My name is Thomasina.  In December 2014, at 41 years old, my doctor sent me to the dermatologist for a biopsy on a mole on my left cheek.  I thought it was merely an aging spot, no big deal right? The dermatologist did a biopsy and put in 2 lil stitches. Seven days later I couldn’t make it back to the doctor’s office to get the stitches out and since I don’t drive, I took them out myself. Later that afternoon as my family is arriving for Christmas, I get a phone call and it’s the dermatologist wondering why I didn’t come in and get my results. She usually doesn’t give medical news over the phone but since the results were not good she explained to me that I needed to go to OHSU dermatology as soon as possible for further biopsies and removal. MOHS surgery. As I’m holding my grandson in my arms with tears streaming down my face and thinking about all the “what if’s, I just want to make it through the holidays with my family. The MOHS surgery was scheduled on the day of my 42nd birthday, January 23, 2015.

My friends drove me to OHSU dermatology where I met terrific nurses, assistants, and doctors who helped calm my nerves and made sure I was comfortable. Often, they can take up to 6 different cultures, but I was lucky and they stopped at 2.  They bandaged me and sent me home with a large circle of skin cut out of my left cheek. I felt so hideous, all I could do was cry, especially after 24 hours when I took the bandage off to clean the wound. Three days later when I went back so they could close the wound, the doctor told me he had to do a large re-incision on my smile line, let me tell you, I was now mortified. I looked like a zipper face, I cried and cried for days.

My fantastic doctor, Dr. Lightenberger, at my 1 month check up, was very certain with laser surgery he could lighten the scar. As soon as the incision healed I then had three months of laser surgery along with full body check-ups to check on other moles. I was and am very lucky that I have not developed any further melanomas, they say once you develop it, you’re extremely susceptible to developing more. I bathe in sunscreen from head to toe and stay white to stay HEALTHY and cancer free … Remember, melanoma does not always develop from using tanning beds.  It also develops from not wearing sunscreen on your face and body.  Letting your skin burn to get a glow, it’s just not worth it .. use make-up if you must, but please protect yourself and your skin.