Can't Believe This Happened to Me
Last updated: August 2023
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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Do you sunscreen in the fall?