Melissa’s personal story
I was born and raised in Dulac, Louisiana, a little town that was always full of sunshine. As a kid in middle school, it was cool to put cooking oil on our bodies and sunbath on our black house roof. By the time I hit high school, tanning beds was the next big thing. I purchased unlimited tanning packages to get the darkest tan I could so I looked great on the runway. Little did I know this would soon catch up with me.
In college I noticed a mole on my chest that kept changing but just kept ignoring it. When I graduated college and got my dream job I finally went to the doctor because I had health insurance. Days later, I received the worst Christmas gift ever. I received a call from my dermatologist that I had melanoma on my chest and leg, and would have to go to surgery immediately.
Each spot removed was the size of a baseball. I also had to get lymph nodes taken out. It's been years and sometimes I still feel the pain. I am a survivor! I have learned to stop and smell the flowers and appreciate the little things in life. I have realized that I should not take my life for granted because all it takes is one strong ray to take everything away. I wear sunblock everyday rain or shine and long sleeves for extra protection. I have not owned a pair of shorts for years and don't plan on taking that chance ever again. My message to all young ladies is to be comfortable in your own skin and protect it like a precious treasure!