The date was February 14, 2015. Valentine's Day. I was drying off after a morning shower. I noticed this new mole on my upper back. It looked exactly like the one in the above picture. I immediately knew what it was. Melanoma.
The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship defines being a survivor as anyone who has been diagnosed with any form of Cancer from the date of diagnosis until their death. I consider today as my anniversary of survivorship. Four years.
In years one and two I was obsessed about Melanoma. Every piece of dry skin was a re-occurrence. Every change in my body sent me running to the doctor. An accidental sunburn made me beat myself up for a week. I'm a lot better now. Much more rational. I do check for new moles on a regular basis. I try to keep out of the sun as much as possible. I make sure I see my Dermatologist twice a year. But, I don't think about Melanoma every day. That's a good thing.
There are days, though when it becomes front and center in my brain. This is one of those days.
Survivorship isn't easy. You're grateful you're still here, had such an easy time with the treatment and why there hasn't been a sign of the disease returning. At the same time you're wondering why you instead of some other people. Why did my friend have to go through more than a dozen surgeries plus other procedures and it still wasn't enough to save her life? Why did a Vanderbilt football player recently die of Melanoma at only twenty-one years old? TWENTY-ONE!!! Yes, survivorship has a lot of questions. It has a lot of whys.
By tomorrow, all of this will be out of my head. It'll come back in May when we're bombarded with Melanoma Awareness Month. But today, I'll be thankful for all the good things in my life. I'll be thankful that the Cancer is gone. I'll be thankful for medical advances that makes curing Melanoma possible. I'll also be thinking of others who weren't nearly as lucky.
Happy anniversary. I look forward to day number 1,462.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.