It’s Been 2 years! Melanoma update

July 9th.  It’s a heavy day for me – but a victorious one as of today.
It’s been two years today since I got the call from my dermatologist with my stage 1 melanoma diagnosis.  You can read that post here.
It seems like such a long time ago, yet the rawness of the experience is still here. You really are never the same after melanoma. You can follow my journey on the Melanoma category here on my blog.
I am down to going to my dermatologist every 6 months for a full body skin check. My last visit was in April and she biopsied a small spot on my left calf. It was benign, and I was so relieved!
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I pray I never have to experience cancer again, but I know God uses sickness to draw our hearts near Him. I grew to know God exponentially during that season… I read the Bible and heard Him louder than ever. BUT, the closer I leaned in, the bigger and more mysterious I realized He is.
You can’t “figure God out.”
It is not a neat & clean thing to process. My heart didn’t always (and still doesn’t) lean into Him as much as He designed us to.
Regardless, when I wake up, thankfulness overwhelms me.  Life isn’t perfect, but I’m alive and most of all, alive in HIM!
Two years!  
It’s been a hot week, which makes me think about growing up going to the pool during the hot summer days.  Contrast to now: it took about 1.5 years after melanoma to feel OK about being outside with sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and shade.  I am so appreciative of having access to a great indoor pool!
The most common questions people ask me are:
  • what kind of sunscreen do you use?
  • what has God done in your life since your diagnosis?
  • what do you think of __________ study?
There are studies like this http://www.realfarmacy.com/scientists-blow-the-lid-on-cancer-sunscreen-myth/ that suggest sunscreen does more harm than good.
I think there’s some sliver of truth to many articles out there. But I would not dare challenge myself to a day outdoors without sunscreen.
However, chemicals are harmful. They don’t really know the long-term effects of chemical sunscreens.
So I have discovered mineral sunscreens and use them for our family.
But yes, I still choose sunscreen over none at all.
I still take a large dose of liquid vitamin D. It’s easy to get Baby D drops for babies & kids to take. Little Brother has some when he nurses and Little Dude has a drop or two on his multivitamin each morning.  Vitamin D deficiencies are linked to skin cancer and should be taken seriously.
Looking back to 2012, it was a dark time.  I felt rather lonely and scared, among other feelings.  But God has been working on our marriage, my heart, hubby’s heart, having another baby, through health matters for both boys, finding rest and peace…. before you think everything has been transformed into “ideal” – stop.  It hasn’t. 🙂
I have a great reminder of this season of life for me right on Little Brother’s bedroom wall that says:
 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT
That’s my goal – to look for the Lord with all my heart in all of the ups & downs I face.  There are days I feel discouraged or don’t understand why things can’t be easier (by my standards), but then I look down at my scar.  Someone told me (or did I read in on Pinterest?) that “scars are like tattoos, only they have a better story.”  The story behind my scar is not just “I had melanoma. That’s where they cut the cancer out.”
It’s more about God pulling me through a pit – a time in my life when I didn’t know what I could rely on.  There were times that I didn’t feel like I could rely on God – but as I processed these feelings, I realized it was really more about the fact that I can’t CONTROL God.  (Hi, my name is Heather and I’m a control-freak)  I CAN always rely on Him.  I may not always understand Him, but He will use good and bad situations to help me grow closer to Him, if I will allow it.  He may not always be SAFE, but He is GOOD! 
Now, try to get all that in a tattoo 😉
faded scar

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