Monday, August 11, 2008

Cancer Survivor

On Friday I had a dermatologist appointment in the AM and I had to get two more moles removed (yay) and I have 5 stitches in my back where one of them was taken off. I should get my results back next Monday when I go to get my stitches out. Please pray for it to be ok. For those of you who do not know my history, about 1.5 years ago I went in for my very first dermatologist appointment. I went in because I had two moles on my hand and usually those are considered to be suspicious because the sun doesn’t shine on that part of your body. Anyway, I noticed a weird looking mole on the back of my calf that had recently popped up. My doctor took one look at it and decided that we needed to get it taken off. She said that it would be fine but we just wanted to make sure. Well, 4 days later I get a phone call that changed my life forever. The mole was Melanoma In-Situ. I can’t even begin to explain how I felt at that moment when I heard those words. The only thing I could think of at the time was Oh My Gosh…I have CANCER and I am 20 years old!!! And the only person I knew who had cancer before was my grandfather and he passed away with it. I was so scared! Luckily it was in an early stage and I had to have surgery on my leg to make sure it was all removed. It took a while for my leg to heal and I now have a scar the size of a quarter on my leg (no complaints though!)

About 4 months ago I had a spot that appeared back on my leg in the same exact area. I went to the dermatologist again and she took a look at it and decided that it needed to come off. So we did another biopsy and it came back with “pre-cancerous cells.” The confusing thing about it this time was that when cancer comes back it usually comes back in a different form….and the cells of this biopsy had that different “look” so they went ahead and did another surgery as a means of “preventative treatment.” I was in the hospital and the hole was grafted so that my leg would look somewhat “pretty.” It took it about 2 months to heal and for those of you who remember I walked around with a wrap on my leg for weeks! It was horrible and I looked hilarious! :)

Since then I have had about 5 moles biopsied (I have to go every 3 months) and they all have been fine. I am waiting to hear back on 2 of those…so please PRAY!

Every time I look at my scar I wonder what could have happened to me if I didn’t go to the doctor….if I didn’t have that mole taken off. It scares me to this day and gives me chills to think about what could have been. I am so thankful for my doctors and my family/friends that supported me through all of this. I was fortunate to catch mine early on and for that I will always be grateful! Thank the Lord!

I was never one to sit around and soak myself is tanning oil and try to get a tan. I have always been a fair skinned blonde hair blue-eyed girl who wore the big baggy t-shirts (thanks Mom!) and one piece bathing suits. I hated it when I was little but now I have more appreciation for it. I never thought that something like this would happen to me. I was only a child when I got this cancer!! I cannot stress the importance of sun screen. Please please please get your skin checked regularly especially if you spend a lot of time in the sun. It doesn’t matter what kind of complexion you have or how preventative you have been your whole life. It can happen to anyone. Cancer is cancer….some far worse than others…..but I beat it and if it comes back again I will beat it again!!! :)

1 comment:

The Griffith Family said...

I've been so busy travelling a lot lately so I'm here catching up on my friends blogs and came upon this one post of yours... you have made me open my eyes. You know me- I have always loved to be in the sun- yes I use protection now but I did NOT when I was younger and after reading your comment that said something like... "you got this when you were a child" gave me chills b/c it was then that I didn't protect and I am now concerned I may pay... I'm checking my body and will take every spot serious... thanks girl for opening my eyes. I'm thankful that you have beat what could have turned out to be the worse case here with cancer...