Hi! My name is Melissa and I am 40 years old. I have 2 children, Andrew, 20 and Ashlyn,16. I was recently diagnosed with malignant melanoma on my right leg and basal cell carcinoma on my chest. The news was devastating. I was always in the sun since I was little. We didn't know about sunscreen when I was little. We were outside all day, everyday back then. I started becoming an avid sunbather when I was in my teens. I love the feel of the warm sun and never wore sunscreen, but lathered it on my kids, because I was "darker toned" and "never burned" (yeah right!) I didn't need it, I thought. Boy was I wrong! I always thought that fair-skinned people and red-haired people had to worry. I have dark hair and eyes and never thought I would have skin cancer. Now I am finding out that my type of skin, many moles and freckles, is actually more prone to the deadlist form of skin cancer... MELANOMA!!
Last year I decided I would try a tanning bed. I live in Michigan where we don't see much sun, and I also had some money finally to spend on myself. I started going every other day and was addicted! My step dad warned me about skin cancer, and told me I was getting too dark. I blew him off. My fiance was upset and told me to stop, but I didn't listen. I just hid it from him. I didn't realize how dark I was until later. I wished I had listened to them both.
I wish I could go back and undo all the damage I have caused to my skin. But I can't, but what I can do is spread the word. This is why I started this blog. I also had inspiration from a couple of other people that are blogging about the same thing. From the very beginning I decided that I was going to document this from the beginning to let people see what happens. I took a picture of the mole on my leg before I went to the dermatologist. I am glad I did. Then I took a shot of the stitches in my leg and after they were removed. I have surgery for a wide-excision biopsy on my leg and a lymph node biopsy on 4-27-11. I am petrified! But, I will be documenting the whole thing, even the bad stuff. I am not trying to offend any one, I just want people to know that skin cancer CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE! Too many kids are tanning and they are also dying! So spread the word, use sunscreen and most of all, STAY AWAY FROM TANNING SALONS!!! They aren't going to tell you of the dangers of tanning!!