On February 11 of 2021, Lisa had a routine follow-up with her primary doctor on a Friday after just having a baby in December 2020. She said that “something told me to ask him to look at a mole on my back.” She first noticed the mole the previous summer but didn’t think much about it at the time. “A lot of doctors weren’t seeing patients in person because of COVID. During that appointment, her doctor was concerned and told her to come back Monday for a punch biopsy. She showed up Monday morning, happy that he could get her back in so soon.
Lisa said, “the next few days were a waiting game. I prayed for the best outcome. I remember it was a cold, snowy, Michigan night and I was in a store parking lot waiting for my newborn son’s medication to be filled. He had been extremely fussy that day and I made the drive out to the pharmacy while my husband stayed home with him. I was about to leave the parking lot when my phone pinged. I looked down to see that it was my biopsy lab results. I opened it assuming that everything was normal, but instead, I saw the words ‘malignant melanoma.’
I had a good cry in the parking lot before gathering myself so that I could drive home. I kept thinking, how do I walk in the door to my house and tell my husband? Would I say, here is Rogan’s medication, and by the way – I have cancer? After walking into the house, I know I broke down for a few minutes, and my husband assured me everything would be okay. I rocked and held my baby a lot longer that night.
The next morning, my doctor texted me around 6:00 AM, asking me to call him as soon as possible. I called him back immediately and we discussed my diagnosis and next steps. We decided that wide excision surgery was the best option, and it was scheduled. It meant a lot that my doctor had reached out directly. He had noticed that the lab had sent me my results after hours the night before and he wanted to be able to talk to me about them. I will forever be grateful to my doctor and medical assistant for their urgency and compassion. They prevented my cancer from advancing further. In a way, I also believe my child had a role in saving my life too. If I wasn’t a new mom, I wouldn’t have been at the doctor that day and my melanoma still would not have been diagnosed.”
Lisa’s surgery was successful, and just two weeks later she was cancer-free. But she says she’s still living through the most difficult part of her cancer journey – the constant fear that the melanoma will return. But she’s taking every precaution with UV exposure and staying vigilant with regular skin checks. “When someone overcomes cancer, it’s still often on their mind.”
She has had so much support from wonderful family and friends. Her biggest support has been from her husband who has been by her side for 15 years, and her son, Rogan, who is now one and a half years old. She and her husband spend most of their free time with Rogan, taking him for walks, swimming, and teaching him new things. Lisa also enjoys working out, projects around the house, and camping.
Lisa recently joined the Onco360 team as an Inside Sales Representative. She said that her cancer journey did lead her here. She said “I had a very hard time spending time away from my son after my diagnosis as ‘time’ suddenly had a lot more meaning to me. I needed to find my passion, and after being diagnosed with cancer, helping cancer patients was the first thing that came to mind. I’ve worked in healthcare for 10 years, but oncology resonates so much more now that I have been on the other side of the conversation. I have a much deeper understanding of what oncology patients and their families go through every day.”