Jessica Vines: Melanoma Survivor
I worked in a tanning salon for a few years while I was in high school. I used tanning beds on and off for probably about 3 years. Around age 23 I noticed some changes in my moles and decided to go to the dermatologist for my first skin check. Luckily, my moles came back as mildly atypical and no further treatment was required. I stayed diligent from that point forward and had skin checks once or twice a year. Fast forward to summer of 2017. I am 29 years-old and busy planning my wedding. I had recently moved to a new city and found a new derm. I went in February to see her but didn’t feel like she was “thorough” enough so in July I decided to get a small mole on my foot rechecked by a new derm.
About a week before my appointment, a small mole on my right shin began to get darker and slightly scabbed. I mentioned it during my appointment and the derm decided to biopsy it as well. My foot came back fine but much to my shock my leg was melanoma in situ (earliest stage). I had surgery 4 days later.
I went through all the emotions immediately. I was a wreck emotionally and still struggle to keep a balance in my mind. It’s a scary shocking road to have your whole world rocked 8 weeks before your wedding.
What I’ve come to realize in the last 3 months is to trust God more and worry less. I am also extremely thankful for how early I caught it and how in tune I am with my intuition. I’ve learned more about life in the last 3 months than I did in my 29 years on this earth. In a weird way, I am thankful for this eye-opening experience and I plan on living each day the way I should’ve been living prior to this diagnosis. I will never take my health for granted again and now I know how precious each day truly is.