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Lesley’s personal story

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I was a sun goddess, who still recalls my grandfather saying to me, "Let's get brown as a berry." It was the beginning of June and I was soaking up some early summer rays the day before my visit to the dermatologist. I lathered on my 30 SPF sunscreen and rotated my body in my beach chair as the day progressed. I knew that the sun wasn't good for me, but thought I could still soak it up as long as I had sunscreen on.

The day of my appointment, the doctor began scanning my body as she periodically asked me questions about my sun safety. She then got to my back, and saw a small red-like pimple, and said, "I need to biopsy this right away."

Panic started to set in as she explained that she was almost 100% positive that I had basal cell carcinoma. I left the office that day feeling scared, angry, and worried. I kept asking myself questions like, "When did I get this? Did I get a bad sunburn? Why me, I'm only 35?”

Right then, I knew that perhaps some of my tanning booth days could have caused this, or my study abroad adventure in Australia where skin cancer is at its highest.

Sure enough, my doctor called me a week later to confirm that it was basal cell carcinoma. After that phone call, I did my research on Mohs surgeons and quickly made my appointment because I knew that I wanted it removed ASAP.

Within a month, I was seen by a Mohs surgeon to have the basal cell removed. After the surgery, I was in some discomfort for a few days, and my scar continues to heal today.

This experience has been a huge wake-up call for myself. I still say to myself, "I never thought it would be me.” I no longer sit out in the sun to get "as brown as a berry." I still enjoy being outdoors, but seek the shade, lather up, and stay covered up!