As a 35-year-old husband and father of three young children, I was active, fit and was focused on a well-balanced diet. I had annual physicals that all pointed toward excellent health. Then one day, my wife noticed a mole on my leg, pencil eraser in size just to the left of my shin bone. I hadn’t noticed it and I think it had always been there. But on this day for no special reason my wife took a hard look at it and had a funny feeling. The feeling she had was hard to articulate but something about this mole had changed. Was it larger? A different color? A different shape? Of course my reaction was “I’m sure it is nothing.” After a prolonged period of nonchalance on my part, my wife once again stepped in. The nudge turned to a prod which ended in a shove to see the dermatologist.
A typical dermatologist visit occurred and the mole was removed to be tested. Since I am writing here you already know the result was cancer—melanoma. Within a few weeks I had undergone a successful surgery to remove the cancerous cells as well as an area of margin around the area. I was lucky. It was identified and removed very early and no further action was needed. I continue to visit my dermatologist on a routine basis but again, thanks to the diligence of my wife all is well today.
I indicated above that I should not have been slow to act on the first sign of trouble. Why? My grandfather (paternal) had passed away at age 37 from complications originating from skin cancer and I was very well aware of this history. Also, I was fortunate that I was dealing with the kind of cancer that you can see. Simply put, I knew that I was at a very high risk given my family history, and I saw the change to my body and it still took a shove to act.
I often think that if I had not taken action would I have gone down the same path as my grandfather?
Don’t wait for a shove. Please act when the signs are there.
- mole on leg