Melanoma in Situ
(Brighton, CO, USA)
I was a sun goddess. From the time I was very young, I can remember laying a towel out on the black asphalt driveway in the summertime after spending hours in the pool.
Or at the ripe old age of five, pulling up a lounge chair next to my mother's and spraying on a mixture of baby oil and iodine in order to maximize tanning.
By the time I was ten, I joined the diving team. I would spend three hours a day in the hot Illinois sun all summer long practicing.
When I was fifteen, I got a job as a lifeguard at the same pool where I practiced diving every day in the summer. I would bake in the sun from nine in the morning until nine at night.
It was no surprise, then, that when I was twenty I was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma
I saw my regular doctor at my mother's urging when I was home from college on spring break. The very same day, within twenty minutes of seeing my regular doctor, I was sitting in the dermatologist's office.
Within the hour, the dermatologist had cut out the offensive mole on my left calf and stitched me up. It was sent to Mayo Clinic for testing, to which it came back cancerous.
The bad news was that it was a melanoma, the deadliest type of Skin Cancer
. The good news was it was considered "in situ", which meant it was caught early
enough to be cut out completely and wouldn't need any further treatment.
I never would have seen the doctor had my mother not noticed the mole on the back of my leg. It had always been there, but over the course of several months, it had grown in size, became very black, and began itching, flaking, and turning red around the edges.
Who knows how sick I could have become had I ignored my mother and not visited the doctor that day?
Since then, I have been a lot more proactive regarding protecting my skin. I never leave the house without sunscreen on.
I wear long sleeves whenever possible, large-brimmed Sun Protection Hat
and protective eye wear if I am going to be outside for long periods of time.
I have had two more occurrences of Melanoma Skin Cancer
since then, one on my left bicep and one on my right hip.
Fortunately, I have been diligent about visiting a dermatologist yearly for screenings, and doing self-checks monthly to ensure no unusual growths.
I have certainly learned my lesson regarding sun exposure and UV rays
, and have passed it down to my kids, who never see the light of day without a good slathering of Organic Sunscreen
!Melanoma Skin CancerMalignant Melanoma Skin CancerSkin Cancer MelanomaSkin Cancer Moles