Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hearing That I Have Melanoma~My 2 Year Journey

It has been 2 years since I heard the news, " You have melanoma."   Time stood still.  My life has been a roller coaster of emotions ever since. 

It was April's Fools Day 2011 when I had my mole removed.  I had done the research and I was sure that it was indeed melanoma.  I had been preparing myself for weeks.  I got my life insurance in place and other things.  I had decided what I would do depending on how bad it was.  I had called my tanning salon and told them I would not be back, EVER.  I had spent HOURS upon HOURS online researching everything I could about melanoma. 

I thought I was prepared to hear the words.  I thought I was ready and that I could ask the right questions and that I would hear the answers, but it was all a blur.

How can you be prepared to hear that you have cancer?  Melanoma has the reputation of being sneaky and spreading fast.  A cancer with no cure. 

I remember the doctor (dermatologist)  was jet lagged from a trip back from some tropical destination.  He wasn't tan though.  I remember wondering if HE had skin cancer, who would remove it from him?  Would he just do it himself? 

I remember Kevin tensing up when the doctor said the words, "You have melanoma."  I had my hand on his back.  His breathing changed and he slumped down a little.  I felt such a great amount of guilt at that moment.  He had told me to stop tanning.  He had told me I was beautiful without the tan.  He tried to convince me, and I ignored and hid my tanning from him.

I remember hearing that we could pick our hospital and they gave me the info.  We were going to get a call to set up an appointment for a surgical oncologist.

My head was spinning.  I had met Kevin there, so we checked out and gave each other a hug.  He said that everything was going to be alright.  We drove home.  All I could think about was, "How am I going to tell my kids, my parents..??" and  "Am I going to die?"  I was so scared.  I cried on that drive.  I had known that I had melanoma,but I did NOT know what it felt like to be told you have it.

I didn't realize how much my life was going to change. 

Telling my kids was harder than I thought.  I don't really even remember what I said or how I said it.  I just remember the looks on their faces.  The fear in their eyes.  The concern.  I felt like I was weak.  I hated being weak in front of my kids.  I had to be the strong one.  I couldn't get melanoma.  I didn't have time for that!  I needed to be healthy and to be able to be a Mom to them.  I feared leaving them and for them to see me sick.

The first time I said, "I have melanoma", was the next morning when I called into work.  I thought I was okay the night before.  I was being really strong, by holding it in.  When I woke up in the morning, it kind of all hit me.  Like a Mac truck!  I couldn't stop shaking and crying.  I had cancer and I had to have surgery to see if I was going to live or if I was going to die.  I called into work and I told my office manager.  She seemed annoyed, but whatever.  I did let it get to me then, but now I just know that is the way she is.  I was crying when I called and she didn't really even say anything to me that was comforting at all. 

I had my family and I had my friends.  That is what got me through. 

I had my appointment with the surgical oncologist the next week and he explained the surgery.  It was scary, but we picked a date.  He said, "April 20th."  I shook my head. He looked confused.  I said,"Any day but the 20th.  That is my daughter's 16th birthday.  I can't do that to her."  He said, "Ok, well then April 27th then, I don't want to wait much longer."  I agreed.  It was my sister and brother-in-law anniversary.  It was a great day when they got married, may it would bring me some good luck.

The last 2 years, I have grown and changed a lot.  I can't even remember what it was like to be the old me.  I only know the Melanoma Me. It almost changed me for the worst.  I have learned to not let it control me or define me.  I am using my diagnosis to educate people and to change people's views on tanning. 

It isn't always easy to stand up for what you believe in.  I have had a lot of negativity and people that do not agree.  I used to let it really get to me, but not now.  I have grown some tough skin along with my pale skin.  And I will never stop. 


  1. Beautiful post! And congrats on your 2 year cancerversay!

  2. I have been there, too. I have a chunck of my shoulder gone where the melanoma was, but I have gained so much perspective. I have had 7 biopsies and three surgeries, but I feel blessed. Congrats on beating it!