Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Until recently I thought I had taken adequate steps to ensure my protection from the sun. About five years ago I started getting annual skin checks from my dermatologist and committed to wearing long sleeves, pants, hat, and buff while on the water. I thought if I took these precautions that all would be well and I would have nothing to worry about, but I was wrong.
On my latest visit with my dermatologist she took a small biopsy from a very non threatening, very ordinary looking mole. I had expressed a mild concern for the mole to my doctor, I felt that maybe it had grown a little but it didn't seem to have the classic signs and symptoms of melanoma. It wasn't raised, dark colored, rough in texture, or asymmetrical. I just had a weird gut feeling that it had changed and my doctor took a biopsy to be on the safe side.
I've had about 20 suspect moles biopsied in the past 5 years and so far every time I would receive a call from a nurse explaining that my mole was normal and no further action was required. After my latest biopsy however I knew it was good when my doctor herself called to deliver the results. She told me that the biopsy came back as melanoma and that we would need to schedule a time soon to get it cut out. I realize that melanoma can be common among outdoor enthusiast and that it's a risk we take for our passions, but this diagnosis was a little more personal to me.
By the grace of God my melanoma was caught very early and able to be treated by excision only without anything further. My procedure is now over, my stitches are out, and my wound is healing nicely. I am more vigilant than ever about protecting myself and I am more conscious about my exposure time and how much of my skin is exposed. My friends, no one is immune to harmful UV rays and annual skin checks can very well save your life.