Yep, I do feel lucky! Earlier in the summer I had a mole on my shoulder looked at by my Dermatologist and it came back as Melanoma. I’ve had this mole on my shoulder for as long as I can remember. And here is a closer look at the mole. I started to feel that a small part of the mole was raised which was why I decided to have it checked. I went to the doctor, she decided to biopsy it just to be safe and then I forgot about it.
Yes, I Have Melanoma
About a week later, I got a call from the nurse and she said that it definitely is Melanoma in the very beginning stages (which is why I feel lucky) and it needs to be removed immediately. I was heading to the beach in 2 days for my daughters’ dance competition, so I had to wait another week before I could get in for the surgery. Of course, I immediately got online and researched Melanoma. Melanoma is the rarest of the skin cancers. Only America dies of Melanoma every 61 minutes. Now if that doesn’t scare you. Here are some of the resources I found:. Someone in
- CDC Melanoma Site
- Skin Cancer Foundation
- National Cancer Institute
- American Cancer Society
- WebMD – Melanoma
- Melanoma Research Foundation
During the week at the beach, my mind focused solely on the Melanoma on my arm. I knew it was caught early and the survival rate is 99% for Melanoma caught this early, but the thought that there was a cancer in my body scared me. That is something that happens to other people, not to me.
When we got back home, I went to the surgeon and had the mole removed. They take away more than just the mole. They go about 1-2 mm into the healthy skin to be sure they get all the melanoma. Then the sample is sent out for testing. If they find small traces of melanoma in the healthy tissue, they have to go back and remove more. Healing on the shoulder is a little trickier because you move your shoulder a lot and the skin gets pulled a lot. After 2 days, it looked like this:
For two weeks, I’ve been limited on my activity. It hurt a LOT for the first week and sleeping has been real fun because I sleep on my left side most of the time and it’s my left shoulder. It’s been almost 3 weeks and this is what it looks like now. It doesn’t hurt as much, but it does itch!
Considering it’s been only 3 weeks, I’m pretty happy with the way it looks. The doctor has given me tips on how to prevent the scar from looking too bad. I’ll share those in another post.
My Future After Melanoma
Many of you have probably seen my toes in the sand pics and read about how much I love the beach. That will not stop. I now use a lotion with sunscreen daily. I will be diligent about reapplying the sunscreen when outside and staying in the shade when possible.
I refuse to let the Melanoma stop me from enjoying the beach and having fun outside. I will have to be careful. I am having a fully body check next week to be sure there aren’t any other moles that need to be checked. I will be sure to do that annually and I will watch for moles myself.
Early Detection is Important
I am lucky because I caught mine early and I had it checked out. Often we let these things go and in this case, if I’d waited another 6 months, this might be a very different post. That is the part that scares me the most. So, if you have any moles or spots you are unsure of…HAVE IT CHECKED NOW!
I did get a call last week that they got it all and no other treatment is needed on that spot.
So, I’ve been a bit preoccupied this summer and probably let a few things slide. This whole Melanoma scare really threw me for a loop. It could have been much worse, but what I keep reminding myself is that it wasn’t bad because I took care of it.
Do you have a mole that you’ve had checked or needs to be checked? Was it Melanoma or other type of skin cancer? Share your stories.