Two years ago today, on Cinco de Mayo 2021, I was diagnosed with melanoma. Coincidentally (maybe ironically), May is also Skin Cancer Awareness Month. So here’s my annual awareness blog.
Thankfully, melanoma has a high cure rate when caught in time. But, it can spread and metastasize quickly if it’s not caught. While there are actually several different forms of skin cancer, melanoma is the most aggressive. And let me tell you, it’s scary.
I’ll never forget that day my dermatologist called with the results of my biopsy. Time stood still. And I was gripped by panic and fear when she said the words, “It’s cancer.”
Two weeks later, I was lying on an operating table while a surgeon performed a wide excision procedure on the back of my arm, to remove my melanoma and all surrounding tissue. I’m incredibly thankful that when the pathology came back, it showed clear margins.
Now, I slather myself in SPF 70, I wear long sleeves on days when it’s entirely too hot for long sleeves, and I’m a frequent flyer at my dermatologist’s office. I haven’t had any reoccurences in these last two years, and I’m so grateful.
What I’m left with though, is a large physical scar on my arm from where the surgeon had to cut about an inch deep, along with an emotional scar from the trauma and the fear (yes, even 2 years later) that it could happen again.
I recently heard someone say, “Don’t waste your pain.” So, here’s the takeaway:
It happened to me, and it could happen to anyone. Take the sun seriously.
Wear sunscreen (with a high SPF), sunglasses, hats, and protective clothing. Get regular skin checks at your dermatologist’s office. If you see anything unusual or suspicious, get it checked out…don’t wait! And for the LOVE, please don’t use tanning beds.
Stay safe out there, friends! ☀️😎