FAITH / family / LIVING WELL

for the ones you love

06.21.11

Last weekend, while I was in Bellport, I got some hard family news. My brother found out that he had melanoma on his cheek. A tiny, almost insignificant spot, smaller than the end of a pencil eraser. The first thing my sister and mother said to me was "Don't google it." For many people, the outlook with this type of cancer is grim. 

The news really threw me for a loop. Surrounded by family that weekend and trying to digest what I was hearing, the fear of the unknown, really put a heaviness in my heart. I fought back tears the whole weekend and into the coming week.

Molecheckinstruct

Surgery was scheduled for last week and then the waiting game began as we all waited to hear if the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes that they also removed. 

When my mother called me on Friday, she was crying. But it was tears of relief. God is good. It did not spread. The doctor was confident he removed all the melanoma. Radiation will follow, but mostly as a precautionary measure. 

Last week, I made an appointment to see a dermatologist. I carry the "red hair gene" which makes me 4x more likely to get melanoma. 

One bad sunburn before the age of 18, doubles your chances. I've had a few of those. 

I write this post today, not to scare or be overly dramatic but mostly because I wanted to share. And I wanted to share a video that my brother's wife sent to me. Please take a moment to watch it for me. Follow the links, and stay informed, for all the ones you love. 

Last weekend, while I was in Bellport, I got some hard family news. My brother found out that he had melanoma on his cheek. A tiny, almost insignificant spot, smaller than the end of a pencil eraser. The first thing my sister and mother said to me was "Don't google it." For many people, the outlook with this type of cancer is grim. 

The news really threw me for a loop. Surrounded by family that weekend and trying to digest what I was hearing, the fear of the unknown, really put a heaviness in my heart. I fought back tears the whole weekend and into the coming week.

Molecheckinstruct

Surgery was scheduled for last week and then the waiting game began as we all waited to hear if the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes that they also removed. 

When my mother called me on Friday, she was crying. But it was tears of relief. God is good. It did not spread. The doctor was confident he removed all the melanoma. Radiation will follow, but mostly as a precautionary measure. 

Last week, I made an appointment to see a dermatologist. I carry the "red hair gene" which makes me 4x more likely to get melanoma. 

One bad sunburn before the age of 18, doubles your chances. I've had a few of those. 

I write this post today, not to scare or be overly dramatic but mostly because I wanted to share. And I wanted to share a video that my brother's wife sent to me. Please take a moment to watch it for me. Follow the links, and stay informed, for all the ones you love. 

27 comments on “for the ones you love”

  1. I too have that awful red hair gene and need to have one removed from my back shortly. I had a level 1 melanoma about 17 years ago now and was very thankful that they got it all, apart from the big scar left on my leg it could have been a lot worse. I have yearly checks now since I used to always end up sunburnt as a child.

  2. My father had melanoma. It was removed and he had radiation – like your brother. It has been 20 years since the initial diagnosis. He has since had it on he nose, eye lid, shoulder, back, both forearms, both legs and knees. He has only had to have radiation once but has so many scars from all of the cutting. Not too sure why I am sharing… just wanted to let you know that he will be ok 🙂 I go to the dermatologist once a year for a full body scan. I have skin just like my father’s and am just waiting for a mole to go haywire. Ugh.

  3. I’ve just had a couple of suspicious spots removed from my chest after years and years of neglect and staying out in the sun without sunscreen or a hat. Fortunately they turned out benign but like you, I’m also redheaded and I’m also from the south which ups my skin cancer factor as well. Plus it runs in my family. I’m actually surprised it took this long to catch up to me. So, sun screen, long sleeves, and a hat it is. For me and the rest of my family. And I’m on spot watch from here on out.

    I wish you and your brother luck. I hope his recovery goes well.

  4. I’m so glad to hear that it was contained and your brother is going to be fine, Molly. And thank you for the reminder to have my red-headed love checked out. Sending you lots of love and peace. xx

  5. Molly, I am so relieved to hear it has not spread. We just found out my fil has squamous cell carcinoma. My mil has melanoma. I am vehement about having my husband checked annually with such a history. I regret my sun choices as a youth and get checked regularly as well. Living in Arizona, the sun is hard to avoid. I try to protect my children. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. I’m glad he caught it early. I had melanoma on my back that was only discovered after I didn’t believe two family practice doctors (not dermatologists) who said it was fine and wouldn’t remove it. It was not fine. I’m 5 years cancer-free this month! Yes, get regular skin checks. They’re an easy appointment — the hardest part is getting there!

  7. So glad to see someone sharing this video. And I’m so sorry though that your brother was diagnosed with melanoma. That is truly frightening.My husband get pre-cancerous tumors a few times a year (darn the high school swimmer curse and fair skin), and I couldn’t help but want to cry when the woman kept showing the photograph of her child and husband.Perhaps I can find a way to share this important video on my blog. I thank you for the reminder.

  8. I love that video. My brother passed away from melanoma at 21 years old. They thought they got it all but later found out it had spread to his lymph nodes. I can’t say enough about getting a pet scan. It detects all cancer in the body but he’ll have to fight to get one. I will pray for you and your family. Melanoma is not bad if you catch it early which sounds like they did.

  9. So glad he is okay!! I had a melanoma “in situ” (in the upper layers of the skin) removed from my arm ten years ago when I was 22. I was lucky…it was a very small mole, smaller than a pencil eraser, normally I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if my mother hadn’t just recently given me a medical encyclopedia that had pictures of skin cancer in it. Since it was caught so early I did not need radiation. I’m just left with a large scar on my arm, but I’d rather have that than the alternative! I go for check-ups to the dermatologist every year and have had a few moles removed since that have all been benign. I have two kids with red hair and freckles (though I’m a brunette!) and we are a long-sleeved shirt, hat-wearing family!

  10. Hi Molly, I am so happy your brother is doing well, and so sorry you and your family had to go through this.

    You can never be too dramatic with skin cancer. My father got melanoma but they found it too late and he died at the young age of 58. It is heartbreaking, to say the least.

    So please please please use sunscreen, everyone. Take it seriously.

    Thanks for you post Molly and for raising awareness.

    Kristina

  11. SO glad he’s doing okay! I know it must have been a hard waiting period for all of you. Thanks so much for sharing this information. Evonne

  12. Well.

    You caught my attention.

    As a fellow redhead, I know I’m seriously implicated. Watched the video, start to finish.

    I’ve been checked before. I’ll be checked again.

    So, sooooo glad your brother is okay. Thank you for spreading the word, Molly.

  13. I just made it to remission for mine, and I just wanted to leave you a note to say that remission does come! I was diagnosed when my daughter was 10 months old, and I was in too much shock to be scared. Get it early, get it all…and remission does come! Godspeed to your brother.

  14. Oh my I’m so glad that is good news! I shared the video on my blog earlier this week as my mum lost her life to melanoma. I never knew how people died from it or that I was high risk. My mum never sunbaked, stayed out of the sun but had fair scottish skin in the australian sun. I miss her everyday and she left this world too early.

    thank you for sharing the message and I’m so relieved the news is good. It makes all the difference when it is caught early.Corrie:)

  15. I’m so glad your brother is doing well…that’s such a scary thing.

    I also wanted to say thank you for this post. It inspired me to see my dermatologist for a mole check and he ended up biopsying two of them!

    This is definitely something that deserves more awareness in our world.

  16. oh, that red hair gene…so good and then so bad, right?i am so happy to hear that your brother’s was caught and hadn’t spread. that is the best news.i get checked once a year and am thinking about bumping it up to two times. thanks for spreading the world.

  17. I’m always so happy and relieved to hear of early diagnosis – happy ending melanoma stories. I lost a sister seven years ago and a brother last year to melanoma and the loss is so heartbreaking. Both were only 42 when they died with young children. Thank you for spreading the message – early diagnosis is really the best cure. I send many good thoughts for you and your family!

    P.S. Self diagnosis is still one of the best ways to catch melanoma – map your moles!

  18. Molly – I remember the fear and the worry that comes with hearing a loved one has cancer. There is no relief until you know it is gone, removed, treated. God is indeed good and I am glad your brother has had such positive news. Love you dearly.

  19. What a blessing to hear that your brother is doing well. I know this had to be so scary for you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing this video. I shared it on my blog this morning–it’s so powerful. My grandmother had melanoma and I inherited her pasty white, sensitive skin. I am considered one of those high risk patients because of the family history, have well over 50 moles and history of dysplastic nevi moles removed. Tanning was my life in your latter teen years and 20’s. I so wish I could go back and talk to the 16-year old ME and share what I know now.

    So happy to have found your blog…love it. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *