Basically, I had a tiny mole on my inner left knee, and if I'm honest, I don't remember it always being there. It began getting very itchy, and burning, to the point where I couldn't wear trousers because the material touching it just flared it up, into a huge itch fest!
I went to my GP who had a look, and prescribed me some steroid cream to use for a week, to see whether the itching stopped. While I was there, the GP had a closer look at my legs and discovered another mole, which I hadn't seen, on my left calf. It looked like a smudge of chocolate and was causing me no problems at all.
To be on the safe side, my GP booked me an appointment for a week later to see how the cream had been getting on. No change, the itching was horrendous, so he referred me to a skin specialist.
There was no messing around, I was straight in for surgery, and I had both moles removed for biopsy. The mole on my inner left knee was 'shaved' off but the one on my calf had to be cut out and stitched.
2 weeks later, I went to my nurse to have my stitches removed. Later that night, I was standing up when I felt a sharp stab in the back of my leg, and when I looked down, my wound had opened and blood was running down my leg. My mum took me to our local A&E department who stitched me up and suggested I let my surgeon know what had happened.
The following the day, I rang the surgeon and spoke with his secretary, who said 'We're glad you phoned, we need to have a look at it..' So booked me in for 2 days later.
I went along, and mum sat in the car waiting for me, expecting me to have a 2 minute check up. I went into the surgeons office and on his computer screen was a diagram of a human body, with 2 red dots on the left leg area. This is when I was told that my biopsies had come back as Cancerous.
I was numb. I didn't really take it all in.I finished my appointment and went to the car, and told Mum and we both just started crying.
I made the stupid mistake of researching malignant melanoma on the Internet, and when I read that it was responsible for around 77% of deaths, obviously I was pretty freaked out, and stopped looking!!
I was referred to the plastic surgery department at The Lister Hospital, and was scheduled for further surgery.
On the 19th October, I went in for the operation and had to have both areas of cancer removed, which took around 4 hours.
The results came back fine. I needed no further surgery and no other treatment. Chemo and radiotherapy were not needed - thankfully! However I needed follow up appointments to check my lymph glands to make sure there was no swelling and that the cancer hadn't spread.
I was 28 when this happened, and all because I was a huge sun worshiper. I'd lay, for hours, covered in oil, desperate for a nice golden tan. All I got, out of doing that, are 2 nasty scars. I used to be able to run 4-6 miles a day, but due to the amount of muscle/tissue removed from my calf, I have a very weak left leg now and the most I can manage is around 1-2 miles.