The shock. The confusion. The questions. Why me? How did this happen? What should I have done differently? How bad is it? How many more surgeries do I have? What are the scars going to look like? Will I ever be able to live normally again? And then one life changing question from my husband.
I spent the seconds, days and months after my diagnosis in a bubble. No one could say the right thing. Nothing made sense and everything I read online scared me. I had reached an amazing place in my life: a loving husband, my personal business was thriving, I was enjoying life with our new 18-month old son, friends and laughter were a daily part of life. So how could this be happening? How could a routine visit to the dermatologist turn into malignant melanoma with an MRI, CAT Scan and multiple surgeries to follow? The panic and fear can’t be explained. The questions that you have to start answering cannot be prepared for. You just start making phone calls to family, bringing in the support system and crying a lot. Finally some of the answers start to flow in: MRI is clean, CAT Scan is clean, borders are clean, depth is a concern, proof of malignancy a concern, surgery a must and expect to lose at least two sentinel lymph nodes and maybe more. Of course, every answer creates new questions. Where is the secondary site of cancer? What does this treatment mean for recovery and life? Can I have more kids (more on that in another post)? The whole time you are riding the wave of survival mode. Take in and process whatever information needed to get through to tomorrow.
At least, that is what I was doing. I never once stopped to consider how this was impacting my husband. What were his fears? What were his questions? Then one day, when the wave of survival mode had passed and we were cautiously settled into recovery, my husband summed it up in one question. A question that would change my outlook on the entire journey and ultimately lead to the creation of this blog. He very bluntly asked, “Are you going to live like a vampire for the rest of your life?”
Hmmm… two thoughts: 1. How dare he! He has no idea what I am going through and 2. Maybe he has a point. As a thirty-year-old mother of a young child, a wife of a very active husband and a woman who has at least 60 more years of dreams and accomplishments ahead of her, how am I going to choose to live?While a large amount of skin damage is done in childhood, we can still impact our skin’s well being with the choices we make today. I had to figure this out or I would be spending my life watching verses living.
Welcome to “Sunality,” a journal of my new reality of living in the sun. Join me as I review products, provide advice on adding sun protection into a busy lifestyle and share some of my personal stories along the way. This diagnosis of melanoma has provided me a new life. Yes it is still filled with questions and fear, but it is also filled with empowerment, accomplishment and a whole new perspective on how to live.