World Cancer Day – My Story

Today I was planning on uploading “My Healthy Skin How I Protect My Skin From The Sun” and I thought it was very fitting it being World Cancer Day. I was unsure about sharing my story but I thought people would take my Protect Your Skin blog more seriously, so here I go..

my-story

Growing up I had always had this freckle on the side of my face and we never thought anything of it because I have loads of other freckles. Then as I got older I had two freckles beside each other one became bigger and darker and started to take over the other freckle.

When I was 15 I went to my GP with a bad cough and luckily she noticed this happening with my freckles. I was told I was going to get it removed in Cork but there would be a years waiting list, a week later I got a phone call saying I would have my operation in Wexford to have in removed. It was a simple procedure, didn’t take long, they used local anesthetic so I was only there about 3 hours or so maybe more. It was sore for a few days after because they were located on my jaw area so it was sore to talk an eat.

I was told it would take up to 6 weeks to get the results, to see if there was anything cancerous about my freckles. We got a letter three weeks later I think for an appointment and myself and my Dad went waited what seemed like a long time to be seen, when we finally were the doctor said my results aren’t back they had to be sent for more, we would have to schedule for another appointment. If my memory serves me right my operation was the 6th April 2011.

My new appointment was arranged for 17th May 2011. I wasn’t nervous I was 15 I didn’t think anything would be wrong, I never really knew what skin cancer was. I will always remember this day so clearly. My Dad came with me again, usually waiting ages in an outpatients waiting room full of old people, then my name got called by a lovely nurse which I didn’t realize at the time probably knew what I was about to be told.

I walked into a room full of doctors there was so many about 7 I believe. I sat down beside my Dad and the doctor started explaining what they found, the found that my freckle was a malignant melanoma. There are three types of skin cancer and I just happened to have the worse kind. Malignant Melanomas can be a highly aggressive cancer if it is not found early, it can spread throughout your body. I was so lucky that mine was found early, so so lucky.

I then had to go for another operation in Crumlin to check the skin around my melanoma to make sure it was all taken out. So I had few appointments up there and some follow ups. I was lucky that they had gotten everything out the first time. By the time I had my last follow-up in Crumlin it was 30th August 2011, it was truly a very fast process but at the time it felt like such a long time. For 3 years after I had to have check ups with my dermatologist every 3 months and slowly they started to get further apart until I no longer needed them. I only needed so many because at the time I was the youngest person in Ireland to have had malignant melanoma.

Everything was perfect after that, I had a scare in 2015 and had another mole removed close to where the first one was but everything came back clear. I know it’s not a very exciting story but its mine. It is so important to take care of your skin, to protect it. I remember girls in school would hope to get burned for their skin to then tan, it used to make me so angry. You can still tan if you wear sun cream.

Your skin is your biggest organ and you need to take care of it. Skin Cancer is becoming more popular and younger people are starting to get it. Please be careful.

I will talk in more detail about how to protect your skin in my next blog. Thank you for ready, please like, share and comment.

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