Date Diagnosed: 03/26/2014
I grew up loving the sun for starters. I grew up going to the beach and the pool all summer long and there was no such thing as SPF. It was baby oil with iodine and a metallic sheet to really enhance that tan! I also had to maintain that tan year round so when winter approached the sunbeds were the fill in. I never thought I’d be here now. 10 incisions later. 8 basal cells and 2 melanomas. Not to mention all the ones they have frozen off!
I quit tanning when the first incision was made on my face several years ago for a basal cell. It scared me straight. The real shock came when I went in for something else that popped up on my arm. My Dr. said, “I know you aren’t due for a full exam today but I’m just going to take a look everywhere.” Call it a God thing…. I got that dreaded after hour call from the Dr. himself that said Patti I found melanoma on your back. I was in disbelief like I didn’t even hear him.
I thought for sure just more basal cells possibly but not melanoma! He said I want this out asap. It was stage IIB so 2 days later I went in and they removed it. My pathology came back with clean margins so he sent me to the oncologist to get chest an x-ray and blood work done as a follow up. Then in 2015, I had one of my moles change on my middle finger. That was an ordeal as it was such a bad spot for a wide excision. It required a skin graft. That surgery triggered CRPS/RSD in my left hand/arm which has been a rough road on top of the skin cancer.
The key is to stay on top of your skin and if you see ANY changes get checked. Don’t wait!! I can’t tell enough people the importance of skin checks. I also have a family history of melanoma and skin cancers so that predisposition sure didn’t help. I go in every 3 months for skin checks and am vigilant on checking everything as well in between.
For all those fighting their fight… stay strong and keep the faith!