I am so excited today to be able to share with you a story from a loyal UV Skinz reader and commenter! Kimberly blogs at Walking Through the Valley and was generous and open enough to share her personal melanoma story with us.
How long have you been blogging? and why did you start?
I’ve only been blogging since January this year. I started the blog to inform people about grief issues and skin cancer issues after my father died of melanoma skin cancer 7-years-ago when he was only 51-years-old.
Tell me why you chose your blog name?
I chose my blog name Walking Through the Valley, because it adequately describes what it feels like to see a loved one die from cancer and the subsequent aftermath that follows. I also titled my book about my father’s death from the same idea.
Is there an inspirational quote or song that keeps you moving forward and gives you strength in your life?
I really like the song “Finally Home” by MercyMe. It’s a song about the lead singer of the band having lost his dad at an early age (like me) and hoping to see his dad again one day in Heaven. It gives me hope that I’m not alone in loosing a parent at a young age.
What is the best advice you can give to someone who thinks that skin cancer can’t happen to them or their family members?
Go to the dermatologist and get a full-body skin cancer screening. I know that it sounds embarrassing, but it is worthwhile. I’ve had a few precancerous skin cells removed that may have turned into something worse later on had I not gone personally. Skin cancer can happen to anyone, and it’s best to get checked! My dad was not outside enough to even be very tan, but he still got melanoma. Had he gotten checked sooner or had he been on a regular schedule of exams (like once a year), he probably would be alive even now. Skin cancer kills by moving through the lymphatic system to key areas of the body.
In my father’s case, he had a melanoma on his arm that metastasized to his lymph nodes under his arm, then metastasized to his brain and finally his spinal chord. What is so terrible about his is that a small tumor in the brain can cause a lot more damage then a small tumor in, say, the lungs or intestines. Melanoma kills, and once metastasized to key areas, kills quickly–and that is the danger in this form of cancer. So get checked and talk to your dermatologist about how often to get checked and how to prevent skin cancer.
Kimberly’s story is not much different from many melanoma victims and survivors. Early detection is the key! No matter what age or race you are it is so very vital that you get yearly check-ups and do self-exams at least once a month. For more information you can visit melanomamonday.org