I have specific advice for caregivers. As a Melanoma survivor it is important to have supportive friends and family behind me. I need people in my life who understand my unique situation and help me stay out of the sun. I need them to help me protect my skin by suggesting activities that won’t put me at risk. I need different options for vacations and outings. I need access to shade at times and I need sunscreen all the time. One personal stigma I have had is that my condition inconveniences others around me. That has changed in part because those I care about show that they care about me.
Summer is an especially difficult time for me even though it has been ten years since my diagnosis and my complete shutdown of all things tanning. Over the years, I have changed many of my routine summer activities. I wait to do any yardwork until well after peak hours of sunlight. Even then, I wear at least 30 SPF sunscreen. When visiting theme parks, the beach, or spending time outdoors during peak hours, I use sunscreen of 50 SPF, reapply regularly, and keep an umbrella handy to minimize exposure. Skincare shopping has changed as well. I wear powder year round with SPF and double up on lip balm with at least 30 SPF in the summer, as well. None of these are things I would have ever given a second thought prior to my diagnosis.