8 months ago, I set up a dermatologist appt for my yearly check skin check and I will admit it- it has been more like 5 years. (Hanging my head in shame- I know, I know)
It wasn't that I was scared of anything...it was more about NOT being afraid. Melanoma is something I live with everyday but since the primary care I receive focuses on my eye care, I ignore the other parts of me.
One of the first things that impressed me about my dermatologist. ..he asked right away "Do you see a dentist who looks into your mouth often? Does your hairdresser check your head? See an OB yearly? Notice any darkening places around your nail beds?" Oh my gosh...he gets it!! We quickly discussed all the other areas of our body that rarely sees the sun where melanoma can be found...this doctor was on the ball before I even needed to say anything!
So the skin check was easy...he pointed out spots, lumps and bumps...described their melanoma risk level and what to watch for. Since I have very few actual moles, I have a low risk for melanoma overall but considering my family connection (my uncle passed away from melanoma) and my own personal history with ocular melanoma, we are still watching some spots.
I was asked if there was anything I was bothered by and there was. On my right shoulder, right next to my neck, ever since I was a young child, I have had 2 moles I nicknamed my "vampire bite". I have two more on my upper chest and as I have aged, all 4 grew in size, changed to a lighter shade of brown and became fleshy (was told this is normal) but then one changed in a way I didn't like. It changed back flat, darker and irregular shaped. It bothered me enough I asked it to be looked at. The doctor suggested removing it considering my history so that is just what we did.
It was the first biopsy I have ever had but I wasn't concerned at with the process. It was painless and simple.
The hardest part was looking in the mirror and mourning the loss of my "vampire bite" I actually loved it there. But as a fitness instructor, it was in a place on my shoulder that rubbed up against my sports bra and was often irritated so I am just thankful to have one less thing to worry about.
And yes..my appt for next year is already made :)