MD Anderson saved my life — and my adolescent daughter’s

Cancer doesn’t run in my family or my husband’s. Only one of my ancestors had it: my paternal grandmother died of lung cancer when I was 11. But she was 64 and a long-time smoker, so her diagnosis didn’t really come as a surprise. What did come as a surprise was my own metastatic melanoma diagnosis in August 2013 — and my daughter’s metastatic osteosarcoma diagnosis just one year later. I was 42 when I learned that I had cancer. My daughter was 12. Both of our cancers turned out to be pretty rare. But even the most unusual cancers are not rare at MD Anderson, so I knew its doctors had the expertise to help us. And after receiving treatment there, both my daughter and I are now cancer-free. My melanoma diagnosis My first melanoma symptom was a swollen lymph node under my right arm. My gynecologist spotted it on my annual mammogram, but dismissed it as a minor infection when a breast ultrasound showed nothing suspicious. A year later, the lump was still there, so my doctor ordered a biopsy and a PET scan. The results showed that I had cancer in my right lung and other lymph nodes, but not what kind. Sarcoma or melanoma were the most likely candidates. Since my local doctor was certain that I had cancer, I went ahead and had surgery near my home in Mexico City to remove part of my lung and the affected lymph nodes. But I decided to seek a second opinion before doing anything else. I just didn’t feel comfortable starting chemotherapy until I knew precisely...