Summer is the season people are typically more active, which means they are healthier, right?
Wrong. Don’t let the fresh fruit, days spent hiking, swimming and boating fool you. Summer can be horribly detrimental to your health if you don’t take the necessary precautions. So many women are seen lying on the beach soaking up the sun and have no idea what they are exposing their bodies to.
I am talking about melanoma cancer. I bet you think it couldn’t happen to you, and plus, even if it did, wouldn’t you be like…way older?
Wrong again. Shelly Farrel is 23-years-old and was diagnosed this year with stage IIIC melanoma which has metastasized, progressing it to stage IV.
She expressed what it was like on her blog post for Elite Daily–
This is something I never imagined I would be dealing with at 23.
Here I am, fresh out of college and still living in the same room of my parents’ house I grew up in with my whole life ahead of me.
Yeah, I had been in a tanning booth a handful of times, until one nasty butt burn before my 20th birthday party kept me away for good.
Aside from that little incident, I considered myself to be pretty careful when it came to sun exposure, but cute baseball hats and SPF 15 weren’t enough.
The thing about melanoma is that, like many cancers, it often goes unnoticed before it becomes very serious.
It only took one tiny mole on the bottom of my scalp to tear my world apart. It started out as an occasional itch, but quickly turned into shooting pains through my head.
Fortunately the doctors were able to catch her cancer in time to still have confidence in removing it from her body without worrying that the cancer had progressed to being untreatable. Though they could operate on her, it was still a long seven-hour procedure in which the doctors removed 67 lymph nodes. Four contained cancer. Four days were spent in the hospital before she could return home.
Not only was this physically painful, but emotionally as well.
After I was diagnosed, I avoided contact with everyone, avoiding reality altogether. I didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for me, or asking how I felt. Physically, I felt fine; inside, I was a total mess.
Though it was rough in every way possible, Shelly was able to find a positive light in her pain. Her dermatologist asked her to write a blurb about her journey to publish in a cancer magazine, and once it had been published the dermatologist gave her a call.
In my follow-up appointment, she told me the office received the highest volume of calls for skin checks that they had ever received.
I realized if I shared my story with enough people, maybe someone else would get checked out early enough to not have to go through this too.
Now, she is eager to share her story and promote awareness of melanoma so that other may take the disease more seriously, as well as the precautions.
The thing is, anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of race, age or gender. So I ask, why not protect your skin? It’s not like you can trade it in for another.
If you think this can’t happen to you, you’re wrong. Take the necessary precautions and protect yourself.
If you would like to see more from Shelly you can visit her blog here.