The next few weeks seemed a blur.  Only certain things I seem to remember from this event that I went through in my life. I had to have a further excision to have the rest of the margins removed (the skin surrounding where the mole was) to make sure there was no cancer left behind. However due to me working in the hospital is where it all became a little more complicated than it needed to be.
My colleagues at the time had known of my diagnosis and the lack of support was terrible. During this period of time I was at work everyday. I never took a day off. No one would have known I had just been told that I had cancer.  It was around a week or so later after the diagnosis that I was going to have the margins removed. I worked along side some amazing surgeons, nurses, doctors during my time at The Royal Marsden and I grew amazing relationships with a lot of them.
The work we did together for the patients was pretty outstanding and it was such a lovely place to work. It was a very rewarding job. I built a great relationship with one consultant in particular Mr Strauss (consultant surgical oncologist) He was the surgeon who ended up removing the rest of the skin that was needed to be removed. I remember the week leading up to having the next procedure I told the nurse in charge at the time (this is the nurse who I ended up having to report) that I was having the procedure and someone would need to assist him with it. She said she’ll get back to me and let me know if anyone would be up for it. She never got back to me. It was the day before she came to me and told me that no one felt comfortable doing it and I should tell this to the surgeon. My blood was boiling. I was in shock. I called him straight away and made him aware. 
On the day of my procedure I was working right up until I had my appointment. I was going to be awake and have the procedure under local anesethic. That day none of the nurses wanted to assist him with the procedure and I ended up having to look around for a nursing staff member to assist with the procedure due to them all refusing. This was very hard for me as just because I worked there I was still a patient that was on a cancer journey. I felt that regardless I should have been able to be treated as everyone else was. Unfortunately this was not the case. In the end after searching we found the Clinical nurse specialist for melanoma and she assisted with this procedure. 
Being in this position was not nice for me at all. I felt hurt and betrayed by my colleagues. It was bad enough I had no support let alone no one wanting to assist with a procedure I needed doing. 
I used to go home everyday and tell my parents what was going on within the work place and they just couldn’t believe this was what was going on. As you can imagine this whole experience really broke them. Especially my Mum. We are very close so this affected her a lot. To the point she had to end up having counselling at a cancer charity in Purley. They advised me I need to as a patient take this to PALS and let them look into it. So that is what I done. I did everything they wanted me to do I submitted it and waited. 
Time went on. It was becoming hard working in the same environment with people that had the same diagnosis and was in a worse off position than me. I was working alongside both consultants that treated me and I could feel myself breaking down. PALS eventually got back to me and they told me due to me working there they could not treat me as a patient as I am a staff member. I thought to myself this is it. They’ve got away with how they’ve treated me....they’re meant to be nurses. How are they even looking after patients and this is how they can treat people. I was so angry. I then went to try and carry on this complaint and I never got anywhere. I got an apology letter and a few policies shoved in my face and that was it. I had no support offered to me nothing. It was time for me to leave sadly. I had to leave due to me not being able to work around these people that I felt neglected me when I needed them the most, my heart was just not in it anymore. 
This definitely came with a heavy heart and still to this day I regret it every time. It was an honour to work there alongside amazing people looking after all types of people from all different walks of life. So after two great years I left the Royal Marsden. 
I am just so thankful that the margins came back clear and the cancer was caught early. I can’t imagine to think what would have been if it was left any longer.  Two years on I have now been discharged from my dermatologists care. I am not sure how I should feel about this. The anxiety around this has been high as it was my reassurance going there to have my skin checks every 6 months. I have now had mole mapping which takes pictures of the front, back and side of the body. It picks up new moles and moles that have changed. You have this every year. This is also reassuring to know that I have that in place. However I have to also look at it in a different light that I have been discharged and I am CANCER FREE.
I am just grateful for my friend Monique for seeing the mole and bringing it to my attention and that it was caught as early as it was and that I didn’t have to have intense treatment for it. I also have to be so thankful that I can sit here today and tell others my story and raise awareness. My message is if you see something new on your body that you have not seen before or you think something looks different please call your doctor and let them know ASAP.
Melanoma can become life threatening in as little as up to 6 weeks and if untreated it can spread to other parts of the body. Please wear sun cream and protect yourself at all times. Even sun beds should be out of the equation, but do it all in moderation. Stay safe and keep yourself well x
As told by Zoe Bennet