How a melanoma immunotherapy clinical trial helped me

I can’t quite explain what it feels like to get the cancer call. You can’t describe it unless you’ve heard those words. I don’t think that changes whether it’s your first or, in my case, third diagnosis. When I learned that I had stage III melanoma last January, my first thoughts were: how do I have stage III cancer? I eat more veggies before 10 a.m. than most eat all day. I teach cycling classes and exercise six days a week. I take pride in living a strong, healthy life. How could I have cancer again? My first two melanoma diagnoses My first cancer diagnosis came about five years ago. My son and I had just moved to Austin when I was diagnosed with stage II melanoma on my leg. After two surgeries, a sentinel node biopsy and a report of clear margins, I was directed to get a skin check every three months. I thought, “Easy. I can do that.” Two years later, in June 2013, a new mole appeared on my shoulder. I called my dermatologist immediately. That time, it was stage I melanoma. I thought, “Round two: here we go. I got this … again.” The cancerous area was removed, and 25 stitches later, I received a clear pathology report. I was ready to continue living a happy life. My “big cancer” But a year-and-a-half later, I found a swollen node under my arm on Thanksgiving. I immediately texted my dermatologist. We proceeded with a needle biopsy. Soon after, my surgeon called. This time, the cancer wasn’t outside my skin, but inside, in the nodes under...