As a few of you might know, May is Melanoma Awareness Month. I didn’t realize this until I was personally diagnosed with Melanoma unexpectedly, early May 2021. See those 2 moles below, 1 is a melanoma mole and 1 is not. But how do you know which is which? Keep reading friends.
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My Melanoma Mole Story
I am one of those girls who is covered with little moles and freckles. I never thought much of it, as they have been there all my life. However, about 3 years ago, I noticed a mole just above my left breast starting to change. I mentioned it to a couple of friends and, of course, my mom (who told me to immediately have it checked out) and I moved on.
Fast forward a couple of years and I find myself at the dermatologist for bad rosacea on my face. While there for a follow-up appointment I ask the doctor to look at the mole. She tells me it doesn’t look right and removes it for a biopsy right then. 1 week later I find myself in surgery having that Melanoma Mole removed from my chest. It was a gnarly 1 hour + long surgery where the doctor removed 2.5” from my chest.
This melanoma mole that had been with me for years and never itched, never hurt, I had no idea cancer was growing there! And think with me a moment, what if I would have gone in 3 years ago when I noticed the mole starting to change? It might not have developed into melanoma and it could have been prevented. Melanoma is preventable! But flip that coin, what if I wouldn’t have asked the doctor to look that day? What if the mole would have been in the middle of my back where I can’t see? Melanoma could have taken my life!
So, my big ask of you is…GO GET YOUR SKIN CHECKED EVERY YEAR! Please, take the time to make that appointment. Melanoma can be preventable and a basic, quick check-up is all it takes!
So, heads up, I’m a Christian. So, I think and write from that perspective. I don’t believe in coincidences; I believe in ordained authority and protection from God.
Just a couple of weeks before I even went to the dermatologist, I was one of a select few who was invited to tour a state-of-the-art, San Antonio TX – Alamo Ranch Emergency Room – The Emergency Center. They invited me to their facility and showed me around. The staff is wonderful. The facility is awesome. And they boast a fully equipped center that is open 24/7 that is fully staff with board-certified emergency physicians. They have a take-out, in-house pharmacy, on-site labs, ultrasound, x-rays, CT scans, and much more. They literally can send you home with 3 days’ worth of prescriptions so there is no gap in your care.
Y’all, hospitals, and ERs are nothing new for me. I have broken my arms multiple times. I have had multiple kidney issues. And I have had babies, had surgeries, and much more. So, I am quite picky when it comes to emergency rooms. And I walked away so impressed with The Emergency Centers in Alamo Ranch.
Quick story, the first time I had kidney stones, I was 21-year-old and had no idea what was going on. Literally curled in a ball at work in pain. I mustered up my strength, got in the car, and drove to the closest ER where they literally had to UNLOCK the door to let me in because someone forgot to. Then they took me to a room where they apologized as they brushed crumbs and food off the bed. Then they inform me that nobody is there, but that nurse and they need to “find me help”. I finally convinced them to give me pain meds. After the meds kick in they inform me I need to arrange transportation to a hospital because I can’t drive – this means I need to hire an ambulance. I AM FREAKING 21 YEARS OLD, SCARED OUT OF MY WIT THAT I’M DYING AND THEY ARE TELLING ME TO HIRE TRANSPORTATION!
Unfortunately, this is just one of my many crazy stories. Just 4 years ago I broke my arm so bad it was shattered in multiple places and the hospital ER was too busy for me so I was transferred to a pediatric ER where they stabilized me so I could get back to Texas for surgery. So, when I say, I know a great facility, trust me, I know!
Melanoma Mole Facts: From the Emergency Centers Alamo Ranch
So, I received the Melanoma diagnosis a couple of weeks later and I am in shock. I know nothing about melanoma. What additional skin care would be wise? What to look for? Just everything! So, I reach out to the Alamo ranch emergency room and ask for help. And help they did! I got to hop on a call with Dr. Erdner and chat and I learned sooooo much. I peppered him with questions, and he patiently answered and offered guidance. Here are some big takeaways that I want to share with you:
Rashguard swimsuits with UPF 50+ are the best option! Sunscreen can offer the same protection, but we must keep reapplying it every 1.5 hours and that is hard to do. So, make sure to purchase swimwear with a strong UPF, and remember to reapply your sunscreen for best results!
There is no such thing as a safe tanning bed. Just don’t do it!
Melanoma can be genetic, but it is very rare. Melanoma comes from the sun. Teaching your kids good habits and living them out yourself is the best way to avoid melanoma.
Avoiding the sun and protecting your skin from the sun will also help prevent wrinkles, so it is a win-win. And remember the Sun + Alcohol = Dehydration and Forgetfulness. Summer is almost here and having a plan of action in place to make sure you take the right steps to protect your skin in advance will help prevent slip-ups later. Here are a couple of the swimsuits I ordered as Step 1 to protecting my skin from the sun.
UPF 50+ Swimsuits
Click the swimsuits below to shop them!
You know the phrase, I wish I knew then, what I know now. There is a whole country song about it, but it’s true. If this beach girl (I grew up in a small beach town) would have done things differently back then, things would be different right now. So please take the time to protect the kiddos in your life. I’m officially going to be “that mom” at our neighborhood pool spraying sunscreen on everyone’s kids and I’m OK with it.
Thank you to the Best emergency room Alamo Ranch
A huge thank you to The Emergency Centers Alamo Ranch and to Dr. Erdner for taking the time to educate me on Melanoma and for giving me permission to share our chat with you all. Seriously friends, if you live anywhere near their Alamo Ranch Pkwy facilities, it is the place to go to be completely cared for! I couldn’t recommend them any higher.