My name is Shelley.
Passionate, loving, wife, mama.
I am an Executive Assistant and Project Officer.
Almost 14 years ago, I had a nasty spot on my thigh which to be honest, I only really paid attention to when I went to the bathroom. I would think, "I really should get that looked at". It took a few months of thinking this before I finally made the appointment.
My GP took a punch biopsy, then the next day called to come back in. He was in tears as he told me it was a Stage 2 melanoma. Thankfully he referred me to an amazing surgeon, who managed to remove the whole thing (including a large chunk of my thigh!) and I have not had a recurrence.
Fast forward to today, and over the years I have had two more melanoma and eight basal cell carcinomas removed, including a BCC on my eyelid that required oculoplastic reconstruction.
I also suffer from eczema. It doesn't really affect my daily life, as I manage it really well with diet. However, when it flares up it can get painful, especially in the hot weather.
I am especially diligent about sun protection these days - I make sure anything that goes on my face, such as moisturiser and makeup, has SPF. When I do venture into the sun, I prefer to use barriers such as clothing (and Solbari has such great options!) I feel so strongly about sun protection, I can feel the same sort of rage that I would about smoking around children when I see kids running around in the sun with little or no protection!
What would I tell my 16-year-old self? Stop trying to get a tan like your friends! Listen to your mother, wear sunscreen, wear a hat, embrace your natural skin, and be proud of it. You only have one skin, and the tan is not worth it!
Thank you Shelley for helping raise awareness for skin cancer, melanoma and skin conditions, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.
The Solbari Team
Your skin is your largest organ and has a long memory. Sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) damage is cumulative throughout your life. Research shows that sun damage contributes to more than 90% of wrinkles, brown spots, premature skin ageing as well as precancerous and cancerous skin lesions.
It is very difficult to the untrained eye to identify melanomas and skin cancers because they can come in many different shapes and sizes.
As Associate Professor Rosemary Nixon from the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc. says, "the earlier a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better the chance of avoiding surgery, or in the case of a serious melanoma or skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death."