In my teenage years, my insecurities lead me to an unhealthy decision to visit a tanning bed. Many of my friends were doing it, and I almost felt like I had to compete to keep up. It had quick results, and at last, no more comments about my pale skin! I was finally feeling good about myself, but I always pushed knowing that it was not good for me to the back of my mind. Especially since my father was diagnosed with Melanoma in his early adult years, I was always worried about what damage the tanning bed would do to my skin too.
Finally, my worrying caught up with me. One day in my early twenties, I felt a tingly sensation in my right arm. I didn’t see anything unusual, but something told me I needed to see a dermatologist anyway. During my visit, the dermatologist actually did not find anything wrong with my arm but instead found three spots on my back that required immediate biopsies. I had absolutely no idea that they would conduct the biopsy on the spot, but they did and I had to go back to work to worry some more.
A couple of weeks went by, and I was told I could call to follow-up if I had not heard back on the results. They told me that two of the areas biopsied were considered what they call precancerous and required further removal. Of course, I was both upset and relieved at the same time.
The surgery was completed shortly after, and after many stitches and an infection later, I still have scars on my back from the removal. It was then that I decided I would kick my tanning bed habit. My dermatologist even recommending spray tanning as an alternative, as the members of her staff did it regularly and always looked fantastic.
From then on, I purchased a spray tanning package, started to be more consistent about using sunscreen during outdoor activities, and really began to be cognizant about my skin and potential problem areas.
At 26 and pregnant, I had a second scare with cancer. After talking about a suspicious spot on my back with my Spray Tan Guru, Molly, I decided I needed to go back to the dermatologist to get checked out. This visit was even more worrisome, as I could not imagine how difficult it would be if something was wrong with me and how it would affect my future son and husband. During the visit, I had 3 more spots biopsied on my back and set up an additional appointment to remove a tiny spot on my chin. Waiting for the results seemed like an eternity, but I learned that all of the spots were free of cancer. The spot on my chin was considered precancerous, but it was removed entirely during the earlier appointment.
It is not a bad thing at all to care about your appearance, but it is important to always maintain it in a healthy way. I am thankful that I am on the right track now and can share my story and educate others on the importance of healthy skin!