Thursday, August 9, 2012

That Ain't No Beauty Mark

Warning: Graphic picture directly following....

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You know what's scary? My melanoma did not look like this.

You can ask Mr. Spots. The mole that turned out to be melanoma was just a mole I had on my left shoulder for as long as I can remember. It was a pretty mole, dark black, alone, just hanging out on my shoulder. I used to joke that it was my beauty mark because it looked "pretty" when I wore strapless dresses, etc. It was just part of me....
OK, I have no pictures of the mole in all of its glory...
I'm singing to you!

Turns out, that little beauty mark was attacking my body!

All of a sudden--after 23 years--the mole changed. It started to itch while I was washing dishes (my least favorite chore---well, one of them). I felt something kind of odd, so I walked over to Mr. Spots and had him take a look. My mole had a scab on it and it was leaking a clear fluid. Uh, I'm no genius, but I knew that was not normal. By the time I went in for my very first visit with a dermatologist, the mole had healed and returned to normal. I almost cancelled that appointment.

(Thanks, boyfriend, for encouraging me to go. You pretty much saved my life. For real, for real.)

The point of this story--and the ridiculous pictures--is that you can never be too sure. If a mole changes or suddenly appears, get it checked. Look for the warning signs.  1 in 5 people will get skin cancer in their lifetime. Check out the ABCDE's of Melanoma. Grab your partner and examine each other. Use a mirror. Whatever floats your boat. Just do it.

 Early. Detection. Is. Key.



~C

8 comments:

Brooklyn McKenna said...

I was trying to reply to your comment on my blog but it didn't have an email! So here's my reply. Thank you for your sweetness. You are so brave.I LOVE what you stand for. And I'd LOVE to have you guest post about your experiences. Email me? :)
brooklynburton@hotmail.com

Kisma said...

Thank you for sharing this. So many people don't realize that skin cancer can start in a mole they have had all their lives.

That is where mine started too. Ironically, same place.

Lori said...

I just wanted to tell you I stumbled across your blog - not sure how, but I believe yours was linked to someone else's - and I'm going to the dermatologist to get my moles checked out! I've had them checked before, but it's been a while. Thank you for being the inspiration you are. xoxo from another Virginia girl :)

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for all your candid thoughts and all your public service announcements. I am so glad that you shared how you found your melanoma. I check my moles constantly and have found two basal cells on my own - but it is always helpful to hear what else to look for!! You are a hero in so many ways. THank you!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that picture and for pointing out that melanoma does not have to look like that and be a big, ugly mole to be melanoma.

My melanoma was a new, small, light pink mole that came out of nowhere. I went to get it checked out after a couple months. My dermatologist removed it, but didn't think it would be anything.

Thankfully we caught it early (stage 1A)!

I came across your blog while reading everything that I could about melanoma after my diagnosis. Thanks for sharing your story and experiences! Keep up the great work!

this hive. said...

hi there! newest follower to your blog - thank you so much for sharing you story. helpful in so many ways!
excited to read more!
xox
ellen
thishive.blogspot.com

sophistifunk said...

thank you so much for spreading the word!

Louise Kerrison said...

I have had a mole for years that's become itchy, flakey and changes in size. It's recently started bleeding and now oozes clear fluid (sometimes with blood) I've been in touch with my GP but they don't seem bothered. After reading this, I'm determined to get it checked. I just hope it's not too late by the time I get seen (4 week wait)