Protecting your skin: Resources for understanding melanoma

Imagine having an appointment with your doctor, a regular yearly checkup, and everything is going well as usual – that is, until your doctor says,"Hmm, this mole looks kinda funky. You mind if I do a quick biopsy just to check it?" When this  happened to me, I felt confident – I'm a young and mostly healthy 36-year-old. A week later, a call comes in from my doctor, explaining that I have melanoma. If you've even gone through an experience like this, you know that it feels like a whirlwind. There are the dermatologist appointments, the surgery, and the healing that comes afterwards. Then there's the skin check appointments with the dermatologist every there months after that. It definitely plays with your mind. You ask yourself, Why did this happen to me? Why Didn't I use sunblock all those years outside on the softball fields while watching my daughter play? Why didn't I wear a hat more often? 

You can beat yourself up a million different ways wondering about the whys, but at some point you have to realize that it's time to focus on the What now? This means educating yourself and others to be diligent about putting on the sunscreen, wearing protective clothing and sunhats.    

Having a cancer diagnosis of any kind is a very personal journey to go through for anyone, including the family members and friends of those diagnosed. Family and friends can have a hard time coming up with the right things to say.  Sometimes steering them in the direction of information can not only educate but help them in supporting a loved one going through something like melanoma.  

While everyone's experience will be personal and different, these are some resources that helped educate me about melanoma and my options:

Battling Melanoma: One Couple's Struggle from Diagnosis to Cure 

The Ribbon is Black for a Reason: How Melanoma Changed My Life in Four Short Months

The Hidden Journey: Melanoma Up Close and Personal