Slip Slop Slap
*****DISCLAIMER***This post MAY be confronting for some. It relates to cancer. Melanoma – may be a trigger. This post is about raising awareness!
I want you to read this post and hopefully it hits home for you and maybe your family aswell. spread the word by sharing it and telling your friends.
If you follow me on Instagram you may of heard, but thought that this subject is so important and can happen to anyone.
Here are some statistics on skin cancer from Cancer Council Australia Websitehttp://cancer.org.au
Every year, in Australia:
- skin cancers account for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers
- the majority of skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun
- the incidence of skin cancer is one of the highest in the world, two to three times the rates in Canada, the US and the UK.
So the mood is set. Nearly everyone in the world knows someone that has been, or currently is being effected by cancer. Fu*k Cancer!
Being fair skinned and my Mum’s side being Scottish. I burn. I burn and can burn real fast. I think sometimes I burn by just looking at the sunshine. It’s bullshit. When I was a teenager, like most people I can never remember putting on sunscreen, but as soon as I had kids it was instant thought. Always. Sunscreen before we went to the park or to a picnic, sunscreen when we spent the day at the beach or theme park. Suncreen when I know the kids will be in the long car trip to the Grandparents. Sunscreen. Always. But this is what I have learnt, now that 2 of my kids are ‘grown’. The ‘sunscreen phase’ stops. Not because I stopped it, but because kids don’t think they need it. Kids don’t think they burn. Kid’s want a tan. Kids want their skin to go brown. Kids actually think their skin is stronger than the sun. The actual SUN. What a load of shit right? Which brings me to my point. Because of my skin I get skin checks, every 6-12 months. I treat getting my skin checked as as I would my Papsmear. Its important. It’s a health priority. It must be done.
A few months ago, when I went to get my skin checked I made an appointment for my teenagers, who are both old enough to go to the appointment themselves. So they went. One son was fine, the other son needed a 2 sun spots burnt off (which is much better than finding signs of anything worse). All good. Well, so we thought.
It was on my son’s 17th Birthday I got a phone call saying that he was to return to the clinic to have his sun spot double checked. Apparently, this is normal as when they burn/cut off the sun spot they take a swab of your blood and send it to pathology. My husband and I thought this all sounded a bit full on so Husband took our son to this appointment while I went to work. Which was a blessing because I know I wouldn’t have been able to handle what was coming.
What was coming was that our son, Ethan had a melanoma. Yep. A cancerous melanoma. The skin spot that the doctor burnt off, the blood results showed cancer in it. A melanoma. Ethan needed more cut off. This Melanoma was on his head. Just above his ear. The doctor cut a big chunk out of the side head. Just above his ear. Had about 9-10 stitches, couldn’t play football for 6 weeks, had a few days of work and school. When my husband called me at work to tell me what was happening. I thought he was joking. See, my husband does these Dad Jokes, where I ask him on the way home from work if he could pick up the milk or pick up a child. Then he gets home and goes ‘no, you didn’t tell me that’ and acts completely stupid and the child is in on it and jumps out at the last minute. After I’ve gone a bit nuts. It sometimes makes me laugh, but most of the time it pisses it off. So when he rang that morning from the Skin Clinic he said to me that Ethan had a melanoma. I instantly called bullshit. I told him not to be funny and this wasn’t a joke. Turns out, he wasn’t joking. He was 100% real. I started to cry. I have been through a fair few things in my life where my world has crumbled into a ball. In an instant. This moment was almost one of them.
When someone tells you anything in life about your children, you usually go into a happy, defensive, angry or sad mode. I went into breakdown mode.
Cancer? Melanoma? Are you fucking kidding? Why? The kid just turned 17, literally 2 days before all this. I’m not a believer in God – I spent just about all my whole childhood in a church, I think that has something to do with it. However, I do believe in good fortune, karma and the power of the universe. I shouted to the universe to please make this not true. Yes, I actually stood at my clients house, while doing my day job and yelled out ‘for fu*ks Universe. What the fu*k did we do to deserve this? Not sure at that point what that was going to do. But I sure as hell didn’t want my kid to have cancer. No parent does.
Once my husband calmed me down over the phone. He told me what is actually happening. Ethan was having a chunk of his head cut out because the swab that was taken earlier tested positive to Melanoma. The next process was to come back in 1 week to be told if the Melanoma was all taken out. That week was a long week. Ethan didn’t seem to be too bothered, which kids usually aren’t bothered by too much and I don’t think he fully understood the impact that Melanoma has. Fast forward to the next week. The doctor said he was fine. Totally fine. No trace of the Melanoma – it was all taken out.
I tell ya, it was such a bullshit rollercoaster. The doctor did say that if he had got his skin checked any later than he did, it could have been a different story. A worse story. A story, I am sure many people have told.
I know that there are many many MANY people in this world that are beating cancer and fighting the battle and sadly losing the battle with cancer. My Mother In Law lost her battle with Leukemia 11 years ago, my best friend Mum and Nanna lost their battle within 2 years of each other. Cancer is real. Cancer sucks and Cancer needs to fuck right off!
My intention of this blog is to give awareness of Melanoma and to urge you to get a skin test for you and your family. For you to tell your friends and family that skin checks are important.
Ethan’s story is important. I told it to my work clients, my football friend parents, and my family and friends. Guess what just about all of those people did? They booked themselves in to get their skin checked. I can not stress how important it is to look after our bodies and skin. It’s SO important!
Ethan has to go for 3 month check ups for 6 months. Then 6 month check up for 1 year then yearly check ups from then. He has a large scar on the side of his head – wears sunscreen on his head and a straw hat, rash vest and sunscreen when at when in the sun. Teenagers are the worst for self-imagine, which I understand. I used to be one, but wearing a hat, sunscreen and a rash shirt to protect yourself from the harsh Queensland/Australian sun is much more important than not doing it.
Is there a moral of this story Kaz? So glad you asked, because, yes there is. There are 3 morals to this story – Actually, they aren’t morals – I’m just going to tell you what to do! Cos I care about you and your health for you and your family!
1: GET YOUR SKIN CHECKED
2: Don’t be a loser – SLIP SLOP SLAP AND WEAR A HAT!
3: GET YOUR SKIN CHECKED
4: You can not outsmart the sun.
Cancer can be an emotional thing to talk and read about. I hope this blog post did not offend or upset anyone – that is not my intention at all. I wrote this post to raise awareness of cancer and how important it is to get your skin checked – first and foremost.