A Mom's Story
My mothers first battle with melanoma was in 2005. She had a small spot on her neck, below her left ear. It was melanoma. It was removed and the doctors gave her a clean bill of health. Fast forward to 2010, the melanoma was back, in the same spot, but larger and more aggressive. Despite that, the doctors removed it, and once again gave her a clean bill of health, this was in May. At the end of September, I received a call that my mom had been taken to the hospital for difficulty breathing. I grabbed my two little girls, 2 and 4 at the time and headed up to see her. By the time I got to the hospital the doctor was talking to my mom, they had run tests and the melanoma was back and had spread. It was in her lungs, liver, kidneys, and brain. We were told she had two to four weeks left, she died two weeks later on Oct. 5, 2010. She was 56 years old.
If its one thing I have taken from this, is that I will never let my children succumb to the peer pressure to be tan that I did and my mother did when she was young. My mom often told me stories of when she was a teenager and how she would put baby oil on and lie out in the sun, this was in the 60's-70's, I guess they didn't know any better. I often went tanning as a teenager and never once thought anything of it. Now, if I could go back, knowing what I do, I wouldn't care how pale my skin was. My two girls, who are fair skinned, freckled, blue eyed and red haired, know they never go outside without sun protection. We lather on the sunscreen, wear our long sleeved rash guards and still enjoy ourselves. I have even taken them with me to each and every skin check I have had, I want them to be comfortable with it, as one day they will need to go themselves.
Every once in a while my four year old will ask me why my mommy had to die. My simple answer to her is, she didn't have to. If only she wouldn't have cared that she was pale, if only years ago sun screen usage would have been encouraged, if only she would have known the damage it could cause, she would not have had to die.