In early 2019, at age 60, Di was working as a support worker for people with disabilities. Her job involved activities such as walking so she was often outdoors and exposed to the sun.
Di had noticed a change in a mole on her upper arm. It had changed from brown to white and there was a halo around the edge which was increasing in size. The mole itself was completely flat.
She went to the doctor for what she calls her ‘oil change’: a breast check, cervical screening test and a skin check. Di’s GP recommended she get the mole on her arm checked by a doctor specialised in skin checks, though she wasn’t under the impression there was any urgency and life was busy. Her son and some colleagues had also commented on the mole and Di kept blowing it off, saying “I’ll get to it”.
Around nine months late, Di booked in with the skin cancer clinic. The doctor was immediately concerned and said the spot “had to go”, and urgently. So much so, the doctor came in early the following morning especially. Before taking it out, the doctor was already certain it was melanoma. The spot was cut out and she had seven stitches. The sample was sent off for testing, though Di was advised she would have to come back so that a larger incision could be made and more skin taken.
As Di hadn’t heard anything before her appointment to take the stitches out, she thought it would be okay. At the appointment, Di was advised it was a skin deep melanoma with clear margins though more would have to be cut out.
Eight weeks later in April 2019, Di had her second operation. She needed 15 stitches afterwards and needed to take a week off work for her recovery.
Di has become a passionate advocate for self-skin checks and encourages others to have any new or changed skin spots checked early.
“Get it checked immediately. Don’t wait like I did”.
“I dodged a bullet but others might not be so lucky”.