Monday, August 03, 2009
When I started my summer vacation, I was ELATED! I wasn't taking any grad school classes, no work, no major plans of any kind... just relaxing and FINALLY having the motivation to bust it with my workouts and diet. During one of my relaxing times, I was reading an article in a fitness magazine about skin cancer. For some reason, I finally decided to have this big freckle on the back of my leg checked out. Two weeks after having it removed, I learned I had a VERY early melanoma. Because of it's location on my knee (it was dead centered on the back of my knee...where it bends), a plastic surgeon had to do a skin graph and remove it. Normally, there is a nasty scar where the incision happened, but I've got a nice, yet big, shark bite of a scar on the back of my knee. The freckle itself was 15mm in diameter and the area they had to remove around it was a 1cm diameter and 1cm depth. In order for me not to cause the stitches to burst, I had to wear a knee stabilizer for 2 weeks. Now, I have to come to share some of the things I have learned along this journey.
1. Stay AWAY from the tanning beds. My legs never saw the light of day, and I know this is where my melanoma came from.
2. Take the time to buy a cancer policy. I signed up for one only a few days before my doctor's visit, and it is well worth paying $20 a month just to have a little bit of peace of mind knowing that if I had to have the extra $$, it would be there.
3. Never take advantage of what health priveleges you may have. I never had knee problems, but when I couldn't physically bend my knee for two weeks, I never knew how much I relied on it! I guess the saying is true... You never know what you've got til it's gone!
4. Keep moving! I never realized how much I would miss being active until I couldn't!
5. When in doubt, check it out! If you have a concern about ANYTHING with your health, take the time to talk to your doctor and get it checked out. Yet again, you can't really put a price on peace of mind!