More from Heidi
I’m Heidi. I’m 50-years-young and have lived in the Toronto area all of my life. I graduated from York University and worked for a number of years at Canada Revenue Agency. For the last 20 years, I’ve worked side-by-side with my husband, Brian, managing our family-run accounting firm. Our children, Mandy and Harley, are the light of my life!
My Experience with Melanoma
Several experiences that have touched my life, including melanoma, have given me a greater desire to surround myself with a strong, supportive, positive and loving circle of family and friends. I love to laugh and have fun with people who bring out the best in me.
I understand that life does not come with a “do-over” so I have to get it right the first time. That includes taking time to enjoy what matters most to me. It also means I need to remember to take care of myself: I have one body and I need it to last a very long time.
Since the Diagnosis
I considered myself to be fairly knowledgeable about various cancer risks and successful prevention practices. Since I am proactive about my health and the health of my family, I was surprised to realize how little I knew about melanoma. I didn’t know it can spread so quickly and that, if not detected early, it can often be fatal.
Oddly enough, I learned more from the information in the DCMF video than I learned from my own experience.
Advice I’d Give
It’s critical to check your body often and get to know your spots! If you’re suspicious about a mole or a mark, see a doctor. Please don’t be complacent or wait until it’s too late. I’m so fortunate that mine was caught early, and I hope others can learn from my positive experience.
When I was growing up, I didn’t know how dangerous it was to expose my skin to the sun. Sunscreen was not widely used and, since I have fair skin, it was not unusual for me to get a burn every summer. Although it hurt for awhile, I thought that was the extent of the damage. I had no idea that each burn I received was dramatically increasing my likelihood of developing melanoma later on. I wish I would have known then what I know now!
Wearing sunscreen should be as automatic as wearing a seatbelt. Whenever we get into a car, we buckle up. By the same token, prior to being exposed to the sun, we should cover up!
We may not have control over many types of cancers, but if we protect our skin from the sun, we can greatly reduce our chance of developing melanoma later on. Please help to spread the word about practicing “safe sun” because education encourages prevention.
Thank you to Dr. Kucy Pon, the dermatologist who identified my melanoma.
Mom, you’re a phenomenal woman; and a hard act to follow. Brian, you’re the world’s greatest husband and partner, in life and in business! Mandy and Harley, you’re every Mom’s dream come true for a daughter and a son!
I wish the best of health and a long life to each of you, and to my wonderful family and friends. My siblings, sibs-in-law, nieces, nephews and Min, I love you all. xox