Having Melanoma is definitely something that I never thought would happen to me. I used to skip those articles in the magazines warning young girls about the dangers of too much sun exposure and UV radiation from tanning beds. That didn’t pertain to me, I thought. I wanted to be tan year round, and typically got that golden glow from weekly visits to the tanning salon.
As a child I used to get a sunburn a couple times each summer. I remember the pain of having my sensitive skin touch my sheets when going to bed. We didn’t realize the dangers of getting sunburned so badly, especially at such a young age.
I also had never been to a dermatologist. My moles looked perfectly fine to me! I could think of so many other ways to spend my money and my time. But then I went for my first visit, shortly after my 31st birthday. I was having a minor acne issue that I couldn’t clear up on my own. When making my appointment I figured while I was there I may as well get a skin check. The Doctor saw a suspicious mole on my inner left calve. I guess it looked a bit strange, I remember thinking. It was asymmetrical and two toned. Sure enough my results showed melanoma. He said if I had waited any longer to get the mole removed it would have been so much worse for me.
About 6 months later, I had another. I go to the dermatologist often now to make sure all my moles look okay. I am also so much more educated about the dangers of too much sun exposure and all the ways I can protect myself. I hope people can learn from my story and know a tan isn’t worth risking your health.