Mother shares pictures and story of recovery from melanoma
When 39-year-old mother Bethany Greenway from Texas was expecting her second child in the fall of 2014, she was not particularly surprised at the many changes her body was going through.
The natural redhead, already generously freckled, discovered what she thought to be a liver spot on her forehead and simply put it down to pregnancy hormones. And although it looked like just another giant freckle she went to her dermatologist just to be on the safe side. After carrying out a skin check, the dermatologist also thought it was benign. But it wasn't.
A biopsy revealed the opposite: the spot on Bethany's forehead itself was melanoma and the mole in the middle was desmoplastic melanoma, a rare form of the disease and a particularly dangerous type of skin cancer.
If Bethany was to survive, the doctors had to act quickly and thoroughly: the underlying muscle tissue and one of her lymph nodes near her left ear also contained melanoma cells and had to be cut out.
The surgeries left a large, deep gash on Bethany's forehead. The doctors took a skin graft from her thigh and used it to cover the open wound. For a while, Bethany had to wear a yellow compression sponge on her forehead until her body accepted the newly transplanted patch of skin.
In the meantime, to stop any rogue melanoma cells from spreading, she underwent immunotherapy infusions and radiation treatments to finally expel the cancer from her body.
Throughout the ordeal, she kept thinking of her children and knew she had to survive for them. "For me, it’s worth it to go through this year of suffering for another 50 or 60 years of watching my children grow up and being present for my kids and my husband," she said. Now her daughters are two and five years old and the whole family is in good health.
By sharing her story and her pictures, she hopes to warn as many people as possible about the dangers of excessive UV radiation. "Please stop sun bathing and going to tanning salons," said Bethany. "A tan isn’t a healthy glow — it’s damaged skin."
Bethany did the right thing in getting her spot checked and luckily managed to treat her skin cancer in time. It's always best seek medical advice if freckles or moles change — better to act quickly and be on the safe side.