You had to know that I’d be starting off the month of May with a topic that is very near and dear to me. May is Melanoma Awareness Month. What does that mean? It means that you are going to pay attention to every single new or changed spot on your body. If anything looks suspicious, you are going to go the dermatologist to have it looked at. Many facilities have FREE skin checks during the month of May. Take advantage of the opportunities in your area. Just do an Internet search to see what hospitals or facilities are participating in your area.
My mom had a suspicious spot on her genitals. She didn’t think much of it at first. The spot seemed to go away and then reappeared. It began to concern her. She made an appointment with her gynecologist who thought the spot looked “like something” and sent her to a surgeon to have it removed. I was with her for that first surgery in September of 2009. Several months later her general practitioner saw the pathology report from the surgery and was very alarmed. The report said that she had melanoma. She then started to see a melanoma specialist. She basically had precautionary radiation treatments since none of her lymph nodes were involved. Months later she did have lymph node involvement in several nodes in her groin. Again, they did surgery to remove the nodes and did another round of radiation. Months later she had melanoma on the outer wall of her stomach removed. This time she had intense Interferon treatments for 30 days. As the cancer spread she was now eligible for an FDA newly approved drug called Yervoy. She had to endure the side effects. The cancer eventually spread to her spleen, liver, stomach wall, pelvic wall, lungs and eventually her brain. The doctors told her after 3 years of fighting and more treatments with terrible side effects that there was nothing else they could do. She passed away peacefully on November 4th, 2012.
Why am I telling you these details?? Because I want YOU to know that melanoma is NOT something that anyone should take lightly. It is not always just a spot or mole on your skin. It can spread to every single organ in your body. There is currently no cure. There is a lot of research going on and several hopeful clinical trials for new treatments. I am always preaching to everyone to wear sunscreen. Now you know why. Until you’ve known someone who has been affected by this awful cancer, you have no real idea of what melanoma really is. I don’t want anybody else to find out the way that I did. Wear your sunscreen. Do those monthly skin checks at home. Get your skin checked by a dermatologist annually. Go in to see the doctor if you have any new or changing moles. It can save your life!! Prevention and early detection are SO important!
This weekend I will be walking in the Dallas, Texas AIM at Melanoma Walk for a Cure. This is a walk to raise awareness of Melanoma and raise funds for research. I am proud to say that my mom is one of the honorees for this year’s walk. I am adding the link to my fundraising page if you would like to make a donation.
Stacie, thanks for sharing your Mom’s story and spreading this important message.
Big hugs, Lisa
(Makeup Obsessed Canadian Mom!)
MAKEUP OBSESSED MOM says
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post. Have a fabulous weekend! Stacie xo
What a great post! I find it so interesting that the first spot was on her genitals, I am so glad you have brought that to everyone’s attention. I would never have thought about Melanoma showing up there.
I also want to say thank you for all the wonderful cards and gift cards Tiara received because of you! She loved opening them all and one came with a butterfly streamer that we hung over her bed in the hospital. Thank you, Stacie!
Your mom is a beautiful woman. I too have had skin cancer. I am in my 30’s and I know what it can do to your body. I am a die hard sun screen wearer now and I preach this to my own daughter in hopes that she will never have to go through this. My cancer started in the scalp of my head and it was a small black dot that I ignored for years…my mother finally made me go to the Dr. and what they thought would just be a simple procedure ended up with me having to have a 2″ x 3″ section of my scalp down to my skull removed to make sure they got it all…I was left with a 2″ x 1″ scar on top of my head that I have to creatively party my hair to hide…so it’s also important to wear a hat if you are going to be in the sun! Keep up the great work of helping people be aware of the importance of protecting yourself from the sun!! Best of luck on your walk!! xoxo Brandie
Stacie, thank you for sharing this info! I just had my husband go to check out some suspicious spots & sure enough had to have one biopsied– still waiting on results.Your parents like mine were together for a long time! I’m so sorry for your mom’s loss! xo Sammie
Sandra (mamacita) says
Stacie, I am so sorry that your sweet mother went through this horrible disease and that you have lost your mother from it. Thank you for helping spread the awareness of this cancer. I had a close call last year and am wearing my sunscreen. I want to watch my boys grow up and become men and fathers. Wishing you some needed comfort as Mother’s Day approaches.