I was sitting on my couch while my son was at preschool. Just W-A-I-T-I-N-G for a call to tell me everything was “ok”. Anxiously hoping to hear my biopsy, taken a few days before, was non-cancerous.
Before the Call:
Let’s back up to 2005. I graduated from the Esthiology program at the Aveda Institute Minneapolis. Earning my esthetician’s license, which is the theory, practice and study of skin care, I began practicing right away. I successfully assessed and treated skin for a living and would look for irregular spots or moles on my clients in my daily practice. Whenever an unusual spot or mole was noticed, I would urge them to see a dermatologist.
Growing up on the lakes of Minnesota, I remember having my fair share of sunburns as a child. Tanning salons were glamorized during my high school years and so was getting a “base” tan before vacation. Sun damage was the furthest thing from my mind.
When I Noticed a Change:
In 2012, I noticed a mole on my left thigh had started to change. I hesitated to go in and get it checked out by my doctor, for fear of what it may be. Ironically, I was great at educating clients and giving advice, but not great at following my own recommendation.
Fast forward to 2015 when I held the title of Mrs. Minnesota United States and was asked to throw out the first pitch at a St. Paul Saints game. During the game, Dermatology Consultants offered me a generous sponsorship, to which I was instructed to schedule a routine skin exam before proceeding with next steps.
Confronting My Fear:
My moment of truth came. It was time for a trained eye, a board-certified dermatologist, to look at the mole I had worried about for over for 3 years. I was surprised at how calm my dermatologist was and how comfortable everyone at the clinic made me feel. It was a warm, inviting, friendly environment. I felt safe and heard.
The biopsy only took a few minutes and to my surprise, did not hurt at all. The hardest part was waiting for results.
The day had come. I received the call. I did, in fact, have melanoma. Luckily for me, the melanoma was still a stage 0 and contained in the epidermis. After my initial biopsy, I required one surgery, Mohs micrographic surgery, to clear margins and make sure all the cancerous cells were gone. I have no doubt in my mind, the “chance” meeting at the baseball game with the Dermatology Consultants, saved my life.
I was one of the lucky ones. I remember taking a Bible study on the book of Daniel and how God will either deliver us FROM the fire, THROUGH the fire or BY the fire. Thankfully, I was delivered THROUGH this fire. I feel it’s my duty and mission to share my story and to educate others on early skin cancer detection and sun safe practices. I want to prevent others from experiencing a phone call like the one I did.
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