I had always been careful about being in the sun because of my tattoos, I never worried about skin cancer. Then one day I noticed a freckle on my left hand was starting to change. I was not at all alarmed, I just figured it was one of those things that comes with aging. A couple of years had passed and that freckle became a mole and still no alarm. Then all of a sudden it started to become raised and turned black,brown, red and pink. It often itched and hurt so I started to wear an bandaid over it thinking it would just go away and stop hurting. Well, that never happened so we made an appointment to see a dermatolagist. The appointment was scheduled for two months later, but I still was not that worried. Until, I started to look melanoma up online and I became very worried. I had four of the six symptoms of melanoma. Two months later at the doctor's office, the doctor expressed great concern about the mole and removed it. The removed mole was sent to a lab and I had to wait five days for the results to come back. Five days later the doctor called and told me it was melanoma. I freaked out, I thought this was it, my life was over. One hour later we were racing back to the doctor's office to discuss the situation. The doctor said it looked like an early stage II, but she said she wanted me to see a specialist; and two days later I had an appointment at the cancer center in my home city. At this appointment, with the surgeon specialist, he explained to me that it was a stage I and he had to remove a much larger piece of skin from my hand and he also had to remove a sentinal node. After this surgery he would be able to see if the melanoma had spread at all. I felt much better from his comforting words. So he set the surgery date for one month away and I waited. When the day of the surgery came I was terrified, I did not want to be there at all. It seemed like it was taking forever with the tests, the maping, more tests. Once the surgery was over and I was back at home with a useless arm, I had to turn around and wait another week for those lab results. That was the longest week of my life, all I could think was did I or did'nt I have cancer, did it spread or did'nt it. Finally, the results came back and they were negative. The melanoma did not spread to my lymph nodes and that was the best news i had ever in my life heard. It has only been two weeks since the sugery, I am still in pain and I still cannot use my hand very much, but it will get better. I just wanted to say with my story that there is hope, don't look at everything so negatively like I did.