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Melanoma & Me

Updated on August 30, 2017
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SheilaSchnauzies is a Miniature Schnauzer rescuer, writer, crochet designer, gardener, crafter, wife, mom & friend living in Omaha, NE.

Sheila, Meet Your Uninvited And Very Unwelcome Guest, Melanoma!

At least that's what my morbid sense of humor said to myself after the words, "it turned out to be Melanoma," came out of my amazing plastic surgeon's mouth. I have WHAT? Really? As quickly as I could excuse myself, I walked down the hall to the Ladies' room, where I snapped this photo and tried to maintain my composure so that I could go back in and have the stitches removed.

How exactly, I wondered, does one drive oneself home after hearing the words, "You have skin cancer?" Denial certainly didn't work. I couldn't backspace over the last 30 minutes of my life and pretend it hadn't happened. I knew I would have a lot of coping to do, not to mention a whole lot of medical ordeals I was not looking forward to. So, I decided to hang onto the two positive things my plastic surgeon said. First of all, the cancer was Stage 1, they had caught it as early as early gets, and that was a very good thing.

The second positive thing was that he promised to be there during my required upcoming surgery to reconstruct my face and get me "back to good."

Today, eight weeks later, on May 22, 2013, he kept his promise. "Back to good" will take a lot of healing, as I have a five-inch incision on my face from lower eye to chin. But this doc does truly amazing work, as I have seen in the past when he removed a small basal cell carcinoma under my eye a year ago, and when he first removed the offending birthmark eight weeks ago which turned out to be the Melanoma. So I do have hope for my appearance returning to near-normal.

The cancer surgeon who resected the large area of my face today was also very happy and very confident that he got it all. We will know for sure in a few days when the final pathology report comes in. That's when I will find out if I am required to have further treatment, such as chemo or radiation. I'm really hoping this all ends right here today.

You might wonder why I am sharing this very personal information, not to mention some extremely unflattering photos of myself! In a word... my beautiful daughter, and all the daughters in the world out there who are exposing themselves to danger by tanning, natural or synthetic. When I walked around the hallway corner at home to greet my daughter the next time she came over, I told her, "I want you to see what years of sun damage can do to you." I'll never forget the look on her face when she first saw me, and I hope the message struck a chord. And she had only seen me like this photo, after the first surgery! She hasn't seen me after the one today yet. Now that IS scary.

I'll be completely open about the details of my Melanoma treatment. I'll show unretouched pictures. I'll give the gory details. Why? Because if it makes just one woman or young girl cancel her tanning appointment, or put on that sunscreen, it will be worth it. I never tanned in a salon but i had many severe sunburns both as a child and an adult. And now I am paying the price.

As I get more results and carry on this battle, I will share all of that here.

Please share this with everyone you know, far and wide. Preventing, or recognizing Melanoma could save their life!

Update May 30th!

I just got home from getting my stitches taken out, which feels fabulous! Even more fabulous, I got the pathology report from last week's surgery... I am CANCER FREE!!!!!

Thanks to God, and thanks to my amazing plastic surgeon, Dr. Ronald Hollins, who most likely saved my life by noticing my evil birthmark! I'm very confident that with his mad skills, my scar will become almost invisible someday. I can't quit smiling!!!

5-30-13, Stitches Out!!

5-30-13, Stitches Out!!
5-30-13, Stitches Out!!

Me, At Home Shortly After My 3 Hour Melanoma Resection & Reconstruction Surgery

Me, At Home Shortly After My 3 Hour Melanoma Resection & Reconstruction Surgery
Me, At Home Shortly After My 3 Hour Melanoma Resection & Reconstruction Surgery

Me Just Before The Surgery

Me Just Before The Surgery
Me Just Before The Surgery

Look Ma, No Spot! After The Melanoma Birthmark First Surgery Healed

Look Ma, No Spot! After The Melanoma Birthmark First Surgery Healed
Look Ma, No Spot! After The Melanoma Birthmark First Surgery Healed

Looking tan is just not worth all of this!

Did You Know....

One in five adults will be diagnosed with a type of skin cancer in their lifetime?

A Year Ago... - Basal Cell Carcinoma Removal Surgery

This one scared me badly enough a year ago! I had a Basal Cell Carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, under my right eye.

This year I had a new little spot in the area where it had been removed, and I rushed out to see the plastic surgeon to make sure it was not the cancer again. Thank God I did! He looked at it and said it was just a skin tag and we'd take it off, but he didn't like the looks of the birthmark on my cheek! He wanted to take it off too. That birthmark was the Melanoma. I'd had it all my life and it changed suddenly a few months back, turning darker and changing shape a bit. I put off getting it checked out because I was undergoing a big knee replacement surgery and it was low on my priority list. I wish now it'd been higher.

Here's a photo of me the night of the Basal Cell Carcinoma removal. It was no picnic, either. The surgery took over an hour and I was awake for the whole thing.

The Basal Cell Stitches Slowly Healed... It Took Weeks.

The Basal Cell Stitches Slowly Healed... It Took Weeks.
The Basal Cell Stitches Slowly Healed... It Took Weeks.

What Do YOU Say? - This Is A Controversial Topic... What Do You Think?

Should Tanning Beds Be Banned, At Least For Minors?

Me, In 2012 Before All This Happened... See That Birthmark On My Cheek

Me, In 2012 Before All This Happened... See That Birthmark On My Cheek
Me, In 2012 Before All This Happened... See That Birthmark On My Cheek

One Of My Prior Sunburns in 2002. I Hated Sunscreen, Hats, And Glasses!

One Of My Prior Sunburns in 2002. I Hated Sunscreen, Hats, And Glasses!
One Of My Prior Sunburns in 2002. I Hated Sunscreen, Hats, And Glasses!

Melanoma On YouTube

About Your Author...

Welcome! I'm SheilaSchnauzies. I'm a writer, crochet designer, Miniature Schnauzer rescuer, (hence the Schnauzies name!) jewelry designer, gardener, wife, mother and friend living in Omaha, Nebraska. I've crocheted since I was about 11, and I've been designing for over 20 years now. My for-sale patterns and Squidoo lenses support the needs of my Miniature Schnauzer rescue dogs. We operate as Sheila's Schnauzies, a nonprofit organization and currently have three furkids here. We all appreciate your support!

Please Share Your Thoughts In My Guestbook!

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    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @SusanAston: Thank you so much, I appreciate that!

    • SusanAston profile image

      SusanAston 4 years ago

      Very moving lens - wishing you well.

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      tahirmahmood 4 years ago

      good lens

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @EpicFarms: Thanks so very much! Hope you are doing well.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @artbyrodriguez: Thanks very much!

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 4 years ago from Albany New York

      Powerful lens! Thank you for sharing and congrats on being in the top 200 lenses.

    • EpicFarms profile image

      EpicFarms 4 years ago

      Congratulations on being cancer free Sheila! I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 - my first mammogram (and remember the emotional wallop quite well ;o) Congrats on being selected for the Bravo list, too. Very well done lens!

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @RinchenChodron: Thanks - could you fill me in on where that list is please??

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      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      Congrats on being selected for the 200 top lenses.

    • Cinnamonbite profile image

      Cinnamonbite 4 years ago

      "...the cancer was Stage 1, they had caught it as early as early gets..." actually, mine was in situ, which IS the earliest stage. Also, "That's when I will find out if I am required to have further treatment, such as chemo or radiation." Um, melanoma doesn't respond to chemo or radiation. There is a new treatment that works on 5% of patients and a new experimental thing that's about as good, but chemo and radiation are just used to help in late stages, for pain, not for a cure. Plus, so many people discover after a year or two that their in situ or stage 1 has come back and now they're down to just a few weeks of life. You know how much I'm worried about the scar? Not. One. Bit. I've got other worries to think about.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @Scott A McCray: Yes I would! Hey, appreciate the hugs and prayers!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Stopping back to whisper a prayer...

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 4 years ago

      SquidHugs and prayers. (my captcha word is hopeful...appropriate, wouldn't you say?)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Cynthia Haltom: I am pretty sure I have some forms of cancer right now from years of eating horrible food and smoking.. I have quit smoking and am eating better..Many experts agree cancer lives in us all... it is only a matter of time and other factors that tumors develop... Unfortunately, our American lifestyle is generally not very healthy.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @SheilaSchnauzies: I think that makes sense.. diversity of opinions is what makes for good discussion. It is often hard to let one's self hear an opposing or radical view.. I think we all have to work on this in many aspects of communication... thank you for sharing it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: The FDA does not exist to protect anyone.. although they must maintain the appearance of doing so.. ( I guess in some small aspects they do..).. There are a spectrum of opinions and I like the phrase "Don't fall for "consensus reality".. , however , to each his own and perhaps a little more enlightenment for us all!

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @anonymous: I'm publishing this comment in the interest of fairness and sharing opinions, although I may or may not agree with it.

    • mcstacy profile image

      mcstacy 4 years ago

      It's a good thing your doctor caught it in the early stages. Hope you a speedy recovery...wishing the best of health.

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 4 years ago

      That's so brave of you. Sundae ;-)

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @jasonrasset: I appreciate this comment, although I would never forego prescribed medical treatment myself. I believe that good antioxidant foods and fresh fruits/veggies are important, and I agree with a lot of naturopathic and holistic medicine. However, I believe all of these should be an adjunct to my medical treatment, not a replacement for it.

    • profile image

      jasonrasset 4 years ago

      @Fit And Fab: I agree with your points and also wanted to mention that my first indication of the possiblity of curing melanoma through diet was when I stumbled on some books about a Macrobiotic diet ... there were many cases of Melanoma patients in full recovery after following this diet and health plan..

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      jasonrasset 4 years ago

      I'm glad you're melanoma is in early stages. I highly agree with the comments by FitandFAb I don't think that excessive burning is good for anyone... but I don't think sun exposure in limited doses is bad but rather good... and as far as Chemo and Radiation go , in my opinion that is what killed my Dad.. not the Melanoma.. He could have lived longer had he adopted a healthier diet and refused the surgery that caused it to spread throughout his body..Natural medicine is a better alternative at least to start with.. .why suffer from the side effects of Chemo, when you can go for long walks and eat Fresh natural food and try many different types of alternative therapies?

    • Fit And Fab profile image

      Fit And Fab 4 years ago

      You must be pleased that the doctors were able to remove scarring from your face. I have to say that I recommend you research more on the subject of cancer and the sun. While it is not healthy to get sunburnt, the sun is also important for Vit D. I am allergic to sunscreen so I apply pure coconut oil when out along with a hat. The Australian summers ARE hot. We are taught these days to fear the sun and I do not believe that is right. I have seen cancer treated through a 100% raw food diet and I also recommend for you to look into that for yourself Sheila. I am sorry you have had to go through this. Your body is giving you the signs that you need healing. Now would be a good time. I wish you well in your journey and hope my information has helped. Also google "reversing the irreversible". You can email me if needed. Take care.

    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 4 years ago

      People often don't appreciate their health enough. I hope all of those people who sunbath see this lens and learn about melanoma.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @Elyn MacInnis: Thanks very much for the tip! I will check into that.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @KarenHC: Please... make him get it checked!!! What I didn't understand, and most people don't know, is that melanoma spots can grow VERTICALLY, downward into the sub-layers of the skin and beyond. We can only see what's going on at the surface. That is a scary thought.

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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @erickaregy: Sorry for my lateness in replying. Isn't it just the truth, as you so eloquently expressed, that we are never happy with whatever color God gave us! All colors of skin are beautiful in their own way. I'm guilty of experimenting a lot with my hair color over the years, for the same reason! Thanks again for a beautiful post.

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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @betsuzlap: Sorry for my tardiness in replying, but I just wanted to thank you for sharing this with everyone! It is SO important for everyone to be aware of! Thanks again.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @anonymous: Elspeth, my friend, thank you so much for your kind words! Our health is indeed a precious gift that is so easily taken for granted. Best to you my dear, and thanks for stopping by!

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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @anonymous: Tipi... you know how much I respect you as a person and Giant Squid... at least I hope you do... you have moved me to tears with your beautiful post. I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. This is such a vicious, insidious disease. Even if they tell you you're ok, it can still pop up anywhere in your body even years later... that's why the constant monitoring once you're diagnosed. I don't know how your dad was, but I know my husband and most guys I know would rather do about anything rather than go to a doctor to have something checked! I think we women, perhaps being more image conscious, have the better chance of catching things early. My best regards to you for a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and lovely memories of your dad. Best, -Sheila

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      There is no way to backspace and I can't imagine being able to see to drive home. I've had a hard time seeing here with the release of tears you've given me...its like yesterday that Dad moved on to heaven after losing his battle of melanoma almost 29 years ago, and it seems fitting that I found your story on Memorial weekend. I am grateful for your personal story and telling it like it is....no tan is worth it. We were told that there is no such thing as a healthy tan. You are a woman of courage and you have very graciously shared your story, may many receive strong encouragement from you. Congratulations on LotD honors.

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      I really hope this makes people think twice about tanning beds, and sunburn. Wishing you all the best.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      You are a totally phenomenal woman, Sheila!

      I am always reminded of how truly precious our health is...

    • Blonde Blythe profile image

      Blonde Blythe 4 years ago

      Interesting and very helpful lens. Makes me glad I don't get in the sun or tanning bed.

    • profile image

      mhiweb 4 years ago

      thanks for the sharing experience....great info

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I knew that melanoma incidence had increased but I had no idea how much. Those statistics truly are frightening. I wish you all the best in your fight against this illness.

    • Meganhere profile image

      Meganhere 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this important information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing - time for me to make an appointment with my dermatologist!

    • Pat Broker profile image

      Pat Broker 4 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Thank you for sharing! I wish there were more people like you willing to share their experience.

    • eilval profile image

      Eileen 4 years ago from Western Cape , South Africa

      Great information !Thanks for being so candid and sharing your experience .

    • eilval profile image

      Eileen 4 years ago from Western Cape , South Africa

      Great information !Thanks for being so candid and sharing your experience .

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I've been through this a few times, I think it's helpful for people to know, and helpful to see the after results of a survivor. Thank you for writing this.

    • gadifi lm profile image

      gadifi lm 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your experience to all of us, very important information

    • betsuzlap profile image

      betsuzlap 4 years ago

      This was an excellent article! Thank you for posting this. I will share with everyone! My mother had a melanoma on her arm and had to have the same surgery you had on your face. She and I both wear sunscreen everyday now. I keep close watch on my moles and always look for changes.

    • RogerBonger profile image

      RogerBonger 4 years ago

      Thank you for posting this. These dangers need to be front and center for people to have a reality check.

    • arditayu profile image

      arditayu 4 years ago

      Thank you very much for sharing so useful experience with us.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      Precious information. Thanks for sharing!

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      soaringsis 4 years ago

      You are very brave to be able to share and very thoughtful to try to make others aware of the dangers.

      Congratulations on your LoTD.

    • donjohnsonis lm profile image

      donjohnsonis lm 4 years ago

      Very informative, you are very brave.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Hairdresser007: Tell them at the END of the appointment!

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image

      CrazyHomemaker 4 years ago

      Thank you very much for bringing this to the attention of the world. You have done the world a great service today. Best wishes to you. You deserve LOTD today!

    • HalloweenRecipes profile image

      HalloweenRecipes 4 years ago

      Great story, great pictures, this is something that certainly needs to be in the headlines. I am a redhead with lots of freckles so I learned the dangers of the sun many many years ago the painful way ... with lots of sunburn and blisters. It got to the point where I never went out to the beach during the day. I believe it's good to tan and expose yourself to the sun, but as with all things, in moderation. Congrats on LoTD and best of luck to you!

    • Sharon Weaver profile image

      Sharon Weaver 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      It isn't easy when you are told that you have cancer. Be healthy and take care of yourself. I look forward to your upcoming cancer free anniversary.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 4 years ago

      Thank you for having the courage and forthright in sharing your personal story in hopes of warning others of the dangers of melanoma. Awareness is so important!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 4 years ago from Connecticut

      My brother-in-law passed away from melanoma, and it is distressing to learn how common this horrible disease has become -- and how simple steps such as sunscreen and limiting exposure can help to reduce the risk. Congratulations on beating this disease, and stay strong!

    • NoYouAreNot profile image

      NoYouAreNot 4 years ago

      I sometimes worry too about old sunburns.

      And I worry a lot about my daughter, who likes tanning. I'll definitely, DEFINITELY show her your page. Thank you. You did a very, very right thing by exposing the "ugly" truth here.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 4 years ago

      I know it's hard to share these personal photos and the story of your illness. You've been very generous and have perhaps saved some young -- or not so young -- girl from future grief.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Thanks for the information and the warnings!

    • RaintreeAnnie profile image

      RaintreeAnnie 4 years ago from UK

      We need to be much more aware of the dangers... Thank you for sharing your story it cannot have been easy but hopefully it will help to raise awareness. Sharing this... Congratulations on a well deserved LOTD and hugs to you.

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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @ChrisLdn: Wow, you are so young to have gone through this already! You certainly look beautiful with your fair skin! Thanks so much for your nice comment.

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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @paperfacets: I so hope that you are right about the tanning craze. And thanks for your kind words... I know I don't look nice right now but I'm really hoping for a good result in a few weeks! My plastic surgeon is truly gifted.

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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @SteveKaye: Thank you Steve! I really appreciate your support! And I'm glad you're wearing that hat, because we need to have you around for a very long time taking those beautiful bird photos we love so much!

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @anonymous: Thanks so very much for sharing this lens! I can only hope that many people around the world will benefit from reading it in some small way.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for putting yourself out there. I feel this will help many people. I will share this link with others. When you get right down to it: that's what these platforms are about: helping people one person at a time. You never know the effect you have on people. We are all connected and this lens shows it well. Congratulations on being LOTD.

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 4 years ago

      Thank you for allowing us to learn from your experience, which must have been difficult to share. I am so glad you are on the mend!! :)

    • tanyakandralyan profile image

      tanyakandralyan 4 years ago

      Happy recovery, Sheila! Hope all goes well. :)

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      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      When I was a kid, everyone talked about having a "healthy tan." That myth is total nonsense. Sun damage can cause major problems, such as skin cancer, in a person's later years. You'll notice that I'm wearing a hat in my photo. It's a high SPF hat that protects me from the sun when I'm out taking photos.

      Thank you for publishing this lens. Congratulations on receiving the LOTD.

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      Sherry Venegas 4 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Thanks for writing about this experience. The after pictures look very nice. Tanning is a fashion statement, but it will be less so every generation. I actually think a tan does Not look good. Before, in my youth, that was not the case. More young people are not falling for the tanning mystique.

    • ChrisLdn profile image

      ChrisLdn 4 years ago

      I 100% agree that tanning is not worth it at all. I wrote briefly about my experience with skin cancer in one of my lenses. I've had three moles/birthmarks removed: one was cancer and two were pre-cancerous. That happened all before I even left high school, so I have many years of taking care of my skin ahead of me. I have a friend who frequents tanning booths; some people don't realize what they could be doing to themselves. And to be honest, I kind of like my fair skin and don't want to tan anyway :). Congratulations on Lens of the Day!

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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @ConnieGreen LM: Connie, I hope you are doing very well in your recovery!

    • Louis Wery profile image

      Louis Wery 4 years ago from Sarasota, Florida USA

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I live in sunny Florida so I very much appreciate the reminders about taking care in the sun. Best wishes to you for a full recovery.

    • ConnieGreen LM profile image

      ConnieGreen LM 4 years ago

      Just had my first bout with melanoma, so this lens is important and timely for me.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @Adrienne Jenkins: He has not so far, other than putting a prescription antibiotic topical on the incision. I have sold and used Beauticontrol skincare my entire life and since it is dermatologist tested, I've always had a lot of confidence in it. I'll ask him about it tho when I get my stitches removed next week! I have already decided to write a lens that will be a daily journal about this Melanoma battle, and another one on the whole scarring aspect. So yes, please do check back! Thanks for your support.

    • Adrienne Jenkins profile image

      Adrienne Jenkins 4 years ago

      I just find out recently that this runs in my family. Did the doctor recommend any skin care products? If so, please add them to your lens or write another one. Please. I'll keep checking in. Thanks for taking the time to share your story.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very important lens. Certainly something everyone should read. Congratulations on getting LotD!

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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @Craftypicks: Your post gave me the cold chills... WOW, your sister was touched by an angel I think!! How fortunate she is! I have a beautiful 26 year old daughter and I am SO angry with myself that I allowed her to tan for her prom in high school... by doing so I validated that it was ok. She did it for years. I'll never forgive myself for that. I have talked to her and carried on about it, but the look on her face when she saw me after the first minor surgery two months ago told me she got the message - this is REAL.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @LUMOSE: Thanks so much! I admit I don't feel very beautiful right now. But I have a lot of faith in this plastic surgeon's work!

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      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @happynutritionist: Thanks so much for your good wishes, I appreciate it!

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 4 years ago

      It is new info to me that a birthmark is actually a mole...appreciate all the information. I have fair skin and always use care spending time in the sun...just enough, not too much. My husband has had basal cell cancer removed from his face years ago, we are both fair and keep a good lookout on our skin, and visit the dermatologist almost yearly for a check. Thanks for sharing this and I wish you the best. Congrats on the LOTD

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      What a terrible experience, I hope your recovery continues. Thumbs up to you for having the courage to share your story.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 4 years ago from Kansas

      Great lens about your personal journey with melanoma. I think it is wonderful that you are sharing your story for others to see the effects of too much sun. God bless you.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I'm so thankful you shared this! I have a friend with melanoma and she's had several surgeries on her legs with the characteristic long, deep incisions. So far, so good for her otherwise. She grew up on the beach and she's very fair-skinned. This is such a timely Lens of the Day, important for people to read as the weather gets nice and the sun heats up. Blessings to you, Sheila, for a good report and no more surgeries necessary in your future!

    • profile image

      Dianeyp LM 4 years ago

      WOW, thanks so much for documenting your ordeal to help warn others of the dangers. My brother also had Melanoma and he did not have a single mole on his body, his showed up as a unhealed cut, like a paper cut type thing that simply wouldn't heal. So, all skin changes should be looked at. Thanks for a fantastic lens and I hope you recover quickly.

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story. And congrats on the LOTD!

    • profile image

      LUMOSE 4 years ago

      You are beautiful! Good luck for your recovery!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      Great advice! Congratulations on LotD!

    • erickaregy profile image

      erickaregy 4 years ago

      Hello Sheila, I am Ericka from Indonesia Thank you for sharing this with us. I have just heard about melanoma and feel sorry to hear that, Hope you will get well soon. Well this the opposite trend in this world, People in tropical weather want their skin become fairy, and in the other continent they want their skin getting tan.

      In my country a lot of women even men spend a lot of money for whitening cream. It's so weird when you meet people with fairy skin on their face, but darker in other part.

      For high class community they visit dermatologist to have special treatment with lot of cream in order to have fairy skin. But for low class community they buy "unidentified" whitening cream which could be harmful for their skin... what a funny world we live in.. People forgot to thanks God of what we have.

      What you wrote is very helpful and open our eyes that sun can be good but also bad for our skin. So keep everything in balance and thankful spirit is the best one :)

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 4 years ago from U.S.

      This is a very sobering article that's well-worth reading for all of us. My husband has a spot on his cheek that's been getting darker, and I really want him to go get it checked, especially after reading about your experience.

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      Linda F Correa 4 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      I live in Florida and am very fair. I am never without my sunglasses and sun protector. This is great info. Hope it helps a lot of people

    • Dabdab profile image

      Dabdab 4 years ago

      Thank you for this lens - a wonderfully honest account that could really help inform people.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      I'm thankful you caught the cancer early and that your surgeries were successful. I also appreciate your candid approach to helping others by sharing the realities of such a journey. Blessings to you.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes, I think this is very unique and well written informational lens. The flow of every information is just absolutely good. All the personal photos of yours that start from AFTER then BEFORE, made me read all what's in it, 'cos I'm interested to know how you look like before you have melanoma. I think this will informed a lot of people how important it is to protect ourselves. I think your experience, being shared here is an effective way to educate people about melanoma.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I understand that at the Riordan Clinic and other clinics around the US a lot of people are having good success with intravenous vitamin C clearing up their cancer. Melanoma is one of the kinds of cancer that responds to this treatment. If you type "intravenous vitamin c treatment" into google you will find them. It's wonderful that you got this page up and running. Thank you, for many people will find encouragement here.

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      imagelist lm 4 years ago

      Great lens with valuable info...

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      Maria Burgess 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Great lens, Sheila! This has been enlightening and very informative. I can't imagine what you have been through but it took a lot of courage to share this experience with us. (I like the fact that I practically glow in the dark I am so pale but it is worth it not to have this kind of problem!) I know that melanoma can be the most dangerous of cancers and it spreads quickly if left unattended! Congrats on your LoTD feature and purple star!

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      MythYes 4 years ago

      Great lens. You wrote it so well that I can almost feel you :)

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      Lori Green 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      My sister was wearing an open back shirt on a train when a man came up to her a whispered to her. "I am a doctor and I hope you don't mind, but you have a mole on your back that I don't think you know about. You need to have it looked at". By the time she turned around he was gone. It was melanoma. I too have had skin cancer but a lower grade. I don't go out in the sun at all now. I would kill my kids if I caught them sun bathing.

    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 4 years ago from Burbank, CA

      Great information. I have a question. As a hairdresser I was trained once on how to tell if a mole looks weird. So sometimes I see a mole or birthmark on someone's scalp. If it looks odd I tell them to go see their doctor. The only problem is they then freak out for the rest of the appointment. Any tips on how to tell someone to just have a look without freaking them out?

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      Gaby81 4 years ago

      Thank you very much for this. People really don`t know how the sun can be sneaky. I am more pale skin, an I am not afraid if people look at me like a was closed for entire year underground. That`s me, I know I will never be so tanned like other women, but I stopped worrying many years ago for the color of my skin. Thanks for the great lens.