Kirissa's story | aad.org

Kirissa's story

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Last year, in August 2011, my boyfriend told me that one of what I thought to be my "cute freckles" seemed a bit abnormal and that I should have my doctor look at it. Only so he'd get off my back about it, I brought it up to my doctor. She said it was probably nothing to worry about, but she wanted to remove it just to be sure. It was a simple slice off the top layer of my skin, and I only had a small scab. Later that week, my doctor called me into her office to explain that I had melanoma and she wanted me to have more of the surrounding skin removed.

I was completely taken aback from the reality and seriousness of the situation. I thought melanoma was something that happened to more mature individuals; I was but 23.

I am a redhead, porcelain skinned, lightly freckled, and can't even comprehend the meaning of being tan; I burn. My childhood summers consisted of slathering on sunscreen, and then using aloe vera after getting sunburned anyways. This was usually caused by swimming. However, that was the only time I remember my skin getting so much exposure, when I was in a swimsuit).

I loved my jeans, and to this day — rain or shine — I am more of a jeans girl. Over the years I learned to embrace my porcelain skin and how to avoid sunburns, and not that I am against them, but never showed too much interest in indoor tanning or using self-tanners either. Even so, I managed to get melanoma. The spot was located on my upper right thigh, a place that never had sun or tanning bed exposure.

I thought melanoma was something that happened to more mature individuals; I was but 23.

All I know is that environmental toxins can affect anyone, sometimes no matter the precautions. Like second hand smoke to a non-smoker.

Now, at 24, I put in a lot of devotion to keeping up with my skin. I also am an Arbonne consultant, and feel it is my duty to teach others about the amazing benefits of using skin care and cosmetic products combined with SPF; and how important it is to protect our skin from harmful environmental damage, as well as being cautious of the ingredients within the products being put in and on one’s body.

I think that it is smart to dedicate a day that focuses on self-examinations for melanoma skin cancer spots, teaching people what to look for and ways to go about preventing it. I also agree that teaching younger generations about the importance of taking care of your skin should be just as mandatory as teaching about abstinence, birth control, and STDs within the health care classes in our public schools.

I appreciate all who took the effort to participate on Melanoma Monday, May 7, 2012. I'd also like to mention the Sun Smart Skin Safe bracelet, I found on the www.melanomamonday.com website.

These are special silicone bracelets that start out white in color, but change to blue when exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun. This way, you can have a fun visual reminder to protect your and your family’s skin all the time. And the fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down. These bracelet glows in the dark, too!

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