9th July – My Girl’s 23rd birthday! As I type this I have just learned that this cruel disease has taken a young mother and left behind a broken hearted father with an 18th month old baby. This disease does not discriminate and there is no room from complacency. At the end of the day it doesn’t seem to matter how deep your MM is. You can present with a 1mm which, on paper, should mean a grade 1 cancer but upon further investigation, which they don’t actually do for <1mm it can already have spread and you can be graded 4, on
the other hand you can have a very deep aggressive MM and upon investigation discover it is in situ and end up being grade 2 due to the size of it or 2b if it is ulcerated etc. There is no timeline and absolutely nothing predictable about this cancer. There is a high rate of recurrence and the best advice for it to be caught on time, yet how can this be so when even the tiniest can spread causing death, the biggest can stay in situ and other people are grade 4 and still living. As one of my consultants said to me with this type of cancer a grade is just a number and means nothing. Because everyone acts differently unless a patient is very far advanced there is no actual timeline. It is a cruel disease, affects all ages, and doesn’t seem to matter if you’ve never been sunburned or used sun beds, although doing both puts you at higher risk, yet babies are being born with it and people are being diagnosed with secondaries with no primaries being found. I am finding it very hard to get my brain around it. Here is a young mother gone, last month a newlywed husband passed, a very ill teenage boy is being given a very special treat by friends today, others are struggling on, in and out for check-ups constantly playing the waiting game for biopsy results of yet another questionable lump, bump, mole etc. being removed.
Does it, will it ever go away? Sadly the answer is no. Once you have this you have a life sentence waiting for the next one and hoping, like me, it will not have spread. God this sounds depressing, it is, however I do not apologise for writing it if, hopefully, it makes just one person self-aware of any changes on their skin. It is not meant to terrify just to educate. So check yourself regularly and wear high sun protection factor 365 days a year. Reapply every 90 minutes.
Believe me you do not want to be where I and other melanoma survivors are!