Danielle's Story: Finding support on CancerConnection.ca after a shocking melanoma diagnosis
In 2015, Danielle noticed two moles on her body were beginning to change. After a trip to the doctor, she was soon diagnosed with stage 1A malignant melanoma — a condition she knew very little about.
Thankfully, the moles were caught very early and Danielle experienced minimal complications following her surgery. However, when Danielle was diagnosed with melanoma a second time 6 years later, it caused more anxiety and uncertainty for her as she was facing new responsibilities.
Finding encouragement and a brighter outlook as a new mother @(Model.HeadingTag)>
When Danielle was diagnosed in 2022, she was a new mother with a 5-month-old son. Thinking she was in the clear for so long, she found managing the emotional and physical affects of this diagnosis much more difficult.
“I knew I had to do my best and to remind myself that it’s impossible to know what the future holds and what may happen. I had a healthy baby boy in front of me who needed me, so I had to do everything to make sure I was giving him the best life possible. But the fear of what the future may look like was still pretty high at times.”
Danielle’s family was always by her side to make sure she had everything she needed, but when she began using CancerConnection.ca, she was able to connect with people who could easily relate to her situation. Eventually, they would provide guidance and encouragement for her journey, which today Danielle remains grateful for.
“After reading other people’s stories on CancerConnection.ca, I decided to post my own anonymously, asking if anyone else was ever diagnosed at a similar age. Within hours, there were multiple replies from people explaining their story and some even tagging others who they thought would be beneficial for me to speak to, if I decided to send them a private message.
Some of them shared resources and others just let me know that everything would be okay and they would always be happy to chat. It was really comforting knowing there would always be someone to talk to whenever I felt like logging on.”
Danielle also found that being more present in the lives of her loved ones was made much easier from the the emotional support of her medical team, who she now has strong relationships with.
“My dermatologist — who has been amazing through this process — ensures I know what changes to look out for when I do my self checks. And my surgeon will always have soothing acoustic music playing in the background during my wide local excision appointments. I feel very lucky to have them by my side.”
Now, Danielle has had 7 moles on her body removed — 3 of which were cancerous — but she remains more optimistic about what the future may look like and she hopes other people will be proactive to speak to their doctors if they notice changes to their bodies.
“If there is a spot that you think is changing, or is new, get it checked. You’re never wasting anyone’s time in getting something looked at. And I want people to know that every feeling they may be experiencing is valid and it is okay to feel every emotion along the way. It will never be easy to get diagnosed, but just know there is support out there for you.”
We can never fully prepare for the big life changes — good and bad — on the horizon for us, but we can bring people together who can offer compassion and a new outlook for our experiences when we may need it most.