When I was a teenager, I hated my red hair and fair skin. I mostly hated the fact that all my friends always came back from summer vacation with a really nice tan. Being of fair complexion, I was never able to get a tan from the sun, so when I was 17 I started using indoor tanning beds.
After two and a half years of baking myself in a tanning booth I spotted a dark, itchy mole on my stomach. After pointing it out to a doctor she casually told me the spot looked fine and no further action was required. Knowing something was off, I didn’t let her cavalier attitude sway me, and I demanded that the spot be removed and biopsied. Don’t ask me how, but I knew something was off. I made a conscious decision to fight my primary care physician and take charge of my own body.
The next month would be filled with doctor’s visits, skin exams, radioactive dye injections, and a 3-hour surgery that would result in 4 major scars and over 70 stitches. Drainage tubes were sewn into my incisions and would later be ripped from my body without Novocain.
I would have 8 lymph nodes removed from my body to determine if the cancer had spread. Luckily it hadn’t.
Although I received good news at the end of this process, the experience was traumatic. After falling into a deep depression for a year after my surgery I realized that cancer had happened to me for a reason. And that reason was to share my story. My life has forever been altered by this journey and my health is now something I take very seriously.
Everything happens for a reason, and my story is no exception.
- dark itchy mole on stomach