Melanoma survivor reveals ‘shocking’ journey
WHEN Danni Walker found a small pink mark on the back of her leg, she dismissed it thinking it was like her other "lumps and bumps".
But within 18 months that little pink mark had changed the 31-year-old's life forever.
By July last year the mark had become a large growth and Ms Walker became concerned.
After seeing four North Coast doctors and trying to convince a few to cut the growth out, in August 2019 she finally found a doctor who would do the incision.
"By the time he cut it out it had mastaiced and looked nasty," the Whian Whian resident said.
"It was swollen and red and kept cracking and bleeding, it was bad. But they said it was very unlikely it was anything sinister."
Three days later, she got a call back and was told to book a consultation with another Lismore doctor.
The doctor diagnosed Ms Walker with 2B Melanoma - which meant it hadn't yet spread, but it had matastcised and was about to spread.
"I remember the doctor saying she expected me to be more upset than I was," she said.
"I was in shock - I didn't spend much time in the sun and didn't have any family history.
Form there Ms Walker saw an oncologist and last October underwent her second surgery where "a significant chunk" of her leg was removed.
"It was a good 15 cm long by 8cm wide," she said.
"I also had a lymph node removed from my groin, because it had matsised."
After the surgery, Ms Walker said she experienced ongoing medical complications, and was hospitalised after seroma caused two major infections.
"I was in incredible amounts of pain and was very weak.
"Recovery has taken a long time, and I'm still having repercussions - it's almost six months on and I'm only just starting to have energy again."
She said she did not blame any of the doctors, and had a strong message to anyone who finds anything on their body that "doesn't look or feel right".
"You need to be your own advocate and speak up. Make the time to do your own self checks, go to the doctor, get skin checks and if anything grows, get rid of it. Everyone is susceptible."