A few weeks ago I got an email from a friend about a young mother who had been diagnosed with Melanoma at 29 years old. I played the video while sitting at my desk and was shocked when I recognized her. (She is married to a guy I went to college with) It made it much more real to me to recognize the woman fighting this battle. She has 2 young children and is fighting this disease with every ounce of her being. After watching her video I called my dermatologist right away.
View Heather's Video Here
I think sometimes we know what we should do but we are afraid to because we could learn something about ourselves that we don't want to know, because it could turn our life upside down. The friend who shared the video had no idea that I would recognize Heather, she only sent it to me because she knew I tanned in a tanning bed. God was speaking directly to me that morning and telling me to make an appointment, quit ignoring the spot I've had for over a year that I've been worried about. He was telling me to quit wasting money on a monthly tanning package & to find other ways to make myself "feel pretty".
There have been other times in my life that I knew God was sending me signs, I just chose to ignore them. I wasn't going to ignore this sign. I've grown so much in my faith that I've really tried to quit "ignoring" God when I know He is trying to teach me something.
I went to the dermatologist last week and showed him numerous spots on my right leg that I've been bothered by, they were just things he could burn off, so he did. Then I told him about a spot under my right breast that sometimes will blister, bleed and itch after tanning. He took one look at it and said "I'm not comfortable with this, I want to remove it today". Ok, I'm NOT good with doctors usually. I was laying there on the table with every ounce of strength I could find praying to God saying "thank you for bringing me here, if this is something then I've caught it in time, You'll never give me something I can't handle, etc."
He performed a biopsy and told me it looked like basal cell. Well, that terrified me. He said with basal cell carcinoma a lot of times UV light makes it act up, which were my symptoms. I was thinking to myself it was only a short while ago that Heather was in this same position, "hoping" her spot was nothing. That appointment changed her life forever. I told him the reason I came in, that I'd seen a video that scared me and he said "Well, are you done?" I said "with what?", he said "tanning in a tanning bed? Have you had a big enough scare yet?" I told him I've promised myself that no amount of tanning is worth skin cancer and YES I am done tanning in a tanning bed... for good.
I never want to be in that position again. I laid there during the biopsy thinking to myself "Seriously Amy, you are here because you think that tanning makes you prettier, thinner, etc....." NO tanning doesn't do those things, instead it made me a terrified 28 year old wife wishing I'd never started tanning way back in high school.
I got my results two days ago and it was not cancer. It was benign Warty Dyskeratoma and the only treatment needed was to have it removed, which he did with the biopsy. I just have to get my stiches out tomorrow & then I'm ok! Warty Dyskeratoma is usually found in older men- age 50-70, so I have NO idea how I got this but it's gone and that's all that matters.
I got good news. But, not everyone does. If we don't learn from the people who God chooses to fight these battles then we will never learn & cancer will continue to be the diagnosis. Heather's story has changed my attitude on tanning. I will NEVER go back to a tanning bed. I will spray tan and have the peace of mind that I'm not making myself a petri dish for skin cancer. We must change the way we think about our bodies. Tanning, Makeup, expensive clothes, etc. do not make up the amazing person we are... it's the goodness on the inside that counts.
I encourage EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU to make an appointment with a dermatologist. I had him look over my entire body. You cannot be too safe. If I can bring awareness to one person, who will pass it on to another, then Heather's fight is making a difference. I pray for Heather and her journey and if you could add her in your prayers today will you please? I am so sorry that God chose her to fight Melanoma, but I am thankful that she is bringing awareness to the severity of Melanoma and trying to save others along the way.
If you would like to visit Heather's blog click here.