One of my Facebook friends recently shared about her journey with a melanoma found on her face and the reconstructive surgeries she went through in the 7 months following. She urged everyone to get a skin check and it got me thinking since I had never had one. I called a dermatologist and set up an appointment. Leading up to it of course I developed some serious anxiety… I wouldn’t say I’m a sun worshipper but I definitely enjoy being tan and used to frequent tanning beds back in the day (remember unlimited month plans? Yeah I did those).
So I went in, endured a lecture about the fact that my skin was slightly tanned and ended up needing a biopsy of a mole on my back. The worst part was they told me, “The only reason we’ll call you is if everything is fine, if not then you’ll need to come in for your appointment in 2 weeks.” To me that meant, “If we don’t call you, you have cancer.” Two weeks went by, no phone call, I went in to the appointment almost shaking and was told my mole was “moderately dysplastic,” which wasn’t good but it was better than hearing “cancer!” I had to have a more extensive excision with a few stitches in the lower layer and 6 outer stitches. Let’s just say I’m glad I did not google this procedure before the appointment because it is not cute (so I’ll spare you photos of the wound).
My Dad also went for a screening after seeing that I did (it has been a few years since his last one). They biopsied a site as well and his came back as a very very early (like only 0.27mm deep) melanoma. He is having surgery today to remove the area surrounding and has to have a skin scan every 3 months. I am SO THANKFUL it was found early since melanoma found in the beginning stages is curable.
Since all of this happened, I do find myself staying indoors a little more than I usually do in the summers and slathering on tons of SPF50 along with the girls. I feel sort of ashamed that I “enjoyed” the sun for so long and soaked up so many harmful rays when I knew I shouldn’t. So, the moral of the story is, “Wear sunscreen, get annual mole screenings and let everyone know they should do it too, it could save a life!”