When my good friend/colleague Kerry phoned work and broke the news that a mole on her back was a tumour and had to be removed, I was shocked to say the least. I didn’t really know how to respond, as at that time I didn’t know the severity of the outcome if malignant. I did however think everything would be ok regardless of whether it was malignant or not because the tumour was going to be cut out.
I feel at that time I didn’t realise the impact this would have on Kerry and therefore, I carry guilt that I wasn’t as attentive and understanding to her feelings as I would have been if I had the awareness prior.
As the weeks went by leading up to the biopsy I kept thinking “everything’s going to be ok, why wouldn’t it be, the tumour is going to be removed!” As the weeks past by, Kerry explained more and more about the operation. It was during this time I started realising the severity of the possible outcomes.
The biopsy was done and now she had the wait for the results. “How do I support her and keep positive when I still know so little.” It was awful to see a friend have weeks of worry waiting for her results, other than being a listening ear I felt helpless that I was unable to take that worry away from her.
Results day …I was dreading it, so I could only imagine what Kerry and her family were going through. As far as I was aware at that time, we both believed everything would be ok. When I found out the news wasn’t good and she had cancer, my stomach sank for her and her family. Then a sense of selfishness in acknowledging my feelings, “This is my friend, I don’t want to loose her.”
I knew the only way I could support Kerry was to at least try and understand how she was feeling and the impact it was having. The only way I could do this, was to understand the facts surrounding Malignant Melanoma.
Although Kerry had one heck of a roller-coaster ride, her determination to offer support and raise awareness is to be admired. Speaking to Kerry and seeing the impact Malignant Melanoma has on patients and their families, is what drove my passion with also joining forces in offering support and raising awareness.
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