** Update August 2017 **
Unfortunately the Melanoma has returned. My worst fear.... A routine PET scan showed up a lesion in a muscle in my back. Further scans also show lesions in my liver. Now more than ever I am determined to beat this disease!!
In September 2001 I had a mole removed from my knee. Three days later I received a phone call from my GP that changed my whole life - it was a Melanoma. On my 28th birthday that year I was in hospital having a wide excision and the lymph nodes in my groin removed. It wasn't a very happy birthday that year.
My baby girl was only a few months old. I was a single parent and the thought of not being here for her scared me. I didn't know what I was up against. When I saw my surgeon for a follow up he suggested I see an Oncologist. I remember thinking - "What??? Do I have Cancer??" I sat in his office with my baby in her pram and cried. There was next to no information about Melanoma back then. I felt so lost.
Fortunately the Melanoma hadn't spread to my lymph nodes. I was so lucky! But the depth that it had reached made it possible that it was in my blood stream.
Fast forward 16 years later. Regular skin checks and so many moles removed I can't remember. The Melanoma was back. After all that time dormant in my system, it had set up shop in my lung. I had no symptoms, apart from being tired, but I'm always tired. It was picked up by chance on a CT scan and I thank my lucky stars it was discovered then and not months or years later when it could have spread through my entire body.
I had surgery to remove the aggressive tumour in May 2017. Currently I'm not on any active treatment, just watch and wait. Wait....that scares me. Wait.....for it to come back. But if it does, I'm in the best possible position to fight it. Thanks to my amazing GP and the Doctors at the Melanoma Institute of Australia.
If by participating in this fundraiser I can help to make people aware of Melanoma and how preventable it can be, if I can save one person from living in fear like I am, it will be worth it. If I can raise some funds for research into new treatments and trials, then it will be even better.
Zero deaths from Melanoma!!