August 8, 1997. . . I remember the day clearly. We were newly weds; in fact we had been married exactly one month. We were running around town that day getting things ready to move in a few days to Singapore. We hadn't had time for lunch when we realized it was time for Mark's dermatologist appointment. He had a spot on his stomach that a doctor at a walk-in clinic noticed when he had gone in for a sinus infection several weeks earlier. His primary care physician then referred him to a dermatologist. We were told by several that he would probably get a "scrape" to remove the mole. So we went to the dermatologist expecting a short appointment.
I sat in the waiting room while Mark went in. A few minutes later, a nurse came out and asked me to come to the back because they were beginning to do surgery on my husband! I was in shock as I walked to the room where my groom was laying. The doctor explained that the mole on Mark's stomach was most likely a melanoma, so it was very important to go on and remove it and much of the skin around it. As I stood there holding Mark's hand as they prepared to remove this mole, I tried to process all that this entailed. I must mention that I began to feel very weak because I also had not eaten lunch. As I finally sat down, the nurse who was working on Mark noticed I was very pale and called down the hallway for a coke for fear that I was about to pass out. (Mark won't let me forget that part!)
Several days later, the lab results came back showing that Mark indeed had Stage 2 Melanoma but thankfully they had removed it all. We were blessed to have caught it. Mark's dad had skin cancer years ago and it is a miracle he is alive. I am very grateful for that walk-in clinic doctor who noticed Mark's suspicious mole and for the referral to a great dermatologist. We found out later that this dermatologist is a leader in the field of melanomas. We have continued to see Dr. Cognetta through the years and know that it was God who sent us to his clinic 17 years ago. Through the years I have thanked the Lord countless times for the three doctors who, in many ways, saved my husband's life.
November 27, 2012 . . . As is our practice, we went for our routine appointment to Dr. Cognetta's office. Not just Mark but now it is a family affair. Mark has had many moles removed over the years; several that have been pre-malignant and one other that was a melanoma. Photos of Mark's moles have been used in Dr. Cognetta's research. In the last 5 years, he has been clear of any "suspicious looking" moles and we are grateful! The kids all saw Dr. Greene, another doctor in Cognetta's office whom he trusts very much. Dr. Greene saw a "suspicious" mole on Caralina and had Dr. Cognetta look at it. They agreed to take it off just in case. Yesterday morning, we got a call from Dr. Greene that the mole was a very early melanoma. We are so grateful that they caught it so early. Caralina will have minor surgery again on Tuesday to remove more of the skin around this mole. We would appreciate your prayers for that. God has already shown His faithfulness once again to preserve our lives. We are grateful!