"I had this spot on my neck. I thought it was a pimple or something," says composer Curtis Heath. It wasn't big -- just 1.2 millimeters across. But it didn't go away for a couple months, and his girlfriend insisted he get it checked out. The dermatologist told him it was a blood blister, but Heath told him he couldn't go back to her without a biopsy, and it's a good thing he did. A few days later he got a call.
"I'm so sorry," said the doctor. "Your girlfriend was right. You have malignant melanoma. You need to start getting prepared."
It's a story you've heard before. Initially, the prognosis wasn't great, and Heath's full-time freelance work composing music (his work most recently appeared in David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints) does not provide him with health insurance. Like so many people in his position, he couldn't justify the burden of paying for personal health insurance, which is expensive and offers only modest benefits. You don't anticipate things like this.