White Rock, B.C.
Growing up in South Africa, I paid little attention to my skin, often resulting in sunburns; I usually looked like a tomato! I didn’t consider the possible sun damage until 2012, when I developed a mole on my back that itched, but I couldn’t see it. As a physician myself, I never thought about getting sick, so I left the mole for a while. A month after I had discovered it, I spontaneously asked another surgeon to remove the mole for me. When the tests came back as stage 1B melanoma, it was a shock, but I knew I had to come to terms with it. I pushed for a quick surgery, and eleven days after my mole had been removed, I had a wide resection surgery on my back, and the lymph nodes in my left armpit removed. Now I’m in good health, and doing well- but I feel privileged to be alive. Now, I try to take advantage of every second. I’m in the game!
After my experience, I’ve made it a personal project to teach people how to engage with their treatment, and advocate for themselves. By learning how to navigate the healthcare system, you can get the care you deserve, like I did.