It will be 2 years in July since we found the suspicious spot and surgery in October. The biggest message I would like to convey to all of our patients and friends is constantly be checking. Early detection was key for me, this is my story.
I would have always considered myself very diligent about protecting myself from exposure to UVA and UVB rays. I do very much enjoy being in the sunshine and outside, but I have always been cautious to apply sunscreen. Also, having a mother who is a skin care specialist has always been in my favor when coming to protecting and caring for my skin. With this all being said, Melanoma still found it’s way to me.
I was preparing for my 50th birthday celebration when my husband mentioned that there was mole on my back that he wanted me to have looked at. With life being so busy, it was something I thought I would addressed after the party when things slowed down. I wore an exposed back dress to my party and a good friend who happened to be a nurse called me the next day to express her concern and thought I should have it checked. So off I went to see my dermatologist for a check. I admit I was a little overdo on this very important routine check.
My dermatologist removed the mole that day and sent it off. I will never forget the phone call I received 4 days later as my husband and I were headed out of town for a conference. The words Melanoma stage 1 rang deafening in my ears. To be honest I didn’t really hear much he said after that and had to put him on the speaker phone to repeat everything for my husband. I was to schedule an appointment with a recommended oncologist for surgery. I was told that I would be in the very best of hands and I was very lucky that it was found early and still remained in stage 1. Melanoma is an aggressive growing cancer and can spread to various areas of the body, including the brain. It is imperative to eradicate the initial site area to increase the success of it not spreading or coming back.
After meeting with the surgeon and realizing I was in very good hands, surgery was scheduled for October. My nerves were high of course, but I knew this was very necessary and I just wanted it behind me for good. What was a mole no larger than a small corn kernel, but not perfectly round and a slight color variation (which are tell signs), required a six inch incision for deep tissue removal to insure total eradication. Post surgery, I was monitored every three months for one year alternately between by surgeon and my dermatologist. After my one year I see my surgeon once a year for three years and my dermatologist two times a year. After three years I get to go to my dermatologist once a year, like everyone should schedule for their routine check.
I am extremely fortunate that my suspicious mole was picked up early and addressed. Melanoma has no symptoms in the beginning stages so it is very important to do self checks and have a dermatologist check up once a year. Moles can change quickly. Sunscreen protects against the UVA and UVB rays which can cause skin cells to change. Always apply to sun exposed skin. Melanoma is a skin cancer that is caused from pigment producing cells called melanocytes. It is the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
Keep calm and carry on beautifully