This is Brave: Bethany Greenway

This is Brave: Bethany Greenway
The word I’ve chosen to represent my melanoma journey is Aware. My name is Bethany Greenway, I’m a stay at home mom to two amazing little girls. I was diagnosed with stage 3a melanoma August 2016. I wasn’t surprised about the diagnosis because my mom had melanoma at my age, it was just my body’s genetic timer going off. I had a spot on my forehead that looked like a light brown liver spot, it made its appearance while I was pregnant with my second daughter. I went for my annual skin check when my little one was 9 months old, and got the all clear. I thought nothing of the spot and chalked it up to hormones until it grew a mole and the mole started to ache. I went to see my dermatologist who sent me to a plastic surgeon for a biopsy. Three weeks later I got the call from my surgeon, I had two types of melanoma: desmoplastic melanoma, which is very rare, and regular melanoma surrounding it. [gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="eyJ1cmwiOiJodHRwOlwvXC9jb29saWJhci5sb2NhbFwvd3AtY29udGVudFwvdXBsb2Fkc1wvMjAxOFwvMDRcL0JldGgtRzEtMS5wbmciLCJ0aXRsZSI6IkJldGggRzEiLCJjYXB0aW9uIjoiIiwiYWx0IjoiIiwiZGVzY3JpcHRpb24iOiIifQ==,eyJ1cmwiOiJodHRwOlwvXC9jb29saWJhci5sb2NhbFwvd3AtY29udGVudFwvdXBsb2Fkc1wvMjAxOFwvMDRcL0JldGhHMi5wbmciLCJ0aXRsZSI6IkJldGhHMiIsImNhcHRpb24iOiIiLCJhbHQiOiIiLCJkZXNjcmlwdGlvbiI6IiJ9"] At this point, I’ve had two surgeries to remove the cancer and the nearest lymph node removed, which tested positive for melanoma and that put me at stage 3a. With melanoma being such an aggressive cancer, I had to begin treatment to prevent recurrence. I started immunotherapy October 4, 2016 and won’t be done with it until October 2019. The type of immunotherapy I’m on is called Yervoy, and it has a whole host of nasty side effects. Reading the list of them is worse than the drug ads you see on tv. I’ve been lucky in that department, so far, just fatigue and itchy rashes for me. After my first four infusions, I did radiation therapy for six weeks on my head and neck because this was the possible path the melanoma traveled in my body. Most of what cancer patients go through is mental. Yes, we endure so much physically, but once the hard stuff is over we are left with merely a shell of what once was. It also teaches us a powerful lesson in self-awareness and how to truly listen to our bodies. Discovering the new “normal” during treatment and feeling your body change in ways that you never thought possible is an eye-opening journey. It tunes you into who you are at your core. Following the surgery on my face, I felt overwhelmed by the change. This wasn’t an optional cosmetic or aesthetic surgery, like a nose job or breast augmentation, this was done to save my life. It was also 100 times more obvious. How do I handle this? I kept asking myself over and over. So I chose to show my face to the world and show them how scary skin cancer can be and started my Melanoma Photo Diary on Facebook. If I can reach just one person and inspire them to go see the dermatologist and get that biopsy done, then that’s what I need to do. So I did. I took pictures and wrote daily. I still do. Mostly, I keep the diary so I can enjoy spending time with friends and family and not have to give them a medical update every time I see someone new. Why am I telling you my story? So you can learn from me and to raise awareness about the black beast we call melanoma. Listen to your body and pay attention to the changes it makes.
PREVIOUS POST
NEXT POST

About Coolibar

Tree_Blog_1
For more than 20 years, Coolibar (koo-luh-bar) has stopped at nothing to develop the most technical and elegant sun protective clothing, hats and accessories. The world leader in UPF 50+ fabric technology.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

BE BRAVE

22_ThisIsBrave_Side_Blog-300x600-W-LIFE
Social-A-1200-1200px_2