Hi, I’m Amy & I am a 3x Melanoma Survivor. It changed my world & woke me up to how dangerous the sun really is. It is not your friend. In my teens, I did not have the knowledge that I do now. I thought the “it” thing was to have the perfect tan, and I did everything to achieve it by laying out in the sun without sunscreen & using oil. For years I did this. At the age of 28, I was diagnosed with my 1st melanoma which was stage 1B. Fast forward 3 years to February 2019 a 2nd melanoma grew on my upper right arm from a previously biopsied moderate atypical dysplastic nevus, and was stage 1A. Just one month later, a 3rd melanoma was found inches from the most recent one and was stage 1B. I underwent Mohs surgery on all 3 of my melanomas.
I did not use tanning beds but did have excessive exposure to the sun from age 12 until my 20s. Skin cancer is serious & your skin is the biggest organ in your body. My advice to all of you is to be aware of the dangers of the sun and do not make the same mistake that I did. You now have the resources to know what it will do to you at the end of the day. Get your skin checked. Be diligent about protecting your skin. That means applying and re-applying an SPF of 30 or higher, no matter the weather condition. Other methods can include wearing protective UPF 50 clothing, sunglasses, sun gloves, and wide-brim hats.
You are your biggest advocate. We have to put our trust in the doctors, but at the same time, you need to go with your gut and not be afraid to voice your concern. Learn to love the skin that you are in and accept your true skin tone. For all of the Melanoma and skin cancer survivors, scars are beautiful, and it shares the journey we’ve been through. We all have a story, and don’t be afraid to share yours. Because at the end of the day, you are not alone.
Amy Nichole Harbison
Date of Diagnosis: 06/09/2016