One woman recently found out that an unusual pimple was in fact melanoma upon visiting her doctor. She took her story immediately to Facebook, imploring followers to get moles and lumps checked by a doctor.
Even worse, according to a report by the Daily Mail, delaying getting a mole, pimple, or bump tested can increase one’s risk of dying from skin cancer up to six times.
According to the Daily Mail, many women are missing the chance to identify their melanomas early because of the different shapes the malignant growths can take. While the traditional view is to identify dark moles that are usually uneven, increase in size, or have rough edges, there are also nodular melanomas that appear red, which makes it easy for individuals and even medical professionals to mistake them for pimples or skin tags, according to the Mail.
At the age of 15, a pimple appeared on the side of my face, soon turning into a mole. After having it checked by a dermatologist, I was told it was okay but could have it removed if i wanted too, being scared of how she said she would remove it, i quickly declined and forgot about it.
Roll forward to 2015.. My mole is now actually quite big, Not realizing at the time just how big it had gotten, i made the decision to finally get it removed. I was catching it a lot. From brushing my hair to removing a top.
So, on the 27th August 2015, 3 days after returning from our family holiday to Benidorm where my now fiance Paul, proposed to me, i had a simple procedure to remove my mole. 20 Mins in and out.
So I was back to happily enjoying our engagement, my birthday in a weeks time. Which unfortunately was the date of my stitches removed. My birthday came, my stitches came out and Paul had bought me a surprise weekend away to Amsterdam. Little did i know, my stitches had been removed too early, my scar would burst open whist in Amsterdam leaving me with a open circle wound and no one wanting to help as it could only be touched by the surgeon who did it.
We managed to keep it covered whist away and as soon as we stepped foot of the plane, we were in our hospital waiting to be seen, thankfully i was able to get it stitched back up and everything was ok.
A few weeks had past and now were on 3rd October, My results day.. Now because all moles get sent off for a biopsy, I wasn’t scared, I even planned to go back to work an hour later.
He told me there that the mole was cancerous and I had stage two melanoma but because of the size and thickness they had removed the mole but my skin around it still needed to be removed too as there was a 95% the cancer could be there too or if not quickly develop there. One word-Devastation. Sorry was he talking about me? Surely there’s something not right.. me? My world crumbled around me, being told the word cancer isnt easy, its the one word everyone is scared of. For the next 10 mins i couldn’t hear what he was saying, i could see him, he was talking at me but my ears were only hearing silence. Its a moment in my life i will never be able to forget.
Thankfully Paul had 21 questioned him, his arms wrapped around me as i sat there completely in my own bubble, sobbing like a baby.It was a complete shock to the both of us. There is nothing that can prepare you.
Its only later i was able to understand they always take more skin anyway as a precaution but I’ve have had to have 3cm diameter removed.. Doesn’t sound a lot but when it’s on a small face… It’s a lot!
Once again because of being stage 2 I’ve had to have a sentinel lymph node biopsy to check if the cancer has spread.
This is where Radioactive fluid is injected into the area, (mine being 4 injections into my scar from my first procedure) and laying down in a machine where it takes pictures with a special camera that shows where the primary lymph nodes drain too. All very fascinating.
My Lymph nodes where then marked, Kind of like a x marks the spot so that whist having my skin surgery they could remove the nodes at the same time, making the operation more serious and longer but better in the long run.
My surgery was a success and i awoke, groggy, in pain and very, very tight to the lovely faces of my family and fiance. At that moment i was too out of it to know what had happened to my face but my family had been told that they were able to pull my skin back together, there was no need for a skin graft, but my wound was yes, longer but very neat. My scar runs from a few cm of the top of my ear down to my throat and a little round my ear. I’ve basically had a face lift on one side.
I then had the agonizing wait for my lymph node biopsy results, taking each day as it came, trying to deal with the physical changes in my appearance and coming to terms with everything that had happened in such a short period of time.
On the 25th November 2015, I, with my fiance and mum besides me, We were told that the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and I was now, Stage 3.. Once again my world had been turned upside down, I found myself sat there again questioning myself, can this be happening? We were so sure i was going to get the all clear. I felt numb, watching the look on their faces, i felt sick. Stage 3? I cant be stage 3.. One word-Heartbroken.
I have now had CT and MRI scans which they did to rule out that the cancer isn’t already spreading to the brain or lungs etc, they use these as future reference too when it comes to my 3 monthly checks..
On the 15th of December i had another operation called a lymph node dissection where they removed all my lymph nodes on my neck, on the left hand side.
It was a bigger op and once again i have another big scar, on my throat and behind my ear where they did a U shape flap to operate under.
I had to have a drain in for 5 days to drain the fluid out- doing the job of my lymph nodes. Until the toxins find another lymph gland to drain too.
I was discharged a couple of days earlier as i basically begged them to let me home. so was discharged on the Sunday which was the 20th, just in time for some Christmas time healing before the big day.
I’m in quite a lot of pain, and cant actually describe how tight it feels, its like having someones hand round your neck 24/7. -Not nice.
I had my stitches removed on Christmas eve along with some physio as there was damage to my left arm, not being able to lift. They said this was normal as some of the tendons have been damaged. I’ve had a lot of nerve damage in my left side too, they said they have been able to save my important ones there just numb so will return in time. But I’ve lost movement in the left side of my mouth which isn’t fun whist trying to eat, talk or smile. Will have to ask about that if it doesn’t start coming back.
I have my results appointment for January 13th, So keeping everything crossed til then.
These next few weeks are going to be emotional and hard but I’m not giving up, I know I’ll beat cancer!
My advice to anyone worried is just simple, GO AND GET IT CHECKED, I’ve heard so many people say oh it’s nothing there busy…
No! It’s there job and it’s your body..
Looking back I knew something wasn’t right, I wasn’t well.. I was always fatigued, fatigued not tired. There’s a difference, when I got home from work all I did was sleep because I had no energy. There’s little bits that now I’ve thought about, made sense.
I don’t want to scare anyone that’s not my point but this is cancer. I’m a lucky one.. I found mine early, Left any longer, had i not of chosen to get it removed, it doesn’t bear thinking of.
As i said, this page is to help spread awareness, im 25, Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for young people 15-29 years old.17 -(skincancer.org)