Melanoma Awareness // Abbey’s story

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I hope we can one day say Melanoma is curable,

skin cancer is less common, sunscreen is worn daily, and we are smart about our skin.

Abbey Holden x The Glow Lounge

My mom has a framed photo of me while in college. Sunglasses on, smile on my face, craning my neck to soak up the bright sun shining on me - I can actually feel the sun when looking at this picture. I look like embodied bliss.

When it comes to the sun, however, my world has been divided in two.

On one side, with full honesty, is my love for being tan. The comfort from the sun warming my skin relaxes me and brings that same smile to my face each time. I vainly love how being tan looks, especially after a long winter has turned my skin porcelain.

On the other side of the divide is something of more weight. Something that, until a year ago, had whispered in the back of my mind daily. Now it’s less of a whisper and more of a constant state I live in.  

My mom had Melanoma twice when I was a child. I was too young to understand what that word meant, to understand what was really going on. I was old enough, however, to detect the new ways in which my parents were acting. Their tones shifted to some fear-filled uncertainty I’d never heard. From then on, my mom took measures to stay out of the sun, to wear sunscreen daily and make regular dermatologist appointments.

Fast forward to almost two years ago, my mom yet again diagnosed with Melanoma. Although this time was different. I understood the weight of it now. I understood that this type of skin cancer is aggressive, moves quickly and can break hearts.

Life without my mom is not the life I wanted. Now I look at that framed photo and wish I could remember what bliss feels like. The sun, in all its goodness, is something I now know we need to be smart about. Being tan is still something I love, and that divide is still something I grapple with. I don’t want to be afraid of the sun, I don’t think we were meant to live in fear of it. I want to safely enjoy it, knowing I’ve put on my SPF or have a spray tan to safely mimic a real one. There are so many measures we can take to prevent these dangers, and my hope is it becomes the norm one day. I hope we can one day say Melanoma is curable, skin cancer is less common, sunscreen is worn daily, and we are smart about our skin.