A Public Service Announcement from Kat Smashley

Hey fam, this isn’t derby-related in the slightest but please don’t let that keep you from reading!!

Recently, I had a mole removed on my back that my partner had been bugging me to get checked for the last five years. It grew substantially this fall, so I finally made an appointment with my dermatologist. It turned out to be melanoma.

I don’t tan, I barely even see the sun (I am a pale woman with little-to-no outdoor interests) and I’m only 28. And yet here I am.

I had appointment after appointment (dermatologist, general surgeon, oncologist, labs for bloodwork, EKGs, etc) and missed a bunch of work. I had to find childcare for my son. Eventually, it was decided I would have a wide local excision and a sentinel lymph node biopsy to see whether the cancer had reached my lymphatic system. My partner had to take off work to drive me to the hospital for my procedures. My mother took a week off work to watch my son while I recovered. It was incredibly inconvenient for everyone.

I am now the owner of two new scars: one in my armpit where they took my lymph node, and a large misshapen one on my back where they cut out two-and-a-half centimeters of my skin and stretched the surrounding skin over the missing area before gluing it together.


It’s only been a week so I’m still in rough shape. I still can’t lift my son, I take lots of naps after work, everything hurts and itches all the time. It sucks.

My biopsy came back negative though, so I’m incredibly thankful for that and am not looking for sympathy here. What I’m looking for is action. Go see your dermatologist. Go get those weird moles that you always say “I should really get that looked at” checked. Get them removed if necessary. Do it now so you don’t have to do it later. Because doing it later is SUUUUUPER inconvenient and a real pain in the butt.

Make one appointment now, instead of waiting and making a thousand appointments later.

My scars will feel worthwhile if they keep other people from getting their own, so go see your dermatologist. Seriously. <3

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