We are in the middle of summer, and many people only have one thing in mind: to get as much tan as possible before the winter arrives again. But, what if getting that healthy glow totally compromised your health? Would it really be worth it?
I was one of the people who barely left a ray of sunshine took my towel, my sunscreen and put me for a couple of hours to take a little color. It did not have to be summer, with the sun shining enough and feeling a bit warm, I decided to go out and expose myself.
I had heard about melanoma, which is practically cancer on the skin, and other risks that I ran when exposed to the sun too much, but, as it happens many times in life, one believes that it will never happen to us, it would be like having very bad luck. So I never listened to what they told me, and today I regret it.
In February of this year, I was diagnosed with melanoma, which already metastasized, advancing to stage IV. I never imagined that this could happen to me when I was 23, when I just got out of college and I thought I had a whole life ahead of me.
I always considered myself very careful when exposing myself to the sun. Now I know that a nice hat and a blocker of number 15 were not enough.
Melanoma is the cause of most of the deaths that are related to skin cancer; the worst is that it has no obvious symptoms until advanced stages. The only way to treat this problem is to remove the tissue, but only when it has not reached 1mm, something that is almost impossible to notice when there are no major symptoms.
It was only enough a small mole on the top of my neck, where my hair is born, to bring down my world. At first it was not annoying, just a little itching at occasional moments, but it quickly became stinging pains through my head.
After I was diagnosed, I avoided all kinds of social contact. I wanted to avoid reality completely. I did not want anyone to feel sorry for me, or they will constantly ask me how I felt. Physically I felt good, but inside, I was devastated. I was afraid not of the needles or the scalpel, but of the final result. Would I have enough time to get married? To have children?
Days after being diagnosed and visiting several oncologists, I had surgery. Until that moment I had been very lucky, because my only surgical intervention had been a tooth extraction. I knew it would not be easy, but it was more complicated than I thought. Everything was much worse than I had imagined. An operation that should last about 3 hours, ended up being a 7 hour procedure.
They removed 69 lymph nodes on the left side of my neck. Of which 4 contained cancer cells, and apparently, that was a lot.
After 4 days in the hospital, I was able to go home. But it did not end there. I had to go to physical therapy to recover the mobility of my neck, in addition to undergoing chemotherapy and several other procedures that, of course, were not simple.
I can not expose myself to the sun again and the risks have not disappeared yet. However, life gave me the opportunity to discover this in time, and thus be able to do something, because skin cancer is silent, does not warn, has no symptoms and many people discover it too late.
I realized that if I shared my story with enough people, maybe someone else could do the check-ups in time to avoid having to go through the same thing as me.
People know the risks of not using sunscreen, however, the art of tanning is a trend. Today I would do anything to have my skin healthy again, because it is the only one I will have.
Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of race, age or sex. Neither discriminates by exposure time do not have to spend whole hours under the sun to be at risk, sometimes with a couple of hours is enough. So I wonder, why not protect your skin? It's the only one you have, no matter how much science has informed us about its constant regeneration.
In the blog Melan (OMG) you can find more information about skin cancer. Do not ignore it, and always remember to protect yourself.