Real People, Real Stories

Melanoma cancer survivor

Hilde Stapleton

I was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma in May of 1999. I’m a Stage IV survivor. My primary melanoma was behind my left knee. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I had to get rid of it. Melanoma never even crossed my mind, so I went to my regular GP, and he bet me a million dollars that nothing was wrong with me. He called a few days later and said, “I owe you a million dollars. My house is heavily mortgaged but it is yours. You have cancer.”

Since then I have had ten surgeries, two vaccine trials, three kinds of chemo, and radiation. I would not be here today without my family, my husband, George, and our three children, and without the support of my friends, caregivers and doctors.

George became a resource for caregivers and I became a resource for Melanoma survivors with CanCare in February of 2009. I can never thank CanCare enough for what they do for cancer survivors and their families.

When you’re sick, there is a sense that your life is only cancer. You don’t even know when it is over, but then you slowly start doing things again and your enjoyment of life is back. You want every minute to be exciting and to be fun; you want to be there NOW not tomorrow. You want to be happy; you want to laugh. You’re trying to make up for lost time. And then when that wears off you have to deal with trying to become a normal person again and not a cancer patient. You have to rediscover yourself. I believe that the support CanCare gives is a very important part of this process.

I have so much to be thankful for and my message is to live your life, love a lot and never, ever give up. Have Hope.

CanCare has been serving people with cancer since 1990.  All services are confidential and free of charge.  To talk to someone surviving your diagnosis, click here.