GET CHECKED...STAY HEALTHY

by Christina


A few months back, I headed into my Dermatologists office for my yearly skin cancer screening. I am pretty on top of it when it comes to getting checked regularly and was quite surprised to find that my doctor wanted to get a few moles that looked questionable biopsied. Fast forward to this September, I headed back to NY to visit family and get the procedure taken care of (many of my doc's are in my hometown of NY...I have yet to switch) Thinking the procedure itself would be fairly painless and pretty quick, I went in to the hospital expecting to be in and out, with no pain or recovery time. I mean, it was just a "mole removal" after all....

An hour later, The procedure along with the local anesthetic had taken a toll on me, I was shivering profusely and in quite a good amount of discomfort. I had 4 moles removed on all areas of my body including my breasts, toe and lower back. I could not walk due to the numbing around my foot, which led to my 5'1 petite mother just about carrying me out of the hospital into the car....quite hilarious. Once the anesthetic wore off, the pain set in and didn't stop until about a week later.

Biopsy results came back and I learned that more skin had to be taken out where one of the moles had been removed. The next day, I found myself in the procedure room yet again. The doctor took out a significant "chunk" of skin on my left breast. Luckily, I had went to a plastic surgeon so the scar is very discrete and is healing up nicely.

The recovery has been quite annoying....I still am not able to excersize, lift heavy objects, nor can I wear any of my fabulous fall closed toe shoes (damn!!) I truly had no idea such a simply procedure could turn into such a nightmare yet I am beyond thankful it was caught early on before it developed further. Skin cancer is a topic that is not to be taken lightly. I decided to share my experience to raise awareness and bring attention to the matter. One little mole which you think may be fine can turn out to be not what you expected. In my case, the mole that was the smallest and least threatening looking was the one that turned out to have pre cancerous cells. Here's a few basics to highlight that everyone should take into account:

*Get checked, once a year minimally. If you do not have health insurance, check out the website listed  below for a list of doctors in your area that provide complimentary skin cancer screenings.

*SPF ALWAYS, or simply stay out of the sun

*Tanning beds are not your friend, especially 10 years later after use when all that lovely pigmentation and pre cancerous moles come through your skin.

*Mole removals may not be pretty, but necessary. If your doc suggest you get something removed...do it. Do not chance it.

For more information, please visit http://www.skincancer.org/