came true. I had Stage 2 Melanoma.

The next month would be filled with doctor’s visits, skin exams, radioactive dye injections, and a 3 hour surgery that would result in 4 major scars and over 70 stitches. Drainage tubes were sewn into my incisions (pictured below) and would later be ripped from my body without Novocain.

I would have 8 lymph nodes removed from my body to determine if the cancer had spread. Luckily it hadn’t.

Although I received good news at the end of this process, the experience was traumatic. After falling into a deep depression for a year after my surgery I realized that cancer had happened to me for a reason. And that reason was to share my story.

I have been speaking publically about my battle with cancer for over 9 years now and I don’t ever plan to stop. My struggle with body image is one that hits home to many young men and women. My mission is to reach those who may consider making bad choices for vanity reasons and inform them of the potential consequences.

If you are interested in having me share my story with your business, school, fundraising event, or any other reason, please contact me at

Post Surgery Post Surgery


 

 


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