It’s been nearly 18 months since my leg was sliced open to chop out a potentially very aggressive melanoma.
I say potentially, because I really don’t know.
Despite me noticing that freckle changing from something that had always been there to something that looked very different.
Despite my surgeon wanting to cut it out within 24 hours of my first appointment with him.
And despite my surgeon telling me he didn’t want to wait until he returned from holiday three weeks later – “let’s just not risk it”.
Luckily for my sanity he told me on my second appointment (about three weeks after the op) that he didn’t want to risk it because my melanoma could have morphed from stage 2 to stage 4 over that three week period.
Stage 4 is terminal.
Terminal means death. And usually fairly quickly. Probably within a year.
That still freaks me out, nearly 18 months later.
Why am I writing this I hear you ask.
Well today I had my three-monthly check up with my surgeon (it was two-monthly for the first year). And, thankfully, all was clear. No nasty surprises. Thank God.
While he was feeling around my scar he (again) commented on how good it looked (it does), and how the dent in my leg was still obvious (it is – he cut out quite a chunk!), and how it might always been obvious.
He sounded quite apologetic.
However I told him that I don’t care about the scar. And I really don’t care about the dent. I look at them many times a day (top of my left thigh, 10cm scar, it’s hard to miss!), and I am so grateful for both that dent and that scar as they just remind me how bloody lucky I was that it was only a stage 2 melanoma and that I am alive and healthy.
I hope that scar never fades, because it is such a constant reminder to be grateful for the gift of life and the chance I have been given to do so much more with it.
So please do me a favour and check your skin. Know your body. Keep an eye out for anything that doesn’t seem right. Go with your gut feeling if it’s saying something is wrong. See your GP. Don’t muck around.
Melanoma kills a lot of people every year – 1,500 Australians a year to be precise.
I have no moles, I have no history of skin cancer – or any cancer – in my immediate family. And you don’t have to for melanoma to strike.
See your GP regularly and ask her/him to do a regular skin check. Yeah it might be embarrassing to strip down to your knickers, but seriously, it could save your life.
You can read my original post here.
When was the last time you saw your GP? If it’s been more than a year, make an appointment and just go.
Thank you. xx