The Truth About Skin Cancer [An Update on Mom]

Mom with our oldest, Ethan, back in his baby days

 

Mom with our oldest, Ethan, back in his baby days
Mom with our oldest, Ethan, back in his baby days

 

In the past month, I’ve recently asked for prayers for mom because she’s undergoing quite a time with her health. She was recently diagnosed with Melanoma skin cancer, and at first, the dermatologist really thought nothing of the place on her skin that was being inspected. When it came back as Melanoma, it devastated my mom and she definitely went through a real shock phase as docs were now dealing with her as a cancer patient.

Save for a few years of her life, mom has always been a tanner. As a teen, she used to lay out in the sun – and I heard her recently talk about how she had gotten very badly burned one year while at the beach. She’s actually burned her skin many times over the years, and never thought too much about it. When she was in her 40’s, dad bought her a tanning bed as a gift, and she would use it frequently to get the sun kissed, bronze glow. Because so many people tan on a regular basis, no one ever thought too much of it.

Today, she still has the tanning bed and is trying to find a way to dispose of it safely so that no one else has even a remote chance of going through half the pain she has endured with this skin cancer scare. Some people think that she is loopy for not selling it at least to someone else and try to make some decent side money. I stood there and watched mom explain with deep conviction and tears in her eyes that there is no way on Earth she could knowingly take money for this machine that has a high chance of causing someone else to go through a similar experience as she. She has stated many times over that this is easily the worst pain of her life.

With her first surgery, she has several deep incisions that are still healing. One long vertical one on her back over her right shoulder blade, one long horizontal one under her right armpit, and another somewhat shorter one on her right collarbone. As mentioned previously, the doc saw that the cancer was worse than he originally thought pre-surgery. Before making that statement, he put her cancer at Stage 2C. As of right now, we’re not sure if that information is the same or has changed. When she came out of the last surgery, the doc told my mom that because of the severity of the situation, he needs to turn around and do another surgery within 4 weeks. This time, the surgery will be twice as intense, taking at least 8 hours to be done. Depending on how much cancer he finds in this next surgery, which is tomorrow – by the way, will determine the next course of actions for mom. She will need to be in the hospital for a few days following this time. As you’re going throughout your day tomorrow, please remember this post and please pray again for my mom.

So what’s the truth about skin cancer? I never realized how important sun safety was until this moment. So, so many people have talked to me privately and told me they have had similar scares with moles and skin cancer, but none turned out to be cancer. I’m not sure why we aren’t talking about this in a more public manner – because people need to know the truth. If you burn your skin, you are majorly increasing your risk for Melanoma. The best thing you can do is wear protective clothing and definitely a good sun block when you’re going to be outside for a while, even on cloudy days. You still need the sun for natural Vitamin D. 15 minutes a day, sans sunblock will give you all the D you need without harmful burning. But if you will be outdoors for longer than 20-30 minutes, your skin needs to be protected. I implore everyone to read this site about the ABCDEs of skin cancer and definitely get any moles checked out annually by a dermatologist. With everything going on with mom, I had a full skin check done by a wonderful derma in Charlotte, and ended up needing 2 biopsies. I kid you not, I had a near panic attack in the doc’s office because of how emotional this whole experience has been for everyone. My mom went with me that day as moral support and I was so thankful she was there. Mine ended up coming back as Dysplastic Nevi, and the doc wants to be proactive in having these removed because of my family’s history. So – make an appointment and get checked out!

The amount of people who have called, emailed and texted me to say they are sending positive vibes and praying lots for mom is wonderful and encouraging, and I tell her about it each and every time. She is always, always appreciative! Please continue to pray for her healing and for a smooth operation tomorrow!

<3

 

 

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4 thoughts on “The Truth About Skin Cancer [An Update on Mom]

  1. Hi Amber,

    I came over after seeing your post on Instagram as I too feel so much passion about skin cancer – so many people have no idea of how serious those long afternoons on the beach, or that one lobster sunburn can be. Hang in there tomorrow. I have everything crossed for your mom, and for you.

    I can honestly say, I do understand the fear you are both going through – I’ve been there, though was much luckier that everything was caught and the second surgery wasn’t as long or invasive as your mom’s. Bravo to your mom for not wanting to sell that machine.

    Sending seriously positive thoughts for you both ahead of tomorrow. C.

    1. Thanks for writing. I have been very shocked to see just how many people aren’t fully aware of the actual dangers of tanning and burning. Hoping to get info out there to people to help prevent this same situation elsewhere. Thank you for your positive thoughts!

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