Carol’s personal story
I grew up in Las Vegas and was a swimmer before I could walk. I spent most days in the outdoor pool and never used sunscreen because I never got a sun burn, so I didn't think I needed to. I have always had a lot of moles but I never thought about getting skin cancer, because I thought it happened to people who frequently got sunburns. Then a friend's comment on a picture changed my life.
I had noticed a mole on my forehead, that I have had as long as I can remember, starting to get darker but it wasn't growing that big and looked "normal." I finally made the choice to go get it checked out when a friend saw a picture of me and asked if I had always had that mole on my forehead. Then looking at the picture closer, it had looked like someone took a black marker and drew it on my face. So the next day I called the doctor and made an appointment.
It took three doctor visits before I finally got referred to see the dermatologist. When I saw the dermatologist he said right away that we should remove it and have it biopsied. Three weeks later I got the call saying that I had stage II melanoma and I was going to need a sentinel lymph node biopsy. I am a military spouse stationed overseas so we were flown back to the States to have the surgery. I got lymph nodes removed from my cheek and neck which have left me with a nice scar and some numbness still along my jaw line.
The results came back negative and all the margins were clear which is fantastic news. It has been a little over a year and I have had five more moles removed, and thus far four have come back negative with one result awaiting. Not a day goes by that I don't think about melanoma because you can say it is "written" on my face.