Today was hot. It was hot and sunny. Being a garden lover I spend many hours outside. I am very much an outdoors person during the daylight hours, whether it is in the garden, riding our bikes to the park, walking around the lake or just sitting outside in the fresh air. I have always loved the feel of a fresh breeze and the warmth of the sun on my skin.
But now I am finding myself far more wary of being outside during the high uv hours of 10 am - 3pm. I still am outside during that time but I cover up with a wide brimmed hat, sunnies, sunscreen etc.
You see, at the beginning of this year I found a mole that was changing and had grown in size. It ended up being a melanoma. The mole was right behind my right knee in the crease. Initially I had the mole removed but then had to have further surgery to remove more tissue from deeper and surrounding where the original mole was. I also had lymph nodes removed in my groin to check for spread and those behind my knee were also removed or damaged with the surgeries. Now I have lymphoedema in that leg which is a chronic condition due to the damage of the lymph flow. Means that my right leg swells up due to the high protien lymph fluid pooling. It becomes very heavy and uncomfortable and I need to elevate and rest my leg more that I like (and believe me with three very active boys it isn't always easy to do this). I wear a full length lymphoedema stocking during the day and am still learning what works and doesn't and how to best control and live with this condition.
Now most people that read this blog are gardeners and probably like me spend hours outside. I am writing this as a reminder to others that now with the hot sunny weather coming to please take care of your skin. Wear hats and sunscreen and reapply the sunscreen after a few hours (it wont last all day). But most importantly check your skin for moles that look unusual, are changing, are irregular in size colour or shape. Get someone else to check your back or hard to look at areas, like the back of your legs or neck.
Please slip, slop,slap and be vigilant.
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