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Mary’s personal story

Mary Lujan
I’m “that girl!” The girl who begged her mom to sign a permission slip so she could use the tanning bed at 16. I’m the girl who would proclaim that “tan fat looks better than white fat” as she would hop into the tanning bed before heading out on summer vacation. I’m the runner who trains and runs half marathons without a hat or sunscreen. I’m also that girl who never thought skin cancer would happen to her.

So when I was told that I had basal and squamous cell skin cancer on my nose, I was shocked to say the least. I didn’t even have a spot that I thought looked suspicious! I noticed a bump on my nose that I thought was a pimple. Since that spot is sensitive, I decided to wait a few days before trying to pop it.

Two days later, it was as if it self-exploded, and it bled a lot! Three weeks later, I went to the doctor because I still had a scab and any time that scab would come off, the wound would continue to bleed.

Before I knew it, I had a dime-sized hole in my nose, and I was talking to a plastic surgeon about the procedure to pull a vein from my forehead to feed a skin flap that would be placed on my nose. I would have two surgeries within a month. One to create the forehead flap that would remain in place for three weeks. The other surgery would be to fix all the damage they were about to create.

Every doctor I saw during this process reassured me that it was “just basal cell.” Those words, “just basal cell” led me to create a Facebook live video showing off an up-close look at my forehead flap because “just basal cell” sure did mess up my face.

Soon I was receiving messages from all over the country from people who went through the exact same procedure. People who didn’t leave their house for three weeks because of the way they looked. People who felt all alone during their entire process. They told me that my story brought them comfort and that they admired me for being brave. I didn’t put my story out there because I was brave. I put my story out there because I was loved. I was loved by so many people that I didn’t know I should hide out. I was showered with the type of love that pulls you out of a dark valley and places you high on the mountain top…where you’ll be sure to #wearsunscreen!

Read more of Mary's story.