Dolina Potter, Stage I
My name is Dolina Potter. I am 61 years old. Here is my melanoma story.
It was the 1960’s; the summer of ’69 to be exact. It was “The Age of Aquarius,” as the song goes. We would coat our bodies with baby oil and lay in the sun as the radio blared the words of that song. “… let the sun shine; let the sun shine in. Oh, sunnn… .” You get my point. We literally fried in the sun. Some girls would even use sun reflectors to get their faces good and toasty.
I am a redhead with a zillion freckles. I don’t tan. My freckles just run together. I continued to sit in the sun each summer or use the occasional tanning bed, until last year. I developed some weird spots on my left arm. With the urging of my family, I went to a dermatologist last August. They were not your typical “spots.” One was pink and the other was white and pink. The doctor had me come back in early September to do biopsies. While he was doing the samples, he decided to biopsy a tiny mole, also on that arm.
A week later I got the phone call that all three biopsies were positive for melanoma. The news rocked my world. I was sent to a melanoma surgeon and had surgery on Oct. 10, 2012. The margins came back clean, and I see a melanoma oncologist every 6 months since one of the spots was a Stage I. I am 7 months cancer free. I am a very grateful survivor. Sure, I have nasty scars on my arm that I try to conceal with long-sleeved shirts, but as time goes by I will consider them my victory scars. They can be opportunities to talk to someone about the dangers of sun exposure.
I owe great big thanks to my family for urging me to get seen by a doctor. Early detection is the key for survival! Let the awareness about skin cancer spread faster than cancer does! I am a grateful survivor! God is good!