The Positive Impacts Melanoma Has Had On My Life
Skin cancer, or any cancer for that matter, can be a terrifying diagnosis. For me personally, my melanoma diagnosis has been terrifying at times. However, it's also had some extremely positive impacts on my life.
Taking the good with the bad
With unlimited information at our fingertips, it’s difficult to avoid the temptation of googling absolutely everything related to skin cancer. This can take any scary or negative thoughts you may have had and send them into overdrive – as it did for me immediately after my diagnosis. However, my experience with melanoma was not all bad. It’s actually had a profoundly positive impact on my life.
A wakeup call
I was lucky in the fact that I only had stage 1A melanoma. At stage 1A, melanoma has a very low chance of mortality or any long-term health issues. Even so, my diagnosis got me seriously thinking about my future. For the first time in a while, I sat down and thought about where I was going in my life, what I wanted to accomplish and who I wanted to be.
Reflections and reasons for gratitude
I always thought there was plenty of time to start working towards those goals "tomorrow", but then I had a brush with a potentially deadly disease that I never saw coming. I now often think about the quote “tomorrow is promised to no one”. It’s given me a sense of urgency and purpose that continues to keep me focused and more committed to my long-term goals. I’m more committed to family than I have ever been before and I’ve stopped procrastinating when it comes to big decisions. My diagnosis was the catalyst that’s driven me down a more meaningful path and for that, I’m extremely thankful.
A more fulfilling profession
I’ve always dreamed of owning my own business. Although I hopped around between a few full-time jobs after college, I was always trying to start small businesses on the side. Around 2015 I was able to make that dream come true. I started a VR (virtual reality) business which turned out to be very successful. It allowed me to quit my full-time job and become my own boss. However, while I was passionate about becoming a successful entrepreneur I was never passionate about the business itself.
The positive impacts of my melanoma diagnosis
My skin cancer diagnosis helped me find my new passion. My melanoma made me realize how ignorant I had been previously in regards to UV exposure and I was paying the price. I always understood UV exposure was dangerous, but never really considered it to be a big threat to me personally. None of my friends or family have ever had skin cancer, so why would I? It was a seemingly foreign concept to me, especially at the age of 32.
Looking out for those I love and following my passion
Once I realized how ignorant I had been, I also realized my friends and family have also been largely ignoring the dangers of UV exposure. They were equally at risk and taking very few preventative steps in their daily lives. I started sharing what I’ve learned online and recommending various sun protection products to everyone I knew. And I loved it! I became passionate about sun protection and knew that I had to make it a bigger part of my life. With that in mind, I sold my VR business in order to start a sun-protective apparel business and follow my new passion.
A skin cancer diagnosis can be an extremely difficult thing to handle with obvious negative impacts, but with the bad comes the good. It’s important to understand how many positive events can result from such a negative diagnosis. My examples here are just a couple of the countless positive impacts my skin cancer has had on my life, and I hope others have similar life improvements and try to keep a positive mindset throughout.
Have you ever been diagnosed with melanoma?