It can never happen to me, right? Wrong. This year alone 76,380 people will be diagnosed with melanoma. Melanoma shows no mercy to age or gender. Our longtime and loyal client, Danielle, found this out at the tender age of 26. Danielle is a daughter, mother, wife, and friend. Here is her story:
“It was April of 2012, my family and I were in Destin for spring break, when a particular mole stood out to me. I remember so vividly showing the mole to other family members, who encouraged me to have it checked…of which I ignored. Fast forward 5 months, I finally decided it was time to make an appointment with a nearby dermatologist. But before that scary first visit my husband and I went to Fort Myers for our best friend’s wedding. I of course FRIED myself…again! I hated sunscreen and never used it, I didn’t even like putting it on my kids. I loved to go tanning and use oil and bronzer while sunning.
Upon returning from our trip (remember completely fried and sun damaged) I visited with the dermatologist. The minute she saw the mole she said it HAS to be removed. The next six days would be the longest six days of my life, waiting on the results, although in the back of my mind I just KNEW nothing was wrong. The phone call came, it was the doctor, she said, “You have cancer.” The tears started flowing and it took everything out of me! I PROMISE those are the last words anyone wants to hear. It was the BIG bad one, MELANOMA. Here I was 26 years old, a wife, mother of three, sister, and daughter that was just informed that she has MELANOMA, and the future was in question.
I was referred to a plastic surgeon who specializes in melanoma and surgically removing it. After the surgery, I was informed that all of my margins were clear (HUGE blessing) but that the depth of the cancer was slightly deeper then what was first thought. With that said, another referral, but this time to an oncologist. I didn’t and wasn’t able to properly prepare myself for this visit and didn’t realize I was visiting the same office that those receiving chemo were visiting. WOW, what an eye opener. From the initial phone call from my dermatologist it was the first time on this journey that I truly felt blessed! My current situation could have been so MUCH worse. The oncologist was very optimistic and encouraged me to continue to follow up with my dermatologist, he even suggested that I return for yearly visits with him, another HUGE blessing.
I now have a new take on the sun and skin protection! My family and I all wear rash guards, hats, sunscreen and do what we can to protect ourselves. I return to my dermatologist every three months for full body checks. Although other abnormal moles have been removed, none have come back melanoma. My most recent one that was removed was March of this year. It was determined to be a “high” level abnormal more–eek that was a close call!
During all of this I found the Fishers Air-Tan right at their grand opening and I am so thankful that I did! I recommend Air-Tan to all of my family and friends and it is the ONLY place I will get a spray tan from. The staff is always so accommodating, professional, and truly care about me and my skin health! The glow I get from a tan does so much for my confidence and for that I will be forever grateful for them!” #MelanomaSucks #SkinCancerAwareness
(Danielle pictured with her husband, Stephen)
Feature photo cred; Lane Lewis Photography