May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, and while I want to shout from the rooftops to get your skin checked, I also want to cry with anxiety and panic. In June of 2011, I had a Melanoma In Situ removed from my back. If you know me, you know I worry more than the average bear. I can physically FEEL worry from my head to my toes. I also have this brain that can go from a minor situation to stage 10 world catastrophe in about 2.5 seconds.

This melanoma did just that to me.

Within the first 2 minutes of that phone call describing the find, I went from a mild freak out to envisioning my kids without me. When I thought about writing these words, I felt the anxiety all over again. Am I jinxing myself? Can I share I “survived” this diagnosis knowing there’s a high chance it could come back? This cancer is no joke and has taken one beautiful friend from me already. I hate it – all cancer, really. It all just makes me so angry and scared. And, in the last 5 years, it has been a daily worry.

So why this anxiety? Why this dreadful feeling? I can’t speak for all who have experienced any type of sickness, but I do not like knowing my body can produce such a disease. I do not like knowing what it does to good people. I don’t consider myself a survivor because my treatment was a surgery, and I was good to go. Though it has completely altered my life, I was lucky in the physical aspect. Yet, this huge health scare took my anxiety to another level. It began to consume me. I was convinced this was the end, and I had to check myself multiple times a day. That crazy brain of mine was playing some tricks on me and made me go to dark places. One little ugly mole did that to me. It may seem silly to some, but I had to find ways to work through my cancer fears. Do I have days when I don’t think about it? Absolutely. But, on the days I do, I have to dig deep, pray, distract myself, and remind myself how thankful I am. I think of others who are experiencing cancer or something so hard, and I do feel silly. A surgery to fix it isn’t anything compared to those who endure harsh treatments. I want to hug every single person who has been scared because of this ugly cancer. When they treat the cancer itself, I can’t imagine the fears and anxieties that come as well.

But, just like others who share their brave and honest journeys, I want to share where my journey has been. Though this skin cancer is dangerous, you can treat it if found early. Get yourself to a dermatologist and get your checks. If you see changes in size, color, texture, or even a brand new spot that you find curious, GO. If my anxiety can stop one for you, then I am all for it. I go every 6 months for a check, and I have been lucky to have no more of these little jerks. I have had close calls and have some scars to prove them all. But, I will take my hole-y skin over the dangerous kind.

I pray that my 5 year anniversary will result in good news. For some reason, if this appointment comes out clean, I may be able to lift some of this physical heaviness from my nervous shoulders. With each appointment, I do feel lighter and less scared, but this month reminds me of what could’ve been. So, make your appointment. Pray and love on your friends. Take care of yourselves this month and every month. We can learn from each other and take care of one another – that’s how I muddle through my anxiety every single day.

Kim Reed

My name is Kim, and I am a SAHM to two littles and the wife to one hardworking man. I’ve been through some life-changing events that left me reeling, but somehow I am still here trucking along! I get by with coffee, hugs, exercise, a good book, date nights, girls nights, family gatherings, trips, and the occasional glass of wine. Every night, I thank God for my blessings, I confess my sins, and I ask for another day to try it all again. I want my life to have meaning and to fully appreciate all the blessings that surround me.