I am a natural born red head. I am very light skinned with big blue eyes. Since about the age of 16 I have been addicted and been in love with being tan. By the age of 21 I was going to the tanning bed every day, if not every day then at least 3-4 times a week during the summer. I was also one to never wear sunscreen. My older sister always stayed on me about how important it was for me to wear sunscreen and protect my skin from the sun’s damage and something even worse that I thought would never happen to me….”SKIN CANCER”. Within the past year to year and a half I have cut out the tanning bed all together but still allowed myself not wear sunscreen while at the pool or even better, while on vacation in the Bahamas where I became pretty badly blistered. I enjoyed tanning and being tan because it honestly just made me feel better.
When my dermatologist noticed a new mole on my back that seemed to concern her and that she wanted to remove and send for biopsy I still wasn’t that concerned. Until the day she called to tell me that my test results came back as “Melanoma stage 0.” I know that a lot of people think, oh ok they caught it super early, it was only stage 0, no need to cry and be upset but the truth is, it was the scariest thing I have ever been through. See my life has blessed me as a single mom to a wounderful 6 year old little boy. I am all that he has so thank god that they did find it early, because if we had been faced with something much worse than what we were I wouldnt want to know what the outcome for him would be. Now that I have had surgery to remove all of the tissue (all the margins came back good) I am a sunscreen lover and I have also fallen in love with some really great sunless tanners so that I dont have to give up my love of being tan. I will be an advocate for Melanoma awareness because just like myself I know tons of women who tan, do not wear sunscreen and think just like I did “That will never happen to me, I am young”.