It's a conversation I never thought I'd feel uneasy about, but as summer comes around I am starting to realise that people are going to talk about their suntans and forget it's a sensitive subject for people like myself who have had Melanoma.
I have no intention to preach to anyone about sun safety and tanning, what anyone chooses to do with their life is totally up to them. I know a large majority of people who read my blog are people with Melanoma, or those who know someone who has it, making them increasingly conscious of skin damage. Truth is, if I hadn't been diagnosed I probably would still want to tan, just like everyone else; generally speaking- it's not until you experience something like this you start to take more notice and you are forced to change your attitude.
The fact is I was diagnosed with Melanoma Skin Cancer and it is bloody frightening! It is not a dodgy mole that can just be cut off, it is serious, it is not 'just skin cancer' and it can try and come back.
I've got a bit of a bug up my arse at the moment, following several comments I'm beginning to realise the inevitable, that people are going to forget what has happened to me and consequently feel its OK to talk to me about getting a suntan this summer. I know it's just innocent everyday chat to many but honestly, I am starting to feel like I can't cope with anymore people to talking to me about their holiday tans or using sunbeds. I understand it's a personal lifestyle choice, but because of my diagnosis it's all a bit too raw for me, it's not really something I want to hear about; others in similar situations also agree it feels offensive to have people talk to you about their desire to tan, especially after what you've been through.
I will never know if my Melanoma was from UV damage, if it was hereditary, if the mole on my arm was alway set to turn cancerous or if it was just bad luck; but it has happened and it upsets me everyday to think I could have possibly contributed to it. While I wasn't a sun worshipper, I did sunbathe and sometimes used sunbeds; now I am confrontated by situations where I hear loved ones and friends doing the same and it's hard to listen to. I can't help but think that If people really knew the pain I went through and how my diagnosis still effects me they probably wouldn't talk to me about something so superficial as a suntan, or even continue to tan themselves.
Perhaps I'm a little jealous others don't have to worry about the effects of sun on their skin for the rest of their lives like I do; maybe I'm just being oversensitive and the subject of tanning will get easier to stomach in time; either way I do feel people should respect this as something I don't need to hear; I'm sure anyone else in the similar situation would expect the same.
Should You find yourself in the same position having had melanoma, remind the person speaking to you that you aren't the best person to discuss tanning with given your upsetting experience, some might not even realise the effect that talk of suntans has on you; remember it's the other persons choice and that you just don't need to hear about it.