Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Melanoma Struggle Gives Mum New Outlook on Her Life

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Melanoma Struggle Gives Mum New Outlook on Her Life

Article excerpt

Byline: JANINE HILL

A 50TH birthday, a 25th wedding anniversary, and the holiday of a lifetime - Andrea Dalton expected to be celebrating life this year, not facing a challenge to hang on to it.

In early September, Andrea, a highly respected dance teacher on the Sunshine Coast, noticed a lump under the skin on the outside of her upper thigh so small, like a button or a pea, that it was almost impossible to feel unless she flexed her leg a certain way.

With barely three weeks to go before she and her husband Ron were due to depart for Europe for five weeks, she opted for caution and had the lump checked by her general practitioner.

It was a decision which may well have helped save her life.

An ultrasound, biopsy, scans and surgery followed during the next fortnight. That little pea-sized lump had been the only clue to an aggressive malignant melanoma, between a golf ball and orange in size, wedged between her leg muscles.

Now recovering quietly at home at Buddina, Andrea is looking forward, not back.

"Hopefully, there's many more good times ahead, for me, my husband and my family," she says, with her troublesome leg stretched up on the chair in front of her.

She looks healthy, although is still in some discomfort from a serious infection which landed her back in hospital for longer than her original surgery, and her serious eyes reflect the trauma of facing her own mortality.

She admits much of the last two-and-a-half months have been a blur but some things stand out sharply, like the uncertainty of awaiting biopsy results.

"That weekend, we didn't have any idea what we were heading into. That was quite challenging. My husband and I decided that was the worst weekend of our lives, having to wait until Monday to see someone," she says.

On Andrea's mind was a dear friend, her mentor, who had died in 2005 from malignant melanoma.

"I knew what had happened to her. I knew someone who had not made it," she says.

Andrea's concerns were heightened by the fact she had a low-level melanoma removed from her neck in 2004, and that the new melanoma had appeared despite vigilant skin checks. …

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