Georgina has very kindly shared her story with us during Melanoma awareness month.

I would really like to share my story with others to raise awareness of melanoma and encourage them to regularly check for any unusual moles or changing moles.

I was 23 and very pregnant with my son when I first notices that a mole on the back of my leg had started to get bigger and darker, so I made an appointment to see my local GP who was adamant that it was just changing due to pregnancy hormones. I carried on life as normal and had my beautiful son, however the mole continued to grow. I just presumed it would stop once my hormones has settled down and I felt like I should trust the doctor. Eleven months later,  the mole was black and almost a transparent blue my husband was very concerned and told me to go back to the GP.

This time I met a lovely doctor who was really supportive. I explained the situation to him and he also thought it was nothing to worry about however he referred me to to the dermatologist as a precaution. Within two weeks I was at the hospital seeing a dermatologist who looked at my mole and quizzed me :   had I used sun beds?  do I use sun tan lotion?   I explained that I did not use sun beds and that I used lotion as I burn very easily.

He was very quiet and did not say very much he left the room and returned and asked me to come back in an hour for an emergency procedure. I knew he was worried but not saying as much.  I asked him what he thought it was but he kept telling me that we would have to wait for the results. I came back an hour later and nine stitches later, the mole was gone. A specialist cancer nurse sat and had a chat with me and explained that it could potentially be a cancer called melanoma but we wouldn’t know for sure until the results where back and that I shouldn’t worry. She gave me her number and said that I could call and chat with her anytime and made an appointment to see me in 2 weeks time.  After I left I started googling melanoma and I couldn’t believe it –  all the pictures matched what my mole had looked like.

I celebrated my son’s first birthday and tried my best to be positive and not think about it, then two days later I went for my results. I said to the nurse “I hope it’s good news” (I was trying hard to be optimistic) and I saw her face drop.  I knew from that moment that it was cancer. I said to her “Is it melanoma?”  She asked me to take a seat and we would talk more.  She explained that it was stage 2B and that I would need to see a surgeon and possibly have a sentinel lymph node biopsy. I didn’t know what to think – I was 24 years old, I felt scared upset and did not know what to say. I left the hospital with a huge envelope with pamphlets, information and an appointment to see a plastic surgeon.

I met my surgeon and he wasn’t sure how my surgery would pan out as I needed 10 cm by 4 cm of skin removing from behind my knee.  He explained that I may wake up with a skin graft or a trap door scar but he wouldn’t know until the day.

My surgery did not go very well and as a result my leg split open and became infected.  I was left unable to walk for six months and required three more operations I was left with a huge open hole in my leg that I had to have packed daily. It was a very long and painful wait for it to heal but I was just so relieved that it had not spread to my lymph nodes.

I am now 25 and have a scar that goes from the side of my knee all the way round, but I’m not ashamed of it.  I’m just glad it’s over with and that I can raise awareness to others. I am now seen every three months and monitor all my moles closely.

I only recently found out that melanoma is the only cancer to spread through the placenta so I will be watching my son closely and plastering him with sun lotion.

If you are in any doubt about a mole, don’t wait,  go and get it checked out as cancer waits for no one.