Hedy Karas Zajac
My mother, Hedy, was born and raised in Connecticut. Typically, this state has few months of sunshine. She had several moles on her back and I attributed that to the sunburns she got at the beach in the summertime, when she was younger. Little did I know, now a Navy corpsman in a Surgical and Dermatology ward, that she would call and ask my opinion about an unusual shaped mole on her back. It had been bothering her because it would snag and bleed. I asked her to get it taken off, figuring this would amount to nothing. Little did I know, the diagnosis came back stage III melanoma. At the time, surgery was very invasive and interferon and chemo were the treatments of choice at Yale/New Haven Hospital. Once she was diagnosed, she lived another year and a half. She was 52 years old.