Thrive by IU Health

September 20, 2022

It's cancer.

IU Health Arnett Hospital

It's cancer.

“It’s cancer.”

Words no one ever wants to hear, especially when your life has been impacted by those words too many times.

Misty Motter lost her mother to lung cancer in 2005. Her father was diagnosed with melanoma many years ago, and in late January, he was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas and liver.

Misty with her parents

Since his melanoma diagnosis, Motter’s father had always worried about his strawberry blond daughter with freckles. Motter did not worry as much but made a promise to her father after his recent diagnosis to get a checkup. Taking care of herself was not a top priority for the mother of four.

“I always put my kids first,” shares Motter, 41, who admits to not having seen a healthcare provider, outside of while she was pregnant, since she was married 22 years ago. But as her father reminded her: Who will take care of your kids if something happens to you?

Misty, Matt and Khloe

Motter, of Lafayette, scheduled her appointment with family medicine physician, Noor Bakroun, MD. Bakroun took time to examined her from head to toe and ordered the standard preventative tests like a mammogram. Motter had a mole on her neck that she says has been there her whole life, but it was of concern to Bakroun, who referred her to a dermatologist.

The dermatologist, Kate Hrynewycz, MD, FAAD, FACMS, shared the news that Motter had skin cancer. But luckily for her it was basal cell carcinoma, not melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and the most frequently occurring. It is also the most curable and causes minimal damage when caught and treated early. Along with the carcinoma on Motter’s neck, a spot on her back and forehead that need to be treated were also identified.

Hrynewycz, otherwise known as Dr. Kate, scheduled Motter for Mohs surgery at IU Health Frankfort Hospital—saving her a trip to Indianapolis. IU Health Frankfort is the only facility in west central Indiana to offer Mohs surgery.

Mohs surgery is considered the most effective treatment technique for basal cell carcinomas. The procedure is done in stages, including lab work, while the patient waits. This allows the removal of all cancerous cells for the highest cure rate while sparing healthy tissue and leaving the smallest possible scar.

Following through on a promise

Just days before her Mohs surgery, the unthinkable happened: Motter’s father passed away on April 24.

Two days before the funeral, Motter showed up for her procedure because she had made a promise. Motter shared the news of her father’s passing with Dr. Kate as the two were chatting during prep. Motter shares that team at Frankfort was so nice and everyone ended up with tears in their eyes.

“Dr. Kate is the nicest doctor I have ever met,” says Motter.

Dr. Kate immediately tried to reschedule the procedure, but Motter refused due to the promise she had made to her father. Dr. Kate proceeded with the removal on her back and neck but insisted on rescheduling the procedure for her forehead, as she did not want Motter attending the funeral with bruising that could potentially what would appear as a black eye as a result of the surgery.

Misty neck
Misty neck closed

A grateful Motter shares that the Mohs procedure was fairly pain free once the numbing medicine was injected. She primarily felt a tugging and pulling sensation.

Motter has since returned to Dr. Kate for the second Mohs procedure, on her forehead, and is now cancer free. She will still spend her free time following her kids sports and other activities, but she will lather herself and her children in sunscreen even more diligently. Her teenage boys are not appreciative of her efforts—but she tries.

And she now holds all her children to the promise of making their healthcare a priority to honor their grandfather.

Related Services

Dermatology

Dermatology provides treatment for skin conditions such as acne, aging skin, dermatitis, drug rashes, moles, psoriasis and warts.

Skin Cancer

Several types of skin cancer exist such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma.

Moles

A mole is an accumulation of melanocytes (pigment cells in the skin) that can occur normally on many parts of the body. Most are non-cancerous.

Melanoma

Considered among the rarest and most aggressive types of skin cancer, melanoma develops in melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin.