Melanoma can be prevented PT2

Last week I shared with how Melanoma can be prevented and now I’d like to tell you more about my melanoma story and that of my son.

I was first diagnosed with Melanoma back in 2015. I remember one morning thinking, “gees my back is ugly!” after I looked at it in the mirror . There was one, large, dark and ugly spot.  Having had regular check ups, I knew it wasn’t there 6 months before.

I had my check-up booked in for the next couple of weeks and sure enough it was melanoma and thankfully only stage one. I asked about another spot, which on the surface showed no markers. I still asked to have it removed and it too was a melanoma and thankfully stage 1.

Given that I have always had regular check-ups, has meant that I have always caught them early, with only a small incision required and no further treatment.

2018 and I see another freckle on my shoulder. Didn’t look suspicious but we had it removed. Yep. You guessed it, another stage 1 Melanoma. I now sport a really cool Harry Potter scar on my shoulder! But I wear it with pride and use every opportunity I get to spread the word about prevention.

Never once have any of my spots bled, been itchy nor caused any pain. I just didn’t like the look of them. Always trust your gut and get them checked.

2019  we were all standing around the breakfast bar with the down lights shining and my daughter says to my 14 year old son, “You’ve got a big blotch on your head!” He’d just had a haircut, short on the sides and fairly short on top. He can no longer have this style, no shaves and now has a lovely mop of curls! Every mother’s joy.

My heart sank as soon as I saw it. My gut instinct tells me melanoma.

Again on the surface it showed no markers but results showed stage 1 melanoma and luckily through surgery everything was removed.

My baby boy who I’d lathered in sunscreen, even his scalp. Always kept him in shade and never in the sun during the danger hours. Only ever been burnt once when he took his rashie off at a pool party where I wasn’t in attendance. Now he has to stay out of the sun forever , from 10am till 4pm. I jokingly told him to stay away from chasing girls who love the beach!

There’s a big message here. Only stage 1 melanoma, regular check-ups, staying out of the sun in danger periods, yes it’s all about prevention and that is just one of the main areas Cancer Council strives to educate people. Prevention is far less traumatic than treatments.

You see, when I was a young child, none of this was talked about. The slip, slop slap campaign wasn’t around until I was about 15. From that campaign on, I rarely got sunburnt, but my damage was done prior to that, with countless trips to the beach and lots of burnt, blistered, peeling skin.

As for my son, maybe that one bout of sunburn was enough. But it just goes to show that cancer is ever changing. The doctors said that he was too young to have had enough sun exposure to cause it.

So it is up to us to listen to our bodies, have all our regular check-ups and if your gut is telling you something is wrong, go to the doctor straight away. If you’re not happy with what you’re told, go to another doctor.  As a family, check each others’ backs and hard to see areas like the scalp, backs of ears etc. Be your own guardian angel.

My story is only about Melanoma and through knowledge and prevention I have been able to come out relatively unscathed. The wonderful thing about Cancer Council is that they are the only organisation in Australia that works across every area of every cancer. They can be contacted on 13 11 20. If you would like to donate to Cancer Council, please click on this link. Every little bit helps.

I hope I’ve been able to encourage you to get your skin checked be careful when outdoors. You are your own guardian angel and only you know your body.

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Until next time

Look, feel, live, your best and decide today to live for tomorrow
Always Anna