A woman sits alone in an empty desert. Dark clouds pass around her as her long shadow stretches menacingly over the ground.

Can't Believe This Happened to Me

Moonmomma talks about the trauma of diagnosis and realizing the relationship between melanoma mental health...

Growing up on the beach

I practically grew up on the beach. I like to think of myself as young, but I am old enough to remember when we had suntan lotion (not sunscreen), no waterproof/water resistant sunscreen and people still used baby oil and iodine. My mom used to compliment me on how brown I would get. I never cared because I was more concerned with swimming and playing.

I knew in my gut it wasn't right

I have lots of freckles and moles (over 100). I had a mole on my right leg. One day I noticed a spot growing next to it and it felt like too quickly I had this huge spot that was trying to overtake my mole. I just knew in my gut that it wasn't right.

I have been to the dermatologist prior and had some moles removed. I knew what to expect. I went to the dermatologist and had it biopsied. I knew it wasn't right, but I was thinking I would go back and have it cut a little deeper, maybe Mohs surgery.

A sucker punch in the stomach

I was NOT expecting melanoma! My doctor called and I felt like I was sucker punched in the stomach. I had no idea what melanoma really was. I went to the hospital and had surgery to cut it out. I had two lymph nodes removed (everyone kept saying I was young and they'll probably be negative).

Well, one was positive and I once again felt like someone sucked all the air out of the room. I had to go for a CT scan to see if it spread anywhere else (talk about nerve-racking). Thank goodness it hadn't spread (at least yet).

Melanoma and mental health

Now I feel like I am constantly on guard looking for spots or wondering if or when it will come back or spread. I had no idea how much having skin cancer would mess with my head/mental wellbeing. I have since had four more (smaller) surgeries on extremely abnormal moles. I have so many moles I feel like I don't have a light at the end of the tunnel.

Some days it's really hard not to just cry. I try to put on a brave face for my son and all my friends and family. This is hard (and painful) and I did not see my life going this way. I am fighting everyday and will continue to fight for myself, my friends, my family and to spread the word that skin cancer is real and get information out there.

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