Wednesday, March 9, 2016
A few years ago, when I was pregnant for Emmett; my body was growing and my skin was stretching. So, I didn't give it much thought when a mole near my hip started to grow and became crusty and itchy. I wrote it off as due to the pregnancy. I saw my doctor many times over the duration of two pregnancies and numerous well child visits. Never once did it cross my mind to ask him about it. Finallly, at my six week well child checkup after I had Tori, I thought what the heck... and I showed it to him. His response when he saw it: "oh yeah, we need to do something about that." So, he scheduled for me to come back two days later to have a biopsy done.
Then, a few days later, at 9pm, his cell phone number showed up on my caller id. That's never good- a doctor calling late at night from his cell phone. I knew right away it wasn't good news. I had melanoma.
Thankfully, it was superficial- not to the deep tissue yet- so easy to treat. I had to have surgery to have more of the area removed and I had to see a dermatologist (as I will for the rest of my life) to make sure there weren't any other questionable spots. Which, there was. He did a biopsy and cauterized it and sent me on my way. A couple days later, I got a call that it was atypical but they got all of it when they did the biopsy. Phew! That was so much easier than letting it go and finding out you need surgery to get it removed!
So now, as I said, I have to go to the dermatologist every year and get looked over and they'll do what they need to do to keep me healthy.
It's so weird for me to say I had cancer. I hear stories daily about people battling cancer and going through chemo and facing major health setbacks due to their cancer. This was not the case with me, thank God. I don't even feel like it's fair for me to say I'm a cancer survivor. But the reality of it is melanoma is the least common of skin cancers but also the deadliest. And it was there, living on my body, leeching off of me!
This picture is of me and the big kids in 2011. In February. In Michigan. DO YOU SEE HOW TAN I WAS?!
Nowadays, I am diligent in making sure my kids and I don't get too much sun. I will never be that tan again, not even in July. Not even if I ever make it somewhere sunny in January. And if any questionable spots arise, I don't hesitate to ask about them. And I want to encourage you to do the same. Imagine if I had let that go just a little bit longer. As it was, they were concerned that it may have been in my lymph nodes- which is a whole different ball game. Very scary stuff and really, quite preventable. Minimize sun exposure and ASK if you have any questions!! It can't hurt (except the numbing shots. and the healing, stitched up incision.) But in all seriousness, IF it does end up being "something," you'll be glad you didn't wait! I'm surprised (and very thankful!) that mine wasn't worse after letting it go for two years! Here is what's left of the culprit:
Pretty big scar for a little mole, eh? That's what happens when you let it go too long. The one on my back that they caught early is just a speck. Notice how WHITE I am. In March. In Michigan :)