YOUR STORY IN A NUTSHELL:
My name is Céline, I was diagnosed with melanoma at the age of 36. After a professional retraining, I am today therapist & sexologist in Bordeaux. I am also an expert in endometriosis.
YOUR MEDICAL CAREER:
I had changed dermatologists, the one I usually went to see was not available. I felt that I needed to go there and I did not want to let several months pass. This check-up took place before the summer of 2016. When I arrived, I explained to the doctor that I had a mole on my back that my regular dermatologist measured and monitored every year. She confirmed to me that it was not beautiful and that we were going to remove it after my vacation as a precaution. At the time, it seemed logical to me, I was serene.
When I returned from vacation, in September 2016, she removed this mole and called me back a few days after the biopsy. When I saw his call, I immediately felt that something was wrong, because in general, doctors do not call back. She asked me to come the same evening, to have my child looked after and to come accompanied by my husband.
At that time, I suspected that it was really not good, I was 36 years old, mother of a little boy who had just turned 3 years old. At the time of the call I was at work, I came home straight away and called my husband. I knew that bad result was either carcinoma or melanoma.
In the evening when we arrived at her office, she told us that it was a melanoma, therefore the most aggressive. She reassured me by telling me that he was taken in time. It had not metastasized. I had a new operation to remove a safety margin (around the mole to remove all the cancer cells) and analyze them. It was both a blow and at the same time, I felt reassured that it was taken in time. It was also a lot of info to manage at once.
I couldn't understand why this was falling on me! It was like telling a non-smoker that he had lung cancer. I thought it wasn't fair, I had always been super careful, why was this happening to me? I had never sunburned.
YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE:
If I wanted to continue enjoying life and traveling; I had to adapt. The sun, you have to think about it all the time, it's everywhere.
I have to wear my sunscreen all the time, every day. It generates a big mental load, but it's a choice to do it. I know other people with skin cancer who choose to stay at home. For me, it was out of the question to be like that, and then I didn't want to impose that on my husband and my son.
YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SUN:
As a teenager, I used index 50 cream when all my girlfriends gave me monoi. I have always been very careful. I have a lot of moles, fair skin, I got into the habit of having a dermatological check-up every year.
DO YOU HAVE PEOPLE AFFECTED BY SKIN CANCER AROUND YOU?
At the time of diagnosis, no. Since then, my mother has been diagnosed with carcinoma and her two brothers as well (my uncles). I think it made my parents pay more attention. In my immediate circle, it was taken seriously. On the other hand, my husband, who was present during the diagnosis, had only heard the reassuring words of the dermatologist.
He had completely concealed the fact that it was cancer and therefore the impact it could have on a psychological level and the changes it was going to bring about. I think it's difficult to manage this new daily life. Since then he has been careful for me and he is considerate.
I have my sun capital at 0, I can no longer expose myself at all. However, the sun is always there!
A week before the diagnosis, we had just taken tickets to Mauritius for the following winter. So I asked my dermatologist if I should cancel... She told me that I shouldn't forbid myself from traveling but on the other hand that I had to adapt my behavior: cover myself well with clothes adapted and that the sunscreen was not sufficient (favor permanent shade, hat, glasses). With my husband we decided to keep the plane tickets for Mauritius. This is where I started looking for covering clothes: long-sleeved tunic, pants, long skirt...
I already had a few tunics and a beach lycra because I was already quite careful, but it was still a headache. I'm flirtatious and when you want to go for a walk, you're not going to be in surf lycra and hiking pants.
YOUR DRIVERS IN LIFE:
The diagnosis was a trigger, it allowed me to take a lot of perspective on my working conditions. I also have another pathology that affects me a lot, it is endometriosis. It was already tiring me a lot and there, the announcement of the cancer was a big blow.
I had returned to work too quickly after the operation, even though I had not healed properly. I paid for it a few months later: burn out where I stayed off work for 8 months. During these long months, I told myself that it was no longer possible, that I had to change my life. I started a professional retraining to be a sexologist therapist, which corresponds to me 100%.
If I have to take away something positive from this story, it is to tell myself that it was the trigger for change, an electroshock.
Enjoy life! Enjoy life!
It's very basic but that's really it, you shouldn't miss it.
I was lucky to be taken care of in time but the feeling I had was of being at the edge of the cliff, my toes sticking out and that I was just being held back by my straps.
I could have switched. You have to enjoy life!
ADVICE FROM 'GRANDMOTHER'?
Find Céline on her account Instagram !.