It could have been a lot worse

Earlier this year I shared a post about how to stay healthy when life gets busy. Sharing that last year I was so busy that I put off many of my health appointments. This year I have pushed busy aside and I am looking after ME!  I did a full health check with my new GP in February (she is amazing BTW, really thorough and making me book in follow up appointments) and have booked in for my Pap Smear, sorry TMI.  I also booked in for a skin check, which was a little overdue. I have lived on the glorious Gold Coast all my life, the sun is quite fierce, and I have fair skin and freckles, I burn just putting washing on the line, so it’s important I get checked.  I saw my skin dr last week, the result was unexpected.

gold-coast-beach

this is Main Beach, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

I usually see my skin doctor every year, but keeping it real and honest, this appointment was overdue, I should have gone when I was moving house late last year but as I was busy packing so I cancelled the appointment. The Doctor usually asks if I have any worries or concerns.  There wasn’t anything I was worried about but did want to point out to him something on the back on my leg.

Mid last year I was a little concerned about a spot on the back of my leg and whilst I was visiting a GP I asked him to check the spot, he said it was fine, it was like a beauty spot and not to be concerned.

Although, I had noticed in the last month that it had changed, got a little lumpier. So a second opinion is worthwhile for my own piece of mind.  My Skin Doctor didn’t like the look of it, so he scraped it to send to pathology.  This was the first mole I have ever had scraped, usually I have a few spot on my face and hands frozen, never a scrape.  I wasn’t too concerned as the GP said it was nothing to be concerned about.

However, the Skin Doctor called me with the results. It’s a melanoma.

Cancer Council says “Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which usually occurs on the parts of the body that have been overexposed to the sun. Rare melanomas can occur in parts of the skin or body that have never been exposed to the sun.

Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia, which along with New Zealand has the world’s highest incidence rate for melanoma. Melanoma is more commonly diagnosed in men than women. The risk of being diagnosed with melanoma by age 85 is 1 in 14 for men compared to 1 in 24 for women. “

Far out, this blew me away, I don’t spend a lot of time in the sun if I can help it and I lather myself with sunscreen.  He said this was a rapid growing Melanoma, in the early stages and if I didn’t come in and get it diagnosed now, it could be a completely different situation in a few months time.

2016-03-21a

Today I am going into his surgery to get it removed. Get it out of me!!!  I just have to rest my leg for 2 days, so I had to cancel our Good Friday celebrations with the extended family and I declare it a weekend of netflix!!  All I need to do from here is get my skin checked every 3 months for the next 2 years and ensure my siblings and children also get checked.

I am so grateful that I took the time to look after myself and that I also knew that something on my body wasn’t quite right.

Please I urge you, don’t be too busy to get your skin checked.  If you haven’t had your skin checked recently to please visit your GP if they specialise in skin checks, or see a skin clinic.  You don’t need a referral for skin clincs and most will bulk bill.

 

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21 comments

Estella March 24, 2016 - 7:59 AM

Katrina please do take care, prayers with you, hope the surgery all goes well. Happy Easter, and enjoy your Netflix long weekend 😉

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Rachel April 11, 2016 - 8:46 PM

I found this helpful. It’s free on the 12th of April. Please check it out, Kat, cancer is cancer!
The webinar is called the truth about cancer, (if the link doesn’t work) there’s a dr in qld in ep3 I think

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Angie Tester March 24, 2016 - 9:10 AM

Good reminder to look after ourselves. Glad you had it picked up early enough to catch it. Hope it goes really well Look after yourself x

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Emily Toxward March 24, 2016 - 9:11 AM

The sun is a scary thing – I’m vigilant in my check ups. Must do the kids soon. Take care and I hope the procedure is painless. Happy Easter Kat xx

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Jess March 24, 2016 - 9:14 AM

Thanks for sharing your story! I myself am overdue for my skin check since I put it off last year while I was pregnant but I have been thinking about it & you have given me the push I needed to actually book on in! Sending you lots of positive energy & I hope it all goes well for you xx

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Lyn March 24, 2016 - 9:25 AM

Kat . . I was shocked and speechless when i read your post. I am so glad you finally had your skin ckecked. You live in one of the most beautiful places in Australia but like anywhere else in Australia the sun can be a ki?ler. I hope all goes well with your surgery. My thoughts are with you… Lyn x

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Lyn March 24, 2016 - 9:26 AM

Kat . . I was shocked and speechless when i read your post. I am so glad you finally had your skin ckecked. You live in one of the most beautiful places in Australia but like anywhere else in Australia the sun can be a ki?ler. I hope all goes well with your surgery. My thoughts are with you… Lyn x

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Lyn March 24, 2016 - 9:26 AM

Kat . . I was shocked and speechless when i read your post. I am so glad you finally had your skin ckecked. You live in one of the most beautiful places in Australia but like anywhere else in Australia the sun can be a ki?ler. I hope all goes well with your surgery. My thoughts are with you… Lyn x

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Lyn March 24, 2016 - 9:27 AM

Kat . . I was shocked and speechless when i read your post. I am so glad you finally had your skin ckecked. You live in one of the most beautiful places in Australia but like anywhere else in Australia the sun can be a ki?ler. I hope all goes well with your surgery. My thoughts are with you… Lyn x

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Lyn March 24, 2016 - 9:32 AM

Oops . Apologies for hitting enter so many times. But i hope you get the message . . . Everyone needs to get their skin checked. Including me ? happy Easter ?

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Renie March 24, 2016 - 10:03 AM

Kat, I am so sorry about your diagnosis. I am relieved for you that it was found. I wish you strength and peace through your healing process.

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Rachel March 24, 2016 - 11:42 AM

So glad you got this checked in time Kat! And thank you for prompting me – I have had reminders on my fridge for an overdue pap test, skin check and glaucoma test for months! Thank you for the reminder of how important these things are. And once again I’m very glad you’re OK
Have a lovely Easter break and enjoy your Netflix binging!

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Betty Kamanyire March 24, 2016 - 5:41 PM

Kat wish you quick recovery from the surgery.

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Wendy March 25, 2016 - 8:02 AM

So pleased you got it checked, all the best with the surgery, have a restful weekend!

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Helen March 25, 2016 - 10:05 PM

Thanks for the reminder. I have been putting off a skin check for a long time, so I will follow up now. All the best for your future good health.

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Philippa Rumble March 30, 2016 - 11:02 PM

Wow Kat, I’m so glad you got it checked and found it! I would be informing the doctor that told you it was nothing that they were incorrect- it may help a future patient!

How very scary!

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Sara April 8, 2016 - 6:41 AM

Well done Kat ! I always have my check ups now – my story is similar to yours but getting it early is the best scenario !! Hope you’re healing well – I am overdue for a Pap Smear but now I will go make an appointment today !!
Thanks Sara

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Darcie April 8, 2016 - 11:43 PM

Best of luck with your treatment and recovery. I had a melanoma last summer that was removed and a lymph node biopsy to see if it went anywhere else. THANKFUL for prayers it was not! I do not miss an appoint with my doctors and even the all over body search is o.k. just knowing they are all looking after me and my health!

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife April 11, 2016 - 3:21 PM

Got results back and all OK!! Will keep ontop of my appointment every 3 months!

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Kim April 11, 2016 - 4:00 PM

This definitely touches home. I had an 8 month old at the time, (9 years ago) and went for a check up on a “pimple that wouldn’t go away” on my nose, and next thing I was alone in the exam room being told I had skin cancer (Albeit “the best type to get if you’re going to get it….bcc) Just that word made me think I was going to leave my small baby and die… It begs the question….why do we women go to these important check ups alone??… It’s always nice to take a friend for moral support, even if it’s not needed. In fact I hope it isn’t needed.
I hope all went well Kat. Make sure you attend your 3 monthly visits, as they tell me once you’ve had one, chances are very high to get another within the next 5 years. Slip slop slap 🙂

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife April 13, 2016 - 9:47 AM

That is so scary Kim, yes I have heard so many stories over the past few weeks of skin cancers that don’t look like moles. I took my hubby along to my appointment purely because I wanted him to get checked too, didn’t expect my GP to find anything. Then my Dad insisted on coming to my next one despite me saying I am fine, I love that he insisted it was great to have him there. Glad you got your nose checked and 9 years on your still here!!

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