Daniella Fishburne | Madame MadFish

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The Beginning of a 52 Week Project...

"Spellbound"

I have decided to challenge myself with a 52 week project, creating a new concept piece every week for the next year, but more details on that in a minute. First, let me tell you why I decided to do this. In September, I received surprising and devastating news. My dermatologist called me 4 days after my birthday (at least she waited until after my birthday!) and told me that I have skin cancer, specifically melanoma. I was shocked of course, but didn't really take it seriously at first because I had no idea how dangerous melanoma was. So I calmly said...okay, what do I need to do? She set up an appointment for me to see a specialist and I went back to work. Then I made a giant mistake....I googled it. Talk about freaking out! Did you know that, if not caught early enough, melanoma can grow downward, coming in contact with your blood vessels and from there, spreading to other parts of the body? I sure as hell didn't! Once it spreads, there is nothing they can do. The only cure for melanoma is to cut it out...chemo does NOT work! Needless to say...I was a nervous wreck for a whole week while I waited to see the specialist. Longest week of my life!

When I finally did see the specialist, he brought a huge sigh of relief. He looked at my biopsy and said that he didn't believe it has spread. There were some cancer cells on the bottom layer of the skin, but he felt pretty confident that we caught it early enough. So he scheduled my surgery for October and sent me on my merry way. In the meantime, I had the pleasure of visiting my dermatologist for a full body checkup...and when I say full body...I mean FULL body. Spread my butt cheeks and everything! Um...yeah...that was awkward. She could have at least bought me a drink first!

Anyways, long story short, I had my surgery 3 weeks ago and I'm happy to report that I am now cancer free. Yay! I will always have to be on the lookout however, because I have an 80% chance of developing skin cancer again. Which means more lovely visits to the dermatologist for full body checkups. Good times!

So, I've decided to start this challenge in hopes to bring awareness to others and to celebrate this second chance that I've been given. It could have been a lot worse for me. I've read so many horror stories where others were not so lucky. I am a 32 year old woman who does not worship the sun. I never thought this would happen to me because I am not an outdoorsy person...but it did. Cancer doesn't care about age, gender or race, so please...take care of yourself. Go get checked out. And if a loved one tells you that a spot looks suspicious...don't wait! My husband begged me to go to the dermatologist for almost a year before I finally went. Imagine if I hadn't gone! The cells had already started to migrate downward. If I had waited any longer, the outcome could have been much different.

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