Center For Survivorship
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Center for Survivorship Blog

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My Cancer Story: Melissa Epskamp

My grandfather passed away from cancer 8 years before I was born. My dad would tell me all about him as I was growing up.

April of 1994 my life turned upside down. I found out my dad had cancer, he fought so hard but sadly lost his life to cancer 5 months later at a young age of 38... it has impacted my life very much. I was only 15 years old..as I have grown I was on top of getting my yearly check up. Over the years I have been healthy and even had an healthy beautiful daughter . Life was good until July 2015 I had notice a mole that was bleeding. I called my family doctor and they got me in right away. Her answer was I don't like the way it looks, so I'm sending you to a dermatologist. I got in a week later. Meeting a new doctor is always nerve wracking, and he came into the exam room and did one look and said it's melanoma . I was so mad. How dare you tell me that without doing an biopsy. He said, well I am 99.9% right.

Forty five minutes later I walked out with 6 stitches. A week later I got the phone call and he said it came back right but we didn't get it all. I need to send you to University of Michigan. My life changed - going from an healthy person to an stage 3 melanoma fighter. Remind you my grandpa died at the age 42, my dad age 38 and I was at age 36. I was scared. I have lost many to cancer at the prime age of late 30's to early 50 to all sorts of cancer. So I ended up getting a genetic testing down and the results came back as Melanoma and pancreas... I never thought I'd be 39 years old fighting hard for my life.

With a great support from family and friends, a great team of doctors in my life and all those at University of Michigan. I am still alive. I have so much to be thankful for. Life is beautiful and a true blessing.

-Melissa Eskamp