Skin cancer survivor finds courage, support in other patients

During one of my first visits to MD Anderson, I went to The Learning Center and read about the type of skin cancer that’d been discovered above my right eyebrow. Known as squamous cell carcinoma, it’s aggressive and dangerous, but I hadn’t fully realized this until that moment inside MD Anderson’s patient education library. As fear started to set in, I quit reading and headed to the Aquarium, the lobby at the entrance to MD Anderson’s Clark Clinic. I solemnly sat on a chair, waiting for my next appointment. Then out of nowhere, a little girl approached me. She had no eyebrows, no hair, no eyelashes and a chemo port above her chest. As she twirled the hospital bands around her wrist, she smiled at me, then she grabbed my arm, looked at my arm band and smiled again. She held her arms out, and as I bent forward to hug her, she wrapped her arms around my neck. Finally, she said, “Everything is going to be OK.” I couldn’t believe it. This girl had obviously been through so much, yet somehow, she still maintained a hopeful attitude. She not only lifted my spirits but set the example for how I face cancer treatment. My skin cancer treatment That week, Dr. Ehab Hanna told me that I needed Mohs surgery — a highly specialized type of skin cancer surgery — and proton therapy. But the news came with a devastating caveat: to successfully undergo proton therapy, I’d need to have all of my teeth pulled. Most of my teeth had silver fillings, which could impact the accuracy of my...