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Health Care

Listen to that little voice. That's my motto, especially since it quite possibly saved my life seven years ago.

During my pregnancy, and the first years of my second son's life, I had a little mole on my shin that, I swear, had on it a spotlight visible only to me. I asked my OB on one of my follow up appointments, and she said not to worry that everything changes during pregnancy. About a year later, I asked a dermatologist/plastic surgeon to look at it. He brushed it aside saying it was nothing to worry about.

Still—the little voice kept whispering, "I just don't like it."

Another year later at a routine visit and my general practitioner said it's nothing. Now, the voice is growing, nagging. I asked for a referral to a dermatologist and had to fight a little to get it. Good thing I did. Finally, on the fourth try, this doctor removed the little spot, which turned out to be malignant melanoma in situ, which is the step before the sucker grows a complicated and deadly root system. She said I would have been dead in 10 years had I not listened.

So, why share all this? Two reasons. First, no matter how great a perfect tan looked, how wonderful it felt to layout and soak up the sun, how much I told myself the tanning bed in winter was the only way to get through the short, gray days, none of these are worth cutting my life short. Skin cancer is deadly serious.

Second, to implore and empower others to listen to that little voice. You know when it's just worrying for the sake of worry. The whisper in your ear, one that doesn't let up over the years—that's the time to check it out to your ability and satisfaction—without apology.

So, yes—listen to that little voice. And stay out of the sun, of course.

Heidi lives in South Stafford. She and her husband Dave stay busy with their active sons, ages 16 and 12, with the typical school, sports and extra-curricular activities.

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