Conjunctival melanoma survivor: MD Anderson saved my eye and my life

I’ve always been a bit of an extremist. So, when I learned that skin cancer runs in my mom’s family, I started seeing a dermatologist immediately. And I was vigilant about it, too. I’d literally take off all my clothes and make the doctor look everywhere during my annual exams. It was almost awkward. I also became the “mean” mom — the one who makes everyone else’s kid wear a hat and sunscreen while they’re playing outside. So, when I was diagnosed with conjunctival melanoma — a rare type of eye cancer — in February 2015, I wasn’t really concerned about losing my vision. I was only 30 at the time and my daughter was just 15 months old. But after Googling it — I know: the exact wrong thing to do — I was afraid I was going to die. So I was like, “I’ve got two eyes. Just take the bad one out. Let’s go. ” Thankfully, Dr. Bita Esmaeli, my doctor at MD Anderson, was much calmer and more rational about it than I was. She told me, “Look, we don’t really have to do that anymore. And we have many other effective options to try first, before removing your eye.” As it turns out, she was right. My sole eye cancer symptom Ironically, I had one eye cancer symptom for half my life before I finally saw a doctor. I’d been poked in the eye during a basketball game when I was 15, and it formed a small blood blister on my right cornea. The blister eventually went away, but it left behind a little...