My Melanoma Diagnosis

First of all, thank you so much for your kind words!  I’ve received so many emails, texts, calls, etc and I am so thankful to have the lot of you in my corner.    I’ve also gotten a lot of questions about how I received my diagnosis, how I knew to go in etc so I’m sharing it all here. mymelanomadiagnosis2

My Melanoma Diagnosis- How I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Melanoma and what the next steps are.

My Melanoma DIagnosis

Yup. Me in college- dyed my hair brown and WAY too much tanning

So let me start by saying- in college I was a tanning bed user.  For 3 years I went every week during the Fall-Spring.  And during the summer I would lay out with the girls with no sunscreen on.  I’m a fair blonde with blue eyes- definitely not a smart move.  What made it even more silly is my mother is a Dermatology Nurse.  She’d been telling me for YEARS the dangers of tanning.  I didn’t listen.  I had that whole invincibility belief going on- like most college kids.  After college my Derm found a severe dysplasia on my back, and that ended my tanning habits.  I started using sunscreen and only doing organic spray tans.  Too little too late my friends. 

My Melanoma DIagnosis

About a month ago I noticed a mole growing on the back of my arm.  I showed it to my mom, who got me in right away.  We were both thinking it would be another severe dysplasia.  Two weeks later the doctor called me back with the diagnosis- Stage 1 Melanoma.  Because of it’s depth (.98) and aggressive tendencies (it gets more medical here but they can see in a biopsy if the cells are duplicating at a fast rate and mine were) they had me schedule surgery for the 22nd of this month.  I will be having a rather large chunk of my upper arm taken out, as well as some lymph nodes to be cautious.  

While I will be out of commission for a bit, not to mention in a little pain, this is small potatoes to what it could have been.  We caught it early and I am very blessed with a spectacular support system.  That being said, I am begging every single one of you to get to the dermatologist.  Please.

Here are some great resources to learn about skin cancer and melanoma: 

SkinCancer.org

MayoClinic.com 

National Cancer Institute

26 thoughts on “My Melanoma Diagnosis

  1. Allison

    Thank you for sharing this, sweet lady! I was an avid tanning bed user in college and had recently considered going back (although I know better), but your diagnosis was the wake up call I needed! Prayers for you!

    Reply
  2. Samantha

    So happy everything was caught early. I had a mole removed and nothing came of it but I’m always nervous that there are other moles on my body that weren’t checked that should have been. I worked at a tanning salon and tanned everyday pretty much. Scary stuff! Praying for you lady!

    Reply
  3. Caroline

    Thank you so much for sharing! I am a huge advocate of the derm too as my husband has had skin cancer and every 6 months we both have suspicious spots removed. Thanks for advocating. I hope your surgery goes well.

    Reply
  4. Chrissie Em

    Thank you for sharing your story! I’ll be showing this to my daughters as I can never emphasis the risks enough. I’m hoping your post will help that. Thanks again 🙂

    Reply
  5. Lindsay

    I’m so happy this was caught early Jessica, and thank you for sharing your story and for spreading awareness of the importance of skin safety. Lots of love and prayers your way.

    Reply
  6. Jenny

    One of my good blogging friends has been melanoma (cancer) free for 5 years now. I am glad you were able to catch it early before it progressed any further. I am very cautious of being in the sun too much so hopefully that helps me.

    xoxo, Jenny

    Reply
  7. Leslie

    Sending lots of prayers as you go into surgery! I’m glad you caught it early but thank you for sharing your story. Melanoma affect a lot of people including my great grandma and my dad. I preach it to my son (he’s 13 and knows everything now) about the importance of using sunscreen. Even my Puerto Rican husband uses sunscreen because melanoma can really get to anyone!

    Reply
  8. Shann

    So scary and such a great reminder. I’ve been putting it off for so long, but I really need to go. Thank you, and I pray for the best for you.

    Reply
  9. Sarah McDonald

    Melanoma scares the heck out of me, I used to love to sit outside in the sun and read but now I don’t take any chances.

    I’m glad you caught it early and best of luck with your surgery!

    Reply
  10. Rachel G

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this–I hope the surgery goes very well for you and that, as far as it can be, it’ll be cured without any complications.

    Reply
  11. Ashleigh

    I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through, however, I’m so happy you found it early!! I also tanned in beds for years, as well as never wore sunscreen (and I was a swimmer!). I fear what lasting consequences I’ve caused myself. I love that you’re bringing awareness to this topic!! I wish you all the best for your up coming surgery and a speedy recovery!!

    Reply
  12. Amanda

    I think a lot of people go through that invincibility stage. Fortunately I did not, but I know too well the dangers of various types of cancer, both from those who have had it and gone into remission and others who have lost the battle. It’s definitely important to take the best care of yourself possible to minimize your risk, and realize that the damage is cumulative. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Reply
  13. Rica@Yoga Mat Monkey

    Wow, I am so sorry but at the same time I think there are some positives here. You have shared this information and perhaps in turn helped others see the importance of taking caution and using proactive measures. Thank you. I wish you all the best.

    Reply
  14. Kerry

    I was an avid tan bed user for many years in high school and college as well. This scares me because I’m also light skinned and blond. I’ll be making a dermatologist appointment soon! Prayers coming your way friend. I’m glad you caught it early.

    Reply
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  16. S

    saying prayers for you!! I’ve been too careless with my tanning as well and Im so scared of the same thing happening to me. thank you for sharing your story and getting the word out on how important it is to be safe and to keep checking on things.

    Reply
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