Five years ago on December 30th, I had a dermatologist appointment to check on a new mole that had showed up. I was losing sleep over it leading up to the appointment.
Let me tell you about it. It was black and small and didn’t look like any of my other moles. It was tiny no bigger than a pen dot but it was dark. The location was on my abdomen. So here I am at the doctors’ office and during his observation of the mole he tells me it’s absolutely nothing and not to worry about it. I have a lot of them. That didn’t sit right with me and I requested he remove it. He advised me that if he removed it that I would have a scar the size of a dime. I said I don’t care I would rather that then not know so he removed the mole at my request and off I went home thinking I was fine. I was a preschool teacher at the time and my classroom phone rang 22 hours later. Low and behold it was Melanoma. I needed to have general surgery to have the margins on the area removed to check.
I was lucky it was stage “0” also known as in Situ Melanoma. In Stage 0 Melanoma, the malignant tumor is still confined to the upper layers of the skin (epidermis). That means that the cancer cells are only in the outer layer of the skin and have not grown any deeper. I am extremely fortunate to have listened to my “inner me” and advocated for myself to have it removed. Got a second opinion on everything else at the same office and they looked at me told me I was fine. So I just couldn’t live with the fact I was fine. I then called Dana Farber & began seeing Dr. Jennifer Lin in the Melanoma Center who rested all my worries. She studied every mole on my body with a tiny lighted magnifying glass. Dr. Lin found I had a few more moles that warranted removal. She removed them and she educated me completely about my different patterns, there are multiple.
I can now say that I’ve been under Dr. Lin’s care for the last 5 years and I am so grateful for her care, kindness and thorough check-ups! She puts my mind at ease and I rest assure that she knows what she is doing. Therefore, my way of celebrating 5 years of no new growth, I have chosen to give back to Dana Farber as they are top notch in my book and have brought peace to my mind.
Guest Post by Kelli Tower