So…I’m reporting back with an update from my dermatology visit back in July in hopes that it encourages you to get your skin checked annually if you don’t, or to go see your doctor if something feels off to you.
Earlier this summer I decided to make an appointment (outside of my annual skin check) to have my doctor take a look at a small, flat itchy freckle on my back. While she wasn’t too concerned about it, my doctor suggested we remove it just for peace of mind, and while I was already there she wanted to take off 2 additional spots — one on my tummy and one on my leg. Y’all know I am all about cutting/removing parts of my body that give me concern so off they went!
I tried not to think about it too much but in full transparency, I was kind of freaking out while waiting for the biopsy results to come back from the lab. I just had a really bad, sinking feeling that all my years of tanning beds and sunbathing in baby oil in the Florida sun were going to finally catch up to me.
Finally, after 10 excruciating days, I received the call from my doctor’s office. The spots on my back and tummy were clear. But unfortunately, the TINY freckle on my leg was in fact skin cancer — specifically melanoma.
The good news is that we caught it early enough that it had not grown deeper than the top layer of the skin (the epidermis) and thankfully could be treated with a quick outpatient surgery. While this is truly the best-case scenario for melanoma, just hearing the word “cancer” is extremely triggering for me and I had some pretty bad days leading up to the procedure.
If you’re a newer follower: Cancer runs rampant in my family — especially breast cancer. I have lost both of my parents at very young ages to it (my birth mom, Caroline, at age 30 and my dad at 62 after a grueling battle). Because of the long history of breast cancer in my family, I had a prophylactic double mastectomy in 2015 shortly after having Thomas. So I tend to sweat when I hear the 6-letter “c” word.
Anyway, I had my surgery a little more than two weeks ago and was relieved to receive the call earlier this week informing me that the path report is ALL CLEAR! So no further treatment is necessary and I’ll be seen every 3 months for skin checks for the rest of my life (totally fine by me). The hole in my leg is healing nicely and I am just SO grateful that all is well and I can stop working on my folder with all my passwords for Matt.
Again, I share this scare because I really wavered on whether to make an appointment or just wait another 6 months for my next annual skin check. I don’t know if/how things would be different if I waited and I just want to encourage you to MAKE THE APPOINTMENT if you are on the fence about getting something checked out AND to schedule your annual skin check if you don’t already do this. Skin checks take 15 minutes and if you’re local to Charlotte I will gladly share the information for my amazing dermatologist with you.
Oh and WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN — daily. My dermatologist recommends this one from Supergoop!
I’m so, so happy to hear that all is clear! Melanoma runs in my family so I’ve been getting annual checks since I was in high school and have had countless biopsies. I love that you are using your story to encourage people to get checked. <3
Thank you for always sharing! If you help only one person, it will be worth it. I always say early detection is best. Glad everything is okay now.
Peyton Cline says
So happy you got the all clear, even though the time leading up to that was filled with stress and dread. I had melanoma at 22 after many years in the tanning bed, and it was a wake up call that even though we are young, we are not invincible!!!!
Glad all is okay!
I have lots of freckles and get a yearly check too. I have had a few spots of interest removed but thankfully nothing untoward.
My dermatologist recommends wearing long sleeved rashies to the beach/pool or when in bathers. A hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and not going out into the sun in the hottest part of the day. Also watching the UV index.
In Australia the school kids all have to wear hats at school in months with a R in them (so from September-April)
I feel mums should get a day a year (KIDFREE) to go and get these health checks: Skin check, lady business (such as pap smears), breast checks, blood tests, and any other tests needed.
Toni :0) says
Wow, so glad to hear all is okay for you as well! Once I’m back mobile again, I’ll be scheduling a skin check as it’s been on my to do list. Take good care and thank you for the reminder. 💜
It’s funny you wrote this today! I had my annual skin check in May but recently felt a bump on the top of my head and went in again this morning. I always think to myself – ugh is this a hassle and yet another medical bill? Yes. But the peace of mind and/or early detection is WORTH IT. Thankfully my head bump is normal and no big deal but I don’t ever want to look back and be like I should have just made that dumb appointment!!
I’m so glad you got checked and caught it early! <3 This is a great reminder for us all, thank you. Wish I could go back in time and stay out of the tanning bed myself, ugh!
Becca Buncie says
I’m so glad to hear you’re ok. I lost my dad to metastatic melanoma in 2020. It scares me to death so I’m vigilant about skin checks. I try to get everyone I know signed up.
So so glad everything is looking OK for you! Thank you for the reminder – I just saw a little spot on my husband’s shoulder that I thought he should get checked, but unfortunately he will never schedule and go to an appointment without my making it happen. I am re-resolved to get it done, though. Eeeek.
It must be fate I came onto your blog to see what was new and saw this post. I had a Stage 1 melanoma removed in February and am getting 3 monthly checks, just got results of 6mth check up and have to have another excision of a dysplastic nevus (that can turn into melanoma). Whilst I never used tanning beds, I loved to sunbake and the Australian sun is brutal. What’s another scar right when it means we don’t have cancer? Glad yours was found early and your leg is healing nicely.
I’m here in charlotte and would love to know what dermatologist you recommend!