I was on vacation in June 2011 with my girlfriend, a nurse at a hospital in New York City. She did not like a spot that was on my stomach. I describe it as a young child drawing a circle and coloring outside of the lines. When we got home from vacation we made an appointment with a well-respected dermatologist in New York City. The dermatologist removed the spot from my stomach.
A week later, I received the call. At age 24, I was told that the biopsy revealed I had a very thin melanoma on my body. Most people do not understand the magnitude of melanoma. However, after just having lost my aunt at age 45 to melanoma, I was well aware of the consequences of not catching melanoma early enough.
At 24 years old, the thought that you may have cancer is a lot to handle, but it is a lot easier having great doctors, family, and friends who are there to support you.
I was lucky enough to have had the melanoma removed at .4 mm. In layman's terms, that is almost as early as you can catch it. After hearing the news, I contacted a dermatologic surgeon. He performed a procedure to ensure that none of the skin tissue around the area was affected by the melanoma. After two weeks of the waiting game, I received a call telling me the good news. I was one of the lucky ones.
Every day I thank God for the good fortune I had to have gone to the doctor early enough. I now go to the dermatologist every three months. Although I was lucky enough to not have to go through the rigors that many cancer patients go through, it has been a long road to mentally recover. At 24 years old, the thought that you may have cancer is a lot to handle, but it is a lot easier having great doctors, family, and friends who are there to support you.